Travel Sketchbooks

Travel Sketchbooks and Folders

When I travel by car, I often bring along a few of my handmade sketchbooks filled with Rives BFK printmaking paper and an assortment of watercolor papers.  I don’t ever pack them when I travel by public transportation.  They are too bulky to carry, especially when there are only a few pages left to draw on. 

Coptic binding

Coptic binding

When traveling by pubic transportation, especially by air, I take thin sketchbooks and loose paper folded into unstitched signatures that I can bind after I’ve accumulated at least six signatures.

Sketchbooks and storage folders for a month in Paris

Sketchbooks and storage folders for a month in Paris

Paris Sketchbooks

Paris Sketchbooks

If my sketchbook isn’t made with a pocket on the cover, I glue or tape and envelope to the cover to hold papers or a color wheel.

A -Dimensions when closed are 9.25″ x 12″. Leather folder with magnets inside to hold business card palette, water, ink and additional mixing trays as well as storing a thin sketchbook.  The red sketchbook (I) 8.25″ x 11.75″ fits perfectly inside and won’t slip out without you noticing. 

Leather folder with magnets on upper left side

Leather folder with magnets on upper left side

Leather folder with magnets.

Leather folder with magnets.

The holders for the vial of ink and vial of water are made from a closet rod, drilled out to the size of the vials.  A steel washer is glued to the bottom to keep the vials from falling through, to weight them so they don’t tip over easily on a table or any other surface and to be magnetic and stay on the magnet strips of the folder when standing and sketching.  

I also use the self-adhesive business card magnets on pieces of 1/4″ foamcore cut slightly larger than whichever sketchbook I’m using.  It works well to support the sketchbook and keep my palette and vials from falling or tipping over when I’m drawing standing up.

B. Medium Red Sketchbook 8.25″ x 11.75″, 40 pages, full-grain natural-white 125 gsm paper, stitched binding, made by Hahnemühle.  Great for sketching with pencil, pen, ink brush and watercolor washes that aren’t overly wet.

C. Medium Kraft Sketchbook 5″ x 8.25″, 80 pages, cream-colored, very thin paper, ok for pencil, fountain pen and very light washes (but paper will wrinkle) made by Moleskin.  I prefer the Hahnemühle sketchbooks for drawing in ink and watercolor.  The Moleskin are excellent for taking notes and quick sketches of paintings in museums or on the run when you just want a sketch to jog your memory.

D. Small Red Sketchbook 4″ x 5.75″, 40 pages, full-grain natural-white 125 gsm paper, stitched binding, made by Hahnemühle.  Great for sketching with pencil, pen, ink brush and watercolor washes that aren’t overly wet.  So handy!  Slips into a wide pocket or a handbag.

E. Small Kraft Lined Notebook 3.5″ x 5.5″, 80 pages, cream-colored, very thin paper, ok for pencil, fountain pen and very light washes (but paper will wrinkle) made by Moleskin.  I use this mostly for notes, directions, places I want to go, addresses, museum notes, phone numbers, small maps, etc.  Before I leave on a trip I will shrink down the local maps I know I will need.  I tape them into this little book along with any information I want to have with me, especially notes on how to get from an airport to where I will be staying.

Small notebooks lined

Small notebooks lined

small red notebook and small yellow notebook

small red notebook and small yellow notebook

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

F. Small Black Watercolor Sketchbook with elastic closure, 3.5″ x 5.5″, 30 pages perforated for easy tear out, 200gsm, 25% cotton cold pressed, watercolor paper, Five signatures are thread-bound to the hard covers. An inner pocket holds notes and the elastic band on the short side keeps book securely closed. Made by Moleskin.  Slightly textured surface is nice to paint on and to draw in ink.

G. Small yellow notebook, 2.5″ x 4″, 64 ruled, 80gsm, 100 per cent sustainable bamboo paper, made by Writersblok. Perfect for notes that need to be handy.

H. Medium Spiral Bound Watercolor Sketchbook with tie, 5.75″ x 8″, 28 pages,80 lb. made by Holbein.  Excellent for pencil, ink, marker and watercolor.  I’m able to paint on both sides without bleed through.

I. Large Red Sketchbook, Crok’Book by Claire Fontaine, 11.5″ x 16.5″, 48 pages, 90 g, acid free paper, staple bound. I love working in a sketchbook this size, especially when it is thin with a soft cover so that it is light-weight.  I carry it in the cardboard folder (J) to protect the pages from getting bent when being crushed against in a bus or Metro.  The paper is thin, but very nice to work on.

J. Large Cardboard Folder with elastic on the corners to keep it closed. 12.75″ 17.75″ with a spine that expands to 1.25″.  Fabulous!  Doubles as a drawing board.  Perfect for my large Crok’Book (I).

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My grandmother’s leather folder closed

My Grandmother's leather folder open.

My Grandmother’s leather folder open.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I use this folder constantly at home and often when I travel.  It’s perfect for the folded sheets of Rives BFK Printmaking paper that I use for creating the Mandala and Dala Art.  Four folded sheets fit into the folder allowing me to create sixteen drawings.  I bind the folded paper in signatures when I have accumulated at least six signatures.  The leather folder works well as a drawing board, supporting the paper as I work. Slips easily into most of my handbags.