A New(ish) Drawing Book!

I’ve nearly finished my current drawing book, A Sufficiency of Leisure. I started it back in February of 2015 and have been plugging away steadily since then. These books take me a long time. Pretty much all of the drawings and collages in them are “finished” pieces – or at least that’s the way I think of them as I’m making them. So… it takes a long time to finish a book. This next book will be my 10th since I started binding my own drawing books back in college. As I look back on them, it’s very fun to see the progression of ideas (or the same ideas that keep coming back) as they change over the years. Some things from the earlier books I find sort of silly now, and some things still resonate with me very much.

I bind my own books for several reasons. The foremost reason is that I really like the idea of being completely responsible for the resulting book from all the drawings in it all the way to the thread used for the binding. I guess it’s a completist kind of thing. The other reason is that I like hard bound books that lie open flat.

A pretty good spread.

The best answer for that is the coptic stitch. It’s strong, beautiful and easy to do. I know there are spiral bound sketchbooks, but they are terrible. That wire spiral is to bookbinding what butter-dipped corn dogs are to cuisine.

Each book has its own feel and each one gets a title somewhere around the time I’m 3/4 done with it. I have no idea where this next book will go! I’m excited to get working on it and see.

PS I call them drawing books and not sketchbooks because to me, the word “sketch” means something that is done quickly, with little thought and is disposable. A “Drawing” is a precious thing that is labored over and produced through effort.

This one seems to be working. A little drawing, a little collage, fish. This one has it all. If I can finish the raccoon skull on the right it should look pretty good.

I wrote all the above about 7 months ago and I have long since finished up A Sufficiency of Leisure. I guess the draft of this post just got buried and forgotten. It’s funny, I was really looking forward to starting this book, and now 7 months in, I have mixed feelings about it. It isn’t gelling really all that well for me. The drawings feel forced and I don’t look forward to working in it all that much. There are some parts of it that I really like and are exciting to me. However, I have numerous pages started but not finished. That’s unusual for me. I think it’s probably because I’ve been working so hard on my printmaking. Well, whatever the reason, here are a few pages from the book to give you a feel for what’s going on.

A typical unfinished page. It doesn’t look bad, just sort of blah at this point.

Here’s one I keep plugging away at. I’m not really sure where it’s headed, but it could be good.


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