Is There Such A Thing As Too Much Fun?!

7:03 AM

Acadia National Park Sketchbook Cover
Stillman & Birn Zeta Paper
Watercolor and Ink
Going on a trip, for me, begins long before I ever get in the car or plane. It starts with the planning of the trip and once the tickets are purchased, I begin the long and lovely process of deciding which journal format I'm taking, the type of paper I'll be working on and what pigments to put in the palette (often, but not always, determined by the location).

"A-n-t-i-c-p-a-t-i-o-n is making me wait…"

As you might have guessed, I'm heading up towards Maine and the art you see above is the cover of my new sketchbook I'll be using.

I decided I wanted a long horizontal spread for the trip. Take a look over on Flickr at some of the panoramas and you'll know why I want this format! Here lately, my paper of choice has been Stillman & Birn's Zeta paper, but they don't make a horizontal themed sketchbook.

What they do make is loose sheets of paper, 22 x 30 inches!

And violá, I have the beginnings of my sketchbook. The folded page is 7.5 x 4.5 inches. A full spread will be 15 inches wide—plenty of room for some of those gorgeous views. You may be wondering about the size…let me explain:
Damaged paper
Unfortunately, when I received the paper from the art house, it was damaged. Since I'd already decided on the long format and to go against the grain with the pages, It was just a matter of adjusting the width to eliminate the damage at the bottom.

Over on Facebook, in the Artist's Journal Workshop group, Tina Koyama shared that she made signatures of paper, but them in a cover and then bound them together after they were complete rather than carry the entire sketchbook around at one time.

I decided to take that fabulous idea and run with it, but I needed a cover:
Leather Cover with an elastic loop close
If this puts you in mind of a Midori's Traveler's Journal then I did something right as that was my inspiration! I stumbled across those journals late in 2011. In mid-2012, I bought some leather, stamps and dye with the intentions of making my own. We already had a collection of tools for working with leather.

Ummm…I have no idea what happened to the intervening years so let's fast-forward to July 2014 and I finally got around to making my own journal. For those of you interested in making your own, there are a number of excellent YouTube videos on the subject.

The sketchbook allows me to carry two signatures of 4 pages each. I've already punched holes in the middle of the pages  and tied them together. This is only for the sake of carrying and so the pages don't move when I'm working across the spread.

When I finally complete my journaling from the trip, I will take all of my completed signatures and bind them with covers using the coptic binding method. (There are also a number of YouTube videos on this as well.) Using this method, I won't have a lot of unfinished pages and I won't have the bulk of the entire sketchbook to haul around.

One other plus will be that if by some odd chance I should lose the sketchbook (eek!) or drop it in the water (argh!), I won't lose all of my pages.

I'm only just getting started on this journal and I'm already having way too much fun and building my anticipation. Rather than have all the fun and then bombard you with all the pages at the end of the trip, I'm going to start sharing them now and along the way.

What do you do to prepare for your travels, anything special?

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15 Creative Thought(s)

  1. Are you thinking of Tina Koyama?

    Your first page is wonderful! I hope you have a great trip and find time to do lots of sketches! I look forward to seeing them.

    1. THANK YOU, Stacey! I thought I had bookmarked that article and then could not locate it. Tina's the one.

  2. Not on your life. One can never have too much fun. I love having a trip in the planning. Once I'm en route I'm already thinking about where I can go next. (I'm not putting away my summer stuff in the fall in anticipation of Winter Interrupted trip) I love Maine, and Acadia is unbelievably beautiful. I did a good bit of hiking there several years ago. Hope you have fun and I hope there's a new Imaginary Trip in the making.

  3. I LOVE Maine and love your preparations. I having fun with you now.

    1. Thanks, Teri! I cannot wait to go. I've even gone so far as to set up a "countdown" clock for the trip!

  4. GREAT start to an exciting trip! I am only to happy to follow along!

  5. Planning a painting trip like this sounds great. Are you hooked on the Zeta paper? I have the Beta and like it a lot for watercolor sketching on trips - they say it's "rough" but it seems like a mix between hot press and cold press to me. Takes watercolor well. I'll have to try out the Zeta, too.

  6. That's awesome Laurie! Glad you're making time to get away! I hope you truly enjoy this long awaited "just for fun" trip!

  7. There may be such a thing as too much fun, but I've never known anyone to have it! Good for you wringing every last drop of excitement from your trip. I always think the planning and the dreaming stages are some of the best parts of travel. Can't wait to see your pages and the finished sketchbook. The beginnings of it are beautiful.

  8. Oh Laure - I feel your Anticipation - this journal is going to be a delightful record of your lovely trip. You are so talented dear and I know you will return with many pages filled. Take care and have a wonderful time.

  9. Hi, Laure! Minerva here, aka CC! :) As you know I'm home bound, but I've decided that I'm going to start a creative visualization sketchbook about going back to Italy! My doc thinks it's a great idea to have a long term goal, and that's it for me! So my preparation, besides getting well, is to journal/sketch all the things I will be doing on my future trip! I'll get a map of Italy and drag out my old pics of family there & other places I visited. I've already got the journal for the visualization and the one for the actual trip! I intend to do this NMW! Wish me health in a hurry! LOL! ♥

  10. I don't have any particular tools and have never done leather but I always make a journal to take along on a trip. Yep, I love the anticipation. It makes everything seem so special. Since I don't travel like I used to it is special when I get to go someplace. You will love Maine. One of my favorite states. The smell, sights and sounds are imbedded in my soul. I hope to hear/see all about your trip. ENJoy!

  11. Have a great trip Laurie! We will follow with anticipation as well. There may even be puffins on your travels. :)

  12. What great ideas in your post! I always get excited about a trip, and do a good job of collecting a pre-bound sketchbook and a BUNCH of art tools to take with me, but after that..... I lose some steam. I've never started preparing a sketchbook before hand, and I think that might make it easier to start playing with the pages on the trip. I can get a bit stumped once I get to where I'm going and open my new sketchbook - and get overwhelmed by all the blank pages before me. I'll have to try some of these ideas - with loose pages in signatures, and initiating some art on one or more pages. I love the idea of the re-usable leather cover/folder. Lots of exciting ideas that I'd love to try. I just need to find/make some time for this....

    P.S. I can't wait to see more of your journal when you return from your trip. Enjoy!!


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