The best way to get something done is to publicly commit to doing it. And if you had to pay a fee at the start, so much the better…nothing more motivating than the idea that US$45 will vanish into thin air if you don’t fulfill your side of the deal.
So in early November I signed up for The Sketchbook Project. The deadline for posting the sketchbook back to The Brooklyn Art Library is 15 January 2011…and of course they sent the parcel First Class, which means that it didn’t turn up on my end until 3 December.
Which is even better, because I’m less likely to be precious about it, or try to impress anyone—there isn’t time for anything but to dive deep into my creative wells and bring up dripping fistfuls of imagery on my chosen theme.
I have 5 weeks or so to turn my sketchbook into a Nightmare.
So here it is, my $20 Moleskine cahier with black cover. Moleskines are possibly the most overrated, over-hyped examples of notebook mediocrity on the market today. The paper? It’s shite. The binding? Nothing special…it looks like it was made with a sewing machine. That bit of paper “pocket” stuck in the back? Quite useless. But oh, they’re SO popular. Why? People are suckers for a bit of advertising and image styling, I guess.
There is a world of fabulous papers out there—of exceptional quality—for every medium and every kind of treatment. Find the paper that fits your work and enhances it, I say, popular brand or not! As a consumer, stop slavishly teaching yourself to use what manufacturers force upon you, and start demanding that they raise the standards of their products to suit your exacting needs.
My first duty as a bookbinder was, of course, to gut the notebook…get rid of the offending paper pages, and rip out that flap glued to the back cover…the black cover is non-negotiable—there’s a bar code on it that needs to stay—so I’ll work with that, but I am going to get some good, heavy paper for the pages tomorrow… it won’t have as many leaves as the original cahier, but it’s about quality, not quantity.
I’ll document the work as I go, both here and on The Sketchbook Project site.