Travel Sketchbook - "Handbook 5"x 8"
I always start my new year with 2 brand new sketchbooks. A travel sketchbook that I take with me everywhere and a studio book. I wanted to share the books I use because it seems most artists pass over that part. I have tried many, believe me! I like the Global Arts Handbooks for my travel book because they can handle light watercolor and the pages are more matte than the Moleskine books. They also come with the handy back pocket to stash paper in.
Studio Book - "Stillman and Birn - Gamma Series 7"x 10"
I prefer a spiral book for the studio, as it lays flat. I can open it up to sketches and ideas for my paintings and try color combinations out in it easily. I like the Stillman and Birn because the paper is sturdy - 100lb. The Gamma series had ivory paper - the Alpha has bright white, depending on your preference.
My first order of studio business each January is to decorate the covers. Every year, every book is a different expression and document to my continued growth as an artist. I love looking back at my progress and getting excited about old ideas that I can make new again. When I first started this process, I had a lot of blank pages left in the books, but felt it was important to start with a clean slate each year. Now I pretty much fill them up, as they have become a part of my artistic process. I am a big believer in documenting my journey with each piece of art that I make. Most of my ideas for larger paintings come, in some part, from these books and my art journals.
My new favorite art journal to work in is the simple kids books with a stapled spine. You can purchase them for pennies at libraries and used book stores. They lay flat because of the staple binding, are easy to slip into a bag to go to the coffee shop and do not require page removal because they are soft covers. I buy clear vinyl by the yard at Jo Ann's to make a simple protective cover. I just cut it out, make flaps, tape the edges and slide the book cover in - same way we made covers for our school books (back in the "old" days) If my pages become loose or un-stapled, I just poke holes in the center and bind it with waxed linen.
The pages wrinkle a bit, but once you add collage to each side and put your book under something heavy over night, they flatten nicely.
I hope this gives you some ideas for making a creative start in the new year!
Another way to start out the new year would be to join me for :
Unearthing Imaginary Characters
A whole weekend of exploring different ways to "find" your own imaginary characters!