Drawing Books and Papers

BEGIN YOUR EXPLORATION of drawing, you need a drawing book. There are dozens to choose from. Gleaming store purchases vary greatly in format, binding, color,texture, thickness, quality, and cost. Homemade books can be assembled easily from found materials or selections of loose sheet papers, which are also sold in an enormous range. Art students often make use of printed books picked up from secondhand stores into which they draw, cut, and collage their ideas. It is also useful to own a portfolio. A high-quality one will last a lifetime; cheap corrugated plastic ones fall apart in days.

Alternatively, study the structure of a good portfolio and make your own. You simply need two strong boards hinged together well, ties on either side to keep your papers in place, and handles to lift the weight of your artworks. Drawing boards are invaluable. They can be very expensive in art stores; it is better to have them made at a lumber yard or home improvement store. Calculate a range of useful dimensions and have several cut at once. Smooth plywood, thick enough not to flex, is perfect. Sand the edges to avoid splinters. If you intend to carry your boards for a distance, be sure they fit comfortably under your arm.


Select drawing books to suit your aims. For evening classes, choose larger formats to give you scope for experiment. For traveling, chooe smaller hard - bound books that fit in your pocket or bag; their jackets will act like drawing boards and protect your work . Many artist sin vent ways of binding their own books. Dissecting a discarded hard - bound book will soon show you how it is made; this is how I learned:

1. CANVAS-COVERED HARD-BOUND: Ideal for carrying around; a length o f black elastic tied around the middle will hold the contents together when you fold in collected items. Note the widely differing choice of papers with which these are made.

2. BLACK POCKET BOOKS: Hand-sized with ready-made elastic binder and a marker ribbon. Most contain thin paper and are perfectfor use with disposable pens.

3. COLORED PAPERS: Largeart supply stores of ten sell thick books full of colored papers.These are perfect for working in color If planning t o use pencils, pastels, and crayons, be aware that paper texture effects and changes their marks.

4. RING - BOUND PADS: These are t he least expensive and useful for opening flat. However ring bindings often break. Purchase a high-quality ring - bound pad if you wish to keep your drawings together long-term.

5. FOUND BOOKS: Old printed novels, catalogs, and reference books found in second-hand stores make unique subjects for experiments and collage.

6. HOME MADE: I made this book from drawing paper that I folded, stitched, and glued to a strip o f bias binding. The hardboard jacket is stretched with canvas beneath the paper sleeve.