Sketchbook hacks

In my meaning here, a “hack” is an alteration, usually a clever one.   There are 3 hacks in this photo.

First, I made the cover of this sketchbook black.  It’s a spiral bound, 9×12 Montvall Watercolor sketchbook.  The cover has some text on it.
I like to add stickers to my sketchbook covers, particularly of the places I’ve sketched in the book.   It’s also paper and I prefer a thicker, more supportive cover.  I added a black heavy card stock by gluing it on to the existing cover.  It made it both plain black and a little heavier.  I’ve already added some stickers.

The next hack is the removal of the spiral binding.  This was not my idea.  I saw it on Steve Reddy‘s book a week ago.    He removed the spiral binding and replaced it with a few book rings.  These are available at any stationery store in a choice of sizes and even colors.

This makes it easy to remove and replace a sketch out of the book.  I scan my sketches and the spiral binding makes it really difficult to get good focus on the flat bed scanner.  Being able to remove the sketch, scan it flat and then put it back in the book is a good thing.

The spiral binding also takes up extra room in the sketch bag.  The book rings seem not as bulky.

The last little hack comes from Brenda Swenson.    She mentioned it during the workshop I took recently at Daniel Smith.  Many sketchbooks come with an attached elastic band to hold it closed.  Brenda uses an elastic hair band when the book doesn’t come with an elastic!  The child size ones are good for smaller sketchbooks.  This large sketch book uses an adult one.  They are also available in many colors.  When I take it off to use the book, I just wrap it around my wrist so I don’t loose it while on location.

There you have it.  Three hacks in one post.

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About redharparts

Born in Michigan. Attended undergrad and graduate universities there. I've lived in England, Germany, Southern California and now Washington (state). I'm a retired Medical Social Worker with a past specialty in Oncology. I've enjoyed exploring historical re-creation through the SCA. I costume in several fandoms. Lately I've returned to Art and have taken up Urban Sketching, a version of en plein air painting.
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6 Responses to Sketchbook hacks

  1. Carol says:

    Great ideas! Thanks for sharing.

  2. miatagrrl says:

    Your sketchbook is now the creative collective of 3 smart sketchers!

    Tina

  3. sue heston says:

    Nice – The main problem I had with ring binders is the pages slide around and your drawings can be damaged. The elastic fixes that! Plus, I found 1/2inch rings on etsy.

  4. joantav says:

    Good ideas! I’ll have to remember the ring idea. When I do “Fake Journal Month” I end up combining pages from 2 sketchbooks to end up with a page for each day of the month. It isn’t easy (but is possible) to put the spiral back into the combined pages. Your idea would be much easier.

  5. WWendi says:

    Love the hacks!! My go to sketchbooks are Canson XL Mix Media. I hate the cover, backing, and bulky spiral/wire-O binding. So, thanks to the great ideas in your post, I’m going to replace the cover and backing with black chipboard inexpensive and easy to work with), and replace the wire binding with book rings. Also, I’ll be able to make it lighter in weight since I won’t be forced to carry all 60 sheets on a daily basis! The hair band is brilliant!! I think this Weill be easy and faster than what I currently do for my sketchbooks!

    • redharparts says:

      Thanks! When I saw Steve Reddy’s sketch book like this, I had a “V-8” moment! Yes, I also thought I wouldn’t have to carry the entire number of pages.

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