Hand Bound Sketchbook

overdue5252015 103I had so much fun creating this sketchbook! I’ve had it in my head that all of these years of using paper and paper towels (as well as aprons, jeans and hand towels…) as a blotter for paintings would need to be reused somehow. Why not in a sketchbook? I was using these papers to test drawings on before heading to my sketchbook so this was a very natural progression. It combines my love of re-purposing as well as multi-media artwork. I love to sew but not avidly; I use it more to supplement my art or to make little crafts (such as my lavender sachets.) So I pulled out my watercolors, acrylics and some extra paper and got to work laying down a background, with the idea in mind that these colorful pages would be a background for drawings.

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overdue5252015 062I’ve written before about my love for textures and about how all of my paintings are based around that, which is where the idea for this sketchbook came from. Next up was to pull out my sewing machine where I decided to sew some designs onto a few pages as well as a photograph, before sewing it all together- my preferred means of binding it all together.

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overdue5252015 084The sewing worked out really well, better than I had anticipated. The sketchbook has 15 pages (30 front and back) in which I sewed all together after sewing them together 3 at a time for extra strength. My only worry was that I would need a denim needle, which this sewing machine does not come with (I’m sure I could buy one for it but sewing machines and their accoutrements are NOT my specialty…) The photograph was also much easier to sew than I had expected and I loved finding a new way to add my prints to my work.

All in all, I am beyond happy with this sketchbook (as well as the process of making it) and look forward to making many more in the future, both bigger and travel sized. My next venture will be to make spiral bound sketchbooks with many more pages! xo, Ev.

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Eye Catching Sketchbook Covers

One of the first things I like to work on in my sketchbooks is the cover. I’ve always felt that  the hardest pages to work on are the inside cover and the first page (as well as the last) and so with that in mind, I tackle the cover to clear my mind for the next 2 pages. The cover has always seemed to me as important as the first sentence in a book. It serves two functions: to grab your attention and to set the tone. Materials used over the years have been handmade stencils, acrylic paint, spray paint, paint markers, photographs, pens, sharpies, tape and cut out shapes, stickers, paper bags, duct tape, package tape ink transfers, bubble wrap (really, that stuff is fantastic and so versatile!)

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My last two pictorial inserts are from the inside of the second to last sketchbook- all wrapped up in duct tape, inside covers and out.

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Sketchbooks are vitally important to my art and not because they inspire paintings (they rarely have anything to do with each other) or anything else creative that I do but because they serve the purpose of giving me a place to dream, a place to think and explore. I share them with very select people and enjoy swapping them with other artists and working in their books and seeing what has been created in mine. They have a language of their own and as such have always been my greatest strength. My biggest artistic dream is to put together a collection of my favorite pages from the sketchbooks I have finished over the years. A lot of my sketchbooks get ripped up and taken apart, taking favorite pages to be saved in future ones and/or to be reworked. Once I put together this ultimate sketchbook, I will put it out into the world to be sold. Do you like to decorate your sketchbooks? I’d love to see what you do with yours. Use the hashtag #knowloveknowcolor on Instagram to share yours! xo, Ev.

DIY Packing Tape Ink Transfers

One of my favorite lessons in art school was about acrylic ink transfers. I used them for my sketchbooks, paintings and sculptures. I put them in glass panes and put them up in my windows in lieu of stained glass. Then one night, after too little sleep and too much wine I start playing around with packing tape and magazine pages. It’s the simplest, quickest ink transfer and easily the most rewarding. All you need is:

packing tape

magazine pages

soap

water

scissors

towel (for drying)

vessel for soaking- sink or otherwise

To begin with, pick the images that you want to transfer. I like to pick random sections and either leave them as single strips or take those single strips and recreate the magazine image. I did this for a sketchbook cover (but that’s a picture for my next post!) Then cut them out.

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I used Hi-Fructose for mine (sort of made me cringe a little cutting it up but I’m trying to hoard art magazines SLIGHTLY less and figured it’s all for a fantastic cause.) For any of you who haven’t yet seen this magazine, go find a copy. They’re beautiful, with thicker pages than you’d expect for a magazine, and stunning art work.

At this point, it’s time for a quick, 5 minute soak in warm, soapy water. I always use dish soap- nothing specific needed. I would, however, advise against bar soap as it takes a bit more to make a lather for your vessel of choosing. For your soaking vessel, you can use a bowl or the sink- I used a baking dish as it could accommodate all of my strips (and because I lost my sink stopper.)

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 My favorite part of the process is peeling the paper off: unlike acrylic transfers, peeling the paper off of the packing tape is much easier- it takes no time at all and is not a delicate process. You just peel and reveal the prettiness underneath. You can see if there is still paper on the ink transfer if you see a bit of whiteness; just keeping smudging your finger over it until it lifts. Here’s an image of it in process:

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Once you’ve peeled all of the paper off, just rinse any soap off and pat dry. That’s all there is to it!

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At this point I used a strainer to catch the paper shredded in the water- no need for that to go down the drain. For an added up-cycling bonus, you can use these paper shreds to make, well, paper with, if you so choose.

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This is from 2 strips of paper- as you can see, it’s not much but I believe the philosophy is “waste not, want not.” I’d love to see what beautiful transfers you create- be sure to post your projects on instagram and tag them with #knowloveknowcolor for a chance to be reposted on my site, @knowloveknowhope  xo, Ev.

The Sketchbook Project

Christmas 2013 I was given a sketchbook, from my husband, for a present. Said sketchbook came from The Sketchbook Project, an ongoing and ever growing collection of completed sketchbooks that travel around the US- it’s a little pricy ($25 for a sketchbook and $60 for the sketchbook to be digitized as well.) For more information about this and to get a blank sketchbook yourself, check out their website: www.sketchbookproject.com

Every year I enjoy taking on a new year long drawing project. For 2012 it was a sketch a day and for this year? Well, I’m interested to hear what you have for ideas. I have been so wrapped up in completing this sketchbook (the deadline is March 31st, 2015) that I haven’t given any thought other than “eyes” to a new one.

I would highly suggest checking out what other artists have done with their sketchbooks- some have done pop-up art, others have gone multi-media, some art straight up comic books. It’s really inspiring for me to see what other people put into their books- some of my favorites come from graffiti artists (in the graffiti world they’re called black books.) Here are the contents of mine, from cover to the very end. I want to see what you put in your books so use the hash tag #knowloveknowcolor for a repost on my instagram feed! xo, Ev.

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(Lanes Cove, Gloucester, MA.)

It has been a crazy few months for me- a very good crazy! And I have sadly neglected my blog. In the meantime, I have been wrapping up my Sketchbook Project book (I will be posting photos about this in a week as well as a link to the company’s site and some information on this fantastic idea) and can’t wait to see it done. However, I’m incredibly sad that I will no longer have the hard copy in my possession as I love looking back at completed sketchbooks- of which I have very few, due to my starting so very many of them.

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(Assabet River, Maynard, MA.)

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(Sprocket the Dog.)

I have also been playing with my new Nikon D3200, so lovingly given to me by my husband (to whom this Sprocket the Dog photo credit belongs to.) I have to laugh because 14 years ago I swore up and down that I would never get a DSLR as I firmly felt the quality of the photos aren’t the same. I won’t get into that argument until I’ve tested out some top quality printers compared to good, old fashioned, satisfying darkroom work! I still love film as much as I ever did and still have my trusty SLR, a Canon A-1 (which is much heavier!) Now if I could just figure out how to properly and quickly change the manual settings… These DSLRs aren’t as easy for me to figure out as I would like them to be. It will be entertaining learning how to work this- I’ve never owned one before.

What have you been working on over the holiday season? xo, Ev.