Tuesday, January 23, 2018

discontinued: the perfect sketchbook

These are 16 volumes of the daily sketchbooks I've kept dating back to November 2011. Actually, once I found this brand they became my everythingbooks, or zibaldones, because I enjoyed writing in them as much as sketching. There has always been one within a hand's reach of me since then.

Alas, now it appears one can no longer purchase Daler Rowney Cachet Earthbound sketchbooks, and I am unconsolable. Seven years ago, unsatisfied with the usual glaring white, flimsy-floppy variety I'd had since art school, I went on an extensive search for something better, and these were my reward.

This is why they are brilliant: the spiral binding lets them lay open flat, or be folded back, which is so much easier for drawing than signature bound books. The back and front are both hard-covered, and sturdy, which means you can shove them in a backpack without wrinkling the paper, and that they can easily be held or set on a knee when sketching in the field. By far, they are the best sketchbooks for traveling. They went with me everywhere, from the local cafe, to India, Israel, Canada, Egypt, Turkey, Italy, and Germany. Their gorgeous, substantial pages are the perfect warm neutral, a colour that just makes me want to draw on it. And they are not perforated, which means the pages don't separate and fall out like a lot of other books do.

These 16 volumes are every inch filled with fleeting ideas, storyboards, mechanical diagrams for puppets and automatons, day dreams, lecture notes, grocery lists, personal histories, research, and anything else that crossed my mind.

The first drafts of Luna's Sea reside here, as well as plans for the Mermaid Statue, sketches of Istanbul, and the mysterious meanderings of my subconscious. 

In the later sketchbooks, so enamored of the paper itself I started it using it as a final surface, often manipulated digitally later which brought out the fiber-fleck texture in a great way.

I've come to the last one I have left, #17, a small 5x7. A scouring of the web brought me to the dreaded conclusion that they are no more. This has happened twice before in my artistic career, first with Strathmore's 5-ply hot press Bristol board, from which I still haven't recovered, and later with Winsor & Newton's Finity acrylics. From those I learned not to become reliant on a single art supply, but alas, for the Earthbound sketchbooks, I mourn.

If anyone has a lead on surplus, I'm all ears!

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