I go through a lot of small sketchbooks because I’m constantly scribbling in them. I have one where I watch TV, one in my office, one in my coat pocket and at least one in each of my sketching bags.
I’ve tried using Field Notes notebooks. I use the ‘mustache’ notebooks I wrote about at one point. These are wonderful because of their toned 4×6 paper that take fountain pen ink well. But for my sketching bags I like to have something that’s just a wee bit bigger, with a spiral binding so I can fold everything back and have just the sheet I’m working on in front of me. It still has to be cheap, fountain pen friendly, and of a practical size. For that I’ve been cutting 9×12 spiral-bound, 60# sketchbooks that I cut in half, creating 80-page 6×9 books that cost me less than $4. All of these solutions suffer when I try to add even light washes of watercolor.
What is a problem is that while I like the cheap Fabriano paper in those 6×9 books, they’re just large for the purpose, being too large and too heavy because I’m also carrying my regular S&B sketchbooks.
So, when I saw Canson’s XL Multi-Media book in a 7×10 size, I knew I’ve found my answer. Cut in half (I just run it through my bandsaw), it provides two 60-sheet 5×7 sketchbooks and the best part was that the paper is 98lb paper that takes watercolor washes quite well. No, I’m wrong. The best part is that these books only cost $3.50. I put one of my sketches on the front just to spiff it up a bit.
Well, COOL, thanks for the tip!
What an excellent idea. I’ve seen this done by someone else but I don’t remember who.
Could be you saw my earlier post on cutting up 9×12 books, Kate. Look here: https://larrydmarshall.com/two-sketchbooks-for-the-price-of-one/
Any suggestions for apartment dwellers without access to band saws?
Perhaps we can go to a wood working shop. They could probably do it for a cup of coffee. I hope, since this is such a great idea!
As Victoria suggests, hunt down some woodworker who owns a bandsaw. Doing this takes only a few seconds so I’m sure they’d be willing to accommodate you. — Larry
I agree these are great. We live in an art supply desert, but Walmart always has these. I use them for my general daily notebooks and always have one with me. Haven’t tried cutting them in half – that would work even better!
Spiral on the right… Larry, are you a lefty?
Very observant, Dana. Yes, I’m a lefty. — Larry
I have grown to love the 7×10 size. Now you have made it even more versatile! So happy I just bought two new ones!
I agree, Dee. My favorite Stillman & Birn books are the 10×7 Alpha series book. I’ve used more of those than any of the others. — Larry