Thursday, September 17, 2015


...and by "sketchbookin'", I mean actually making sketch-and-notebooks from scratch.

I've been having some personal challenges emerge lately, just life stuff.  One of the ways I claw my out is through making stuff, in this case learning how to make notebooks.  I could always use 'em, and learning this skill has sparked some interesting ideas.

So this was attempt #1, made over the course of an afternoon.  160 pages (ten 16-page signatures) stitched together, covers made from scrap plastic board and a big piece of scrap leather.  Cover was glued up with Barge adhesive.   Made a skull stencil on a whim, because me.  This one went into immediate and rough use...want to test its limits, see what needs to be corrected going forward.  Pages have already been ripped out, it's overstuffed with extra paper shoved in the back, etc.  Roughly 9"x6".

Trying something different...this was #5, I think.  After figuring out the arrangement of 90-some pages into book signatures (which was interesting), printed out smaller-size pages from my current fave gaming-related nerdery, Ken Writes About Stuff and put 'em into a book.  About 9 months of the first year, at any rate.  Machine-cut a stencil for the cover text.  Cover made from a cheap red fabric.  Kind of mixed results on this one.

Okay, this was #6.  By this point I had ordered and received actual book-making supplies, so this one was made proper.  312 5.5x8.5" pages, bookboard cover & spine, proper bookcloth covering, better pva glue used.  Charcoal endpapers.  I consider this a sucess.   Has the best stitching of the bunch.

Most recent one, #7.  Used the correct materials, but used a cheap green fabric I'd found for the cover material.  Has a fun texture and took the glue really well.  Cream endpapers,  168 pages, roughly 5.5"x8.5".  I really dig these last two.  The look and feel like "real" books to me, which I'm quite enjoying.

Also:  made a similar-sized notebook covered with a black vinyl material (questionable results with the vinyl; my daughter liked it so it's hers), and made a refillable sketchbook with full 8.5x11" pages and a cover that folds over and around the book...i love the utility of top-spiral-bound sketchbooks, except for the spiral part.  Always gets mashed & difficult to use, so I'm also stress-testing my design to see how it holds up.  More book stuff incoming soonish.

I turned Pro (I guess?)

First two pieces I did for Fantasy Flight Games were published a couple months ago, in the Force and Destiny Beginner Game.  Both are on the backside of the fold-out map included in the set, the taller piece is twice the size of the other(3 panels of a 4-panel folded poster).  I've done a handful of maps for the Star Wars RPG line in the last year or so, with a hilariously rough learning curve.  It's all stuff that's outside of my painting experience, and is therefore fantastic stuff for me to be working on.
Also, it's PRO WORK.  That PAYS MONEY.  I do like that part quite a bit.
...and a thank you to Matt Zeilinger, my buddy who got me the lead-in to literally all of my paying freelance work to date.  Thanks, man!  Incidentally, it's his art on the front side of the foldout map, as well as the single other back panel.