Sunday, March 29, 2020

Project #7 - DIY Sketchbook 1

Earlier in this blog, we talked about the importance of having a place in your home to make art. Today, we are constructing the first in a series of DIY sketchbooks. A sketchbook is a space to collect your art ideas using any 2-dimensional technique, especially drawing. You can combine writing and images, and experiment with different materials. If you don't have a store bought sketchbook, there are many different ways that you can make your own.

Materials - Paper (I used 11x17 printer paper), string, recycled cardboard, scissors, pen
Making - I tried my best to describe the steps, but it's definitely better to watch the video. 
1. Fold paper 2x in the wide direction and then 1x in the narrow direction.
2. Open the 2nd and 3rd fold, so that the paper is only folded 1x.
3. Cut from the 1st folded edge to the 2nd fold, on the 3rd fold.
4. Open the paper all the way and the "hot dog" fold (the 3rd fold).
5. Push the edges of the folded paper toward each other so that the cut space opens up into a diamond shape.
6.  Squash the diamond shape all the way down. This is your basic book.
7.  Repeat steps 1-6 with a second piece of paper.
8.  Use a string to tie the two sections of book together.
9.  Trace the shape of the book onto a folded piece of scrap cardboard.
10. Cut the cardboard cover.
11.  Tie the cover and inside of the book together.
12.  Have fun using your new sketchbook!

Inspiration - A sketchbook is a place for practicing artists to work. A related idea is an artist book, a book that is an actual work of art. Some books are both.  I recently saw the artist books of Evelyn Patricia Terry.  Evelyn is an artist we should all get to know.  She has been practicing her art in Milwaukee since the 1970's.  Evelyn recently had an exhibit at the Lynden Sculpture Garden, titled "America's Favor/Guests Who Came to Dinner (and Stayed!)". Her exhibit included artist books made from a variety of mixed media surfaces.  A centerpiece to the exhibit was the installation of a dining room table set around her collection of handmade dolls. On each of the plates set at the table, Evelyn had handwritten a reason that a person might migrate to America. Looking at Evelyn's work, one feels inspired by the beauty, but also by the important ideas that she investigates.  You can find out more about this exhibit at


  1. Thanks for showcasing my books. The book you featured, "America's Favor # 1, occupies a space in the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee's Golda Meir Library Special Collections. It took me several years to resolve that piece and how I would handle the pages and the words. As a full time artist, I am just beginning to learn the discipline of artists book. I luckily have years of artwork to work with. By the way I really enjoyed looking at the watercolor background framing this page.

    1. Thanks for your message, Evelyn. The watercolor background was painted by a boy in K-5 during a really great class where we were all feeling experimental with our materials. I think it shows!