Lynne Chapman has expanded my sandbox

Accordion sketchbook 180° view
Week 4 on Sketchbook Skool put us in the able, chirpy hands of Lynne Chapman, an Urban Sketcher and professional illustrator. We went on a walk to watch her sketch on the pavement, and we spent a lot of time in her gorgeous, custom-built studio, hearing her talk about art materials, the tricks she plays to get past creative blocks, or to make something good about a sketch gone…not ‘bad’, but just not quite the way she wanted it to. She shares all of the good Sketchbook Skool tips, plus much more, on her website, An Illustrator’s Life For Me

But what really delighted me the most was her use of the accordion sketchbook. Now, as a bookbinder, I make the accordion format quite often. I teach it to my students, and have even made a diagram for how to fold a strip into 8 parts without measuring each section, here.

But it was a “slap-your-forehead- and-holler” moment when I saw her use the full potential of the accordion sketchbook by recording on its unfurling pages such things as the passage of time. A story. A process. A journey, or a long panoramic view.

Accordion sketchbook 180° viewWHY DID I NEVER THINK TO USE THEM THIS WAY? I’m flabbergasted by my lack of imagination. I might fold a strip of paper, fully 1 metre long, down into a book with 14 pages (8 on the front, 6 if you count the back and add covers), and then I will boringly see each page separately, as one does a regular book…thereby squandering all the delicious potential that lies in a 1 metre long picture that collapes down to a compact size. Good grief.
Accordion sketchbook 180° view
So our homework for Lynne’s class was to construct an accordion book, and fill it. I did a 180° view of the inside of my room on the boat. The perspectives just about did my head in, because the roof of the wheelhouse slopes to either side, and the walls lean inward. I got as far as 6 pages of the 8, then gave up, because I’d added colour and realised that I liked the drawing better when it was just orange linework. I might finish the drawing this weekend, but won’t colour the last two pages in (because I don’t keep a sketchbook in order to slog through chores, what would be the point?)

I can see all sorts of projects, now, that I would love to make as accordion books. The invitation to PLAY on a river of paper that just keeps going and going is SO EXCITING! Lynne shared a lot of things with us in the week, but for me this one was the keeper.

8 thoughts on “Lynne Chapman has expanded my sandbox

  1. Your art supply shelf is to die for. And yes, I agree that playing in accordion books is fun if you let your art flow through the pages rather than make them individually. Isn’t it a grand life when you can find new inspiration like this online and just dive into it straight away? I love that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Life certainly doesn’t lack for inspiration…there’s so much of it that sometimes I think my head will explode. It’s stupefying and can sometimes be overwhelming.
      I don’t so much have an art supply shelf as an art supply BOAT. Working at an art store means I have two of everything… this little shelf is just the tip of the iceberg LOL I really must do something with all of it, before the boat sinks…


  2. I LOVE your illustration! And now I am so completely inspired. I have never made an accordion book but now I am loving the idea of making one – or several – so that I can illustrate timelines and panoramas and all sorts. I am adding that to my (long and getting longer) list of art things to do.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Laura! The creative To Do List is a blessing and a scourge. So many ideas, I often panic that I will not have time to try them all. I love being able to play with things as disparate as clay, paint, and embroidery…but also feel I am spreading myself too thin. The quest for a rich creative life is a quest for balance…


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