Special Monthly Sketchbook DIY - 31 Pages of Goodness | Nina Spolar - Nini | Skillshare

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Special Monthly Sketchbook DIY - 31 Pages of Goodness

teacher avatar Nina Spolar - Nini, finding magic everywhere

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

13 Lessons (1h 20m)
    • 1. Invitation to a Monthly Challenge

    • 2. Supplies

    • 3. About Our Special Book

    • 4. Creative Play

    • 5. Cutting Our Papers

    • 6. Making Signatures

    • 7. Gluing Time

    • 8. Perforating Our Papers

    • 9. Sewing Our Sketchbook

    • 10. V1 - Ribbon Spine Finish

    • 11. V2 - Fabric Cover Finish

    • 12. Thank You

    • 13. Bonus - process video of title pages

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About This Class


This class is all about making a mixed media sketchbook with a special twist.

You will learn how to go about making 31 pages sketchbook, bookbinding bits and also have some fun with splattering color around - in my case, I use black ink but watercolors will work just as well. I share a few tips across the whole class too - like how to tame those slippery rulers, how to sharpen your exacto knife, how to apply wax to thread and even, how to sew a button :) Mind you, it's not just sewing a button, it's sewing a button that works best on your thicker fabrics like coats and jackets.

And the special twist? This sketchbook will have absolutely NO blank pages because we are going to make it with randomly pre-marked papers. These fun pages will then be there to ignite your imagination and to make you see possibilities. At least this is my intention behind this class.

I sincerely hope you will accept my challenge and make this special sketchbook for yourself.


Psssst, this will also be a perfect sketchbook for joining the #Inktober with, at least in using ink part ;)

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Nina Spolar - Nini

finding magic everywhere


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1. Invitation to a Monthly Challenge: Hi. In this Skillshare class, I'm inviting you to a monthly challenge, a creative monthly challenge. It's going to be a very special one because you will be working in a book, a sketchbook that you are going to make by yourself for yourself. And since it will be made out of watercolor paper, you will be able to use any medium you like your preferred ones, your experimental ones, whatever. Just, I want you to enjoy the practice of making stuff every day. And using something that you make for yourself by yourself is really extra special. And since, this book is going to be kind of pre-made, you'll see what I do, it will hold a lot of magic in its pages. And my challenge to you is to use this sketchbook that you make throughout the month and find what's hidden in those pages. Find the magic in your book. Find the magic you are going to make for yourself in advance. It's easy. Anybody can do it. All you basically need is some watercolor paper, thread, things to draw with, you'll see. But really, I challenge you. If you think about joining Inktober, you will be able to say you finished it just by making this book. Trust me. My name is Nina and I'm an architect by profession. I do all sorts of things and I freelance, in all sorts of creative outlets but I also really like sharing what I've learned so far. I find Skillshare perfect for this. So do expect more classes from me that will cover really various topics. Creativity is something that makes a really huge difference in our lives. That's what I firmly believe. not just believe, actually know. So without further ado, find out more and join me in the next lesson. See you. 2. Supplies: Hi, and welcome to the first lesson. Well, not exactly a lesson, but we'll go over the supplies I'll be using. Please don't be alarmed by the amount of them, maybe it looks like there's a lot to have. But do watch the videos first to see why and what am I using? And then I'm pretty sure you already have everything at home. The only thing I really think is important to have or very good to have are the metal clips. The, these big thingies. Luckily for us, they are quite cheap and can be bought in all the art supplies stores so get two of these, the biggest ones you can, and then enjoy your bookmaking. Let's see what I'm using. 3. About Our Special Book: So why this class? I really like using sketchbooks or special books, booklets, notebooks for projects. Like every project has its own book. And usually there aren't sketch books out there with 31 pages only to have for monthly challenges. So it's really much simpler to make it by yourself. And I also do other things, not, not just sketch books, it's you know, projects, books, this is just a few of them. So let's do some counting first. Let's see how many pages we actually need. We are going to be taking a 31 pages because that's the longest a month can have, right? So 31 pages. We add to this two pages for the front and back cover and two more for the back sides of the front and back cover, and also a title page. And when we add all these together, we get 36 pages. Now, in bookbinding world, everything gets divided by four because one piece of paper folded in half gives us 1, 2, 3, 4 pages. So for our 36 pages, if we divide them by four, we get nine, which means we need nine pieces of paper, and when we fold them in half, we get those 36 pages we're after. And that's exactly what we'll do. Also, the book I am making, the books I am making are going to be made from a bigger A3 size + paper. Which means every paper will be cut into four papers. So that in the end, I end up with something of this size. This is a bit bigger than A6. But keep in mind that if you want to do a monthly challenge and really want to draw every single day, if you're creative time is limited, then don't make it harder on yourself by making a big book. Unless of course, you plan to draw miniatures, in whatever size you are going to make. Now, let's get to the fun part :) See you in the next video. 4. Creative Play: And here we are in the probably most fun part of all the class, with the drawing. We're going to be painting our pages. So I have here three sheets of watercolor paper. Fairly thick, it's our local brand. I don't like it all that much, but it's, you know, one has to use what they have, right? So I'm gonna leave here one and one remove the rest. What else Have I here? I have some paper towels just in case I need them. I have, first I have a stick I found in the woods and I have already been using it, as you can see, with ink. I have this thingie I found outside as well. And I find, if I take one of these off and use it for drawing with I get really nice lines or unexpected things so that's what I'll take and have it somewhere here. A nice flat brush and one of my favorite brushes that you get from DIY stores. It's really horrible actually because it's all, you can see the hairs fall out and everything. But, it does make really nice marks because of this. You might want to, or better, It's really good to protect your, your surface because we're going to be splattering color around and we are going to work really fast because that's the point of doing these things really fast without the Ego go coming in and telling us this is no good because we don't want that right. We just want to be in the moment and just create and have fun. And I have here some coffee I just made some instant coffee, fairly strong I think. I wouldn't know because I didn't try it. I have a jar of freshwater here. Then I have some already diluted Indian black ink. And black ink straight from the bigger bottle. I'm just going to have them here so you can see them. So this one is 100 percent, this is just diluted, I don't know, 50, maybe even less, 40%, clear water and a bit of coffee. Just if I feel the need or the wish to use it. I also have this spray mister with just water inside and I'm just going to use it right now, spraying here with water as you can see and now I'll just go and have some fun with it. Be quick. Work quick, don't even think about what you're doing because that's, you know, that's the point. We don't want our unfriendly ego criticize us right now. I love this brush, let's see what it does. So I, I sprayed this before to get these nice textures because I like them. If you don't, see for yourself, try it out, if you do not like them, don't use it. This really, I'm just. That's it. I'm done with this page. Or let's say this spread. I'm going to put it somewhere, so it dries it and I'm going to work on the next one. This time I won't be using the spritzer thingie first. Did I say do what feels fun. Do leave some space for later. Because we'll be using these things. And the third one. I want to use that coffee. Now. Let's spritz some water on again because I really like how everything looks with the water down below everything. These are already landscapes. Use your left hand or your non-dominant hand, which is left in my case. And let's see, uuuuuh, this is something I really like doing. I'm really not controlling the stick I'm using here it's just basically like I'm just observing what my hand is doing. And this is it. This is actually it. I'm going to let this dry, dry really well, and then I'll do the same thing on the other side. I won't be filming it, so, but you saw what I did. Basically - have fun! Okay. Leave some space, some white space on your paper on your pages to be, because we will be using them later. But most of all just have fun, okay. And I'll see you in the next video. 5. Cutting Our Papers: Welcome back. Now that our papers are dry and hopefully flat ... And this is how I go about flattening my papers. Who knew the weights would get so much use ... or not. It's time to cut them. We need our signatures! I'll be counting my big sizes into quarter, right? So I'll make one cut in the middle, and another one here. And so one quarter of this big sheet of paper will be my spread, basically, in a finished book. I have like a tip here for you, which I found really useful when I'm, when you are using a ruler, they really like to be very slippery. And you can, when you cut, you can move it. And by this you basically destroy what you're doing. My hack was to glue some VELVET, self-adhesive film on it. It's like this type of a wallpaper you buy in DIY stores. And if it feels like VELVET :) and it's really good anti slippery thingie, So here's what I did. Right. So, I'll be needing ruler obviously, an exacto knife, a knife of some sort. I have here, a cutting mat. And I already went ahead and measured my paper again. You really have to do this because we wetted it before and we already painted on it. It might shrink. Some papers shrink, some don't. Mine, as I said before, is not really high-quality, so it did shrink quite a bit. And I have here my measurements already prepared. So I'll just go ahead and cut this as I've said, it's just two cuts each paper. It's really good to have your knife as sharp as it can be. So i'll, I'll sharpen mine. Now this is going to be perfect. I'll just mark my pages, so, see you in the next video. When we are, when we all have our cut pages prepared. 6. Making Signatures: We realized we need nine of these to make our book. And folding such a thick paper is, I mean, you can't exactly go like this, you could, but you see you are making a crease somewhere you don't want to, especially with a bit of a crappier paper. So I, what I do is, obviously, you need to measure where your half is. And then I use an old ballpen that stopped writing and I use it to make my crease. Now what I'll do, is I'll align my paper with one of these lines. And where I need to cut it needs to be some here I hope you are able to see it. So I'll use this line as my guide. Press firmly. Use your ball pen. Make the crease. And fold it. And you see, here is where it started to make tears when I was trying to fold it before. And of course we don't want that while we paint, right? While, while we draw. It's not perfect. I mean it's really not perfect. I'm okay with it. So let me do the others. The other ruler that is really cool to have is one of these. The geometric one. And again, I would, let's say I need, all right, I'm missing the millimeters right here. But let's say if I was, I needed an 11 centimeters. This is really, it's much faster to use this one because you have all the measurements here. So back to the, back to measuring again. Somewhat pressing, definitely holding down the ruler. But you know how to do that, right? The more we do this, the more, the better we get. So this one's a bit better. Also, my paper is really crooked. I'm just showing you. It's okay. I'm just looking forward to start using these. Okay. I'll see you in the next video where we start making our book from our signatures, because this is our signature now. So see ya. And also you can make your crease not with your nail, but with, remember, because this one is not, it's not drawing. So I can use it to fold this really tightly. 7. Gluing Time: Before we proceed with our next step, which is going to be gluing the spine together. I mean, all of these together. We need to make sure we have another piece of paper the same size as our spread is, as our signature is. Just so that we will be able to use as a template to make binding holes. So what I have here is just an ordinary piece of paper. Let me cut this to size. OK. We have this one here, we are going to fold it in half. Like so. We have our future template here. it's the same size as our signatures. So let's proceed. We put this aside for use later while this is drying. And now what we do is we determine our, how we want our insights to look. So what I'll do is I have some pages with coffee and I'll kind of evenly spread them around so that they're not all in the same position or together. Okay. Now flatten this, align them as much as you can on both sides. And then while you have them like this, Take one of the clips, take the other one. Now this holds really well, check that everything is as it should be, that it is aligned. And then use your biggest clips that you have. I want to clip all of my signatures together so that it really holds well. And now what I need to do is apply glue on my spine, for which I'll be using this flat brush and glue. Do not put the glue directly on the spine because you will definitely put too much on there, trust me, I've done it before. Try to do it as evenly as you can and don't miss a spot. But if you do, it's gonna be okay. The reason why I'm doing this and I'm not I'm not a professional bookbinder or anything, I'm just trying to make bookbinding as easy as I can for myself. So that's why I'm sharing this with you. And well, the reason why this is simpler for me is when you're binding together signatures and they're, you know, you have them loose, It's really hard to juggle them around when you, when you're sewing, you have to... They just want to get away from you OK :) And so by gluing them down like this first, they are in place and the sewing part is much easier. So I'm done here and I will put this aside to dry, and then I'll be back and we will prepare our hole making templates. See you in the next video. 8. Perforating Our Papers: Okay, let's make our templates for the holes that we're going to put through each signature. I've already made this. And this side is the simplest and easiest way, fastest probably to at least regarding sewing. Okay? So basically we are going to make four holes, 1234. And that means we are going to come through hole 1 from the beginning, from the behind, go inside, go back again, come back in at number 3, go inside at number four and then proceed the same way, only. This size, you'll see me do it. And basically what you're looking for is the host to be spread around the template evenly. So let's say this distance and this distance. I mean it looks better if they are the same. And then the distance where you are going to see your thread. It looks kind of nice if they're equal as well. But it's up to you and of course, if you would like to, so a bit more, you can also add two in the middle. At four of the, is definitely enough to hold our book together. So what I'll do next is now that my basically my sketchbook is dry. The, the glue here is dry. And I wish we would be able to use it as it is, but we can't as it's going to fall apart. So what I'll do is I am going to perforate each signature. And I'm going to align my, my my template on the bottom side right now. Then I'll take the sewing pain is the long one that you want. And I'll just make the host through each spine. Good, be a bit harder because we have glue on there and the paper is quite thick. Also, if you have an all bookbinding, all, use it. Hi, I'm trying to make stuff with things people have at home. And as you can see, I came out at the very fold of my signature. And then I will do this again in the next one, not in between, but in the signatures where our folds are going to align it in the bottom, hold it, push it through, and I close it a bit because I really want to come out thoroughly through the fold. This is it. We have our holes here, they are pretty much perfectly stacked. We can proceed to sewing now, see you in the next video. 9. Sewing Our Sketchbook: Right, time to start sewing our book together our signatures. What I'll be using is the thicker thread, usually used for jeans, for the visible stitches you see on the outside or on the pockets because it's much thicker. I'll be using just an ordinary sewing needle, one of these, and also it's not mandatory to do this. I do it anyway. But keep in mind, when you've put a bee's wax or a simple wax from an ordinary candle onto your thread, it will melt away if you are going to paint with watercolors and then start drying them with your hairdryer or something like that with the heat. It does melt away from the, from the thread and goes onto your paper. So just so you know, I have this in mind. I don't mind if this happens because it's just a sketch book, but it's good to know in advance. We need to cut away a long enough size, length of our thread. And the way we, I go about it, is I'd like to have a bit more on it. So let's see. We have nine signatures, so we have to go across nine times okay. Two, three four. eight, nine and just in case, a bit more. Now what I'll do is I will put some wax on my thread. It's easier to sew with it. If you see some wax coming on, staying on the thread then take that away. That's it. Let's decide on a needle and thread it. Thread the needle. It's not gonna be that easy with such a long piece of thread, but I do not like adding it if I run out, so I will just go slower with my sewing. All right, let me make a nice knot in the end. I have a fairly long tail here just in case I need it later. Let's start stitching. Coming in through a hole here, going back out. Just pay attention that you really pull the whole thread out, that it doesn't get stuck somewhere. Like, sometimes it gets stuck like this and you don't see it. And then, well then you have to somehow fix that. Now I'm going in, in the second signature. I have it here. And I'm out. You don't see the hole really well for some reason you should be able to feel it because you punched through. If that doesn't work either. Punch it again, with your needle, see where it is and then go straight for it. Go in. Now it's time to tighten things up a bit. Then coming back out. Now these things are going to happen a lot because we have a long tail. Just, Be calm about it. Don't pull on stuff because you can make a knot, and just continue sewing. Now that I have done these first two signatures, and they are really nice and tight I'm going to secure these two together okay, so I'll make a knot here. Because from now on we are going to be making something that's called a kettle stitch. So the next one is here. Let's see. Again going slow. Untangle this. Also the wax is coming off. and that is making it harder too. I'm in, coming out again. So another mindfulness practice here. And calm, being calm. When the thread starts tangling way too much than I just, can't really show you, but I pull it, the whole thing, I take it apart. I want it to unwind because it's, it got tangled. And then I just straighten it as much as I can, till the end. And proceed with sewing. Third one. And going back out again. Now that I have reached this end, I am going to connect my third signature in which I am finding myself right now, to the second one with going under this, loop that I have here, just go under like this pull it and then go into the next signature. This is number four for us now. Helps to open it. If you can't see it really well, but can see it from this side just make it visible for you and then head straight back. Pull somewhat tightly. And then Pull, tighten it and then again, let's secure it to our previous loop. And go back through this signature. Helps again, if we have it open. I'm still going to connect it to the previous signature. Here. But I will also tie a knot so it doesn't go anywhere. And another one. We don't want this to fall apart but on the other hand, we are going to glue something over this so it should stay. And I can also just come here where I left that long tail on the other side. And really, just make another knot here and before I cut it. We are going to cover this, so don't worry. But if you would like to leave these visible, then I suggest you just leave the knots where they were, but don't connect, don't make this connection unless you like it. I mean, really, there's no right or wrong in my point of view because we're making a sketch book and just want to use it. Basically, you can congratulate yourself right now because just made yourself a beautiful sketch book. And to be honest, it's also done in a way. So you have made your, let's say Inktober or your monthly challenge. Practically you already made it. Now, it is just time to have fun in it. And don't worry if you cannot work on a page every single day because it's already done. That was the tricky part of me, right. Wasn't it? Anyways, I'll see you in the next video where I'll explain or show you two different ways to finish this thing before you start using it. 10. V1 - Ribbon Spine Finish: Okay, let's finish our book. I mean, it's already finished you can start using it, but let's, let's cover this. Let's cover the spine and the stitching. I like doing this because I like the way this looks. I'll be using the satin ribbon. I've measured it. And the width of this ribbon is four centimeters. And what I'll do is I'll actually just glue it across the spine like so. And this, that's all I'll do. It's really simple. So as I said, it's 40, is four centimeter, so 40 millimeters. And I want to have it, you know, like the same width in the front, going over the spine and then coming back out. So that means I need - I did the math before - I need about 14 millimeters to come here. That's my guideline to where to glue down my ribbon. Okay. These ribbons are always fraying. It's just the way they are made. So I try to cut them as straight as I can and then the glue kinda keeps it from fraying further because it's glued down and I will cut it just a bit longer as then I can adjust it once it's all set. Basically cut it pretty much the length you need, but we will cut it away once it's dry. I am also going to use some baking paper to put between the first two pages to protect my, to protect them from glue going over. You can use ordinary scrap paper. It really doesn't matter I tend to reuse these things as much as I can. So let's go about it. I'll just put a bit of glue here and use my flat brush to brush it nicely and evenly. Using the white PVA wood glue, perfect for papers as well. I just removed one of the tails under, here. We'll cover them anyway. I'm trying to get close to the edge I painted. Now this glue is already drying out so I better get to it. Don't put too much glue on the paper as it will come out through the ribbon. And that doesn't looks really nice. I mean, it happens, it's okay. Just so you know, it won't look as pretty. Waiting for it to dry and then we'll just flip it over, put it on the spine (glue) and also on the back side. Do clean up your brush while you're waiting for this to dry, you don't want to throw it away. Just getting the excess water out because I'll be using it again. This certainly feels dry. Let's move on. I'll have about... still those 14 millimeters on this side, but I'll mark 13 just in case. That's it. Jup. Let's put some glue here spread it nicely, evenly. Oops, forgot something. Put it in water. And now what I'll do is I'll just lean it over like so press firmly on my spine. And the ends. And I'm done. The only thing left to do is wait for this to dry up and then cut away these tiny ends at the end. Now that everything is really dry, I can trim off the excess ribbon. This is how I go about it. Take the sharpest scissors you have for this. That's it. 11. V2 - Fabric Cover Finish: Okay, I'm really glad you're here. Let me show you the really simple way of covering this up in fabric. Note down your two measurements, the height and the length that you need. Mark those measurements down and cut your fabric. I'll be using the scrap of an old sofa cover. And what I'll do is really, honestly, I'll just glue this on, all the way around on my covers through the spine as well. I will catch some ribbon between the back cover and the fabric, like so. So that when we close it, I'll also be sewing this button here, so that when I close it like this, let's say I'll be able to wrap around my button there. So now that I basically decided on the length of this ribbon, use whatever you have. I have here some organza ribbon. It's really thin and nice. And because I am kinda lazy right now and because I really like the look of fraying fabric because it shows some kind of use I will not be stitching the edges. I could be. I could do blankets stitch by hand all around the fabric. I wouldn't go around here because I really, really like it. Or I could use a sewing machine and do the same thing. Like a zigzag stitch around the edge or even on an overlock machine do exactly the same thing. But in the light of keeping things simple, I won't. Firstly, I need to sew on the button somewhere in the middle. And I'll do that. Let's see. Let's use the bigger one. The biggest one. I don't need much for this. I don't want to tighten my button too much because I want to have some space between the button and the fabric. So that I'll be able to roll my ribbon around it. See how I have quite a bit of space here. There's a space between. Now the thing, I think the button is secured enough, I'll go through just one hole so that I stay on this side. And then I'll just wrap those strands that I have around and then come out on the other side like so. Then I'll just make a knot. This is going to be my front cover. So this is my back. And I really want to, so that I don't forget, to put my ribbon on and I'm just eyeballing here. The place where I'll put it, hopefully somewhere in the middle. All I need to do now is wait for this to dry. Let's see, it's glued alright. No it's just perfect. I will however, burn this a bit so that it doesn't fray. Watch out when you're doing this. Not to burn it, you just want to get a bit close, close, close. That should do it. Anyway. Let's see. Now this would be our title page. Then I can just start doing my art in here my sketches, my doodlings, whatever. Well, the challenge I will take on is with ink because I'll be posting stuff during October and I'll just see where it takes me. Gosh, I really like this. I think it's already beautiful. I can't wait guys to see what you make. Please post in the project area. I hope that you have made yourself a fun little or big, already pre-made sketch book for yourself and that you will enjoy using it. I know I will mine. It's a special one now. See you in the bye bye section. 12. Thank You: And we're at the end of our class. I really hope you enjoyed making your books. That you will enjoy using them, and that you will post your pages and share them with me. I plan on sharing mine on Instagram. But I might also make a video of me drawing or painting on one of those pages. Do let me know if you'd like to see it and I'll add it here as a bonus section. So yeah, have fun. That's the most important thing here. And find that magic. See you in the next class. Bye. 13. Bonus - process video of title pages: Okay, let's see what we have here. This is supposed to be my title page. I don't think I'll be talking much, but just play. I'm seeing a weird fish right here. And I'll just start with that and see where it takes me. I have here a bit of quite a few of Micron pens. I have white bands. I have watercolors here and I have colored pencils. You can't see them. But that's what's in front of me. And that's pretty much what I will use also ordinary and graphite pencils. Next in this lesson. So true statement and branches. Okay. Social. Yeah. And East Asians. Southeast Asia. Yeah. Now, thank you. Well, I think you get the idea of what I wanted to do with this project, with this special sketchbook, I would really like you to enjoy finding images in these pre marked pages. So but don't worry if you don't see anything. The point is to just dive in and see what happens next. Maybe right now I don't see anything in here, but if I start putting down some patterns or just a color, something will spark my idea and then I'll see something. I really would like you to give this a dry as it's I think it's probably a well-known practice, but I find it really. I find inspiring. So I can't wait to do more in this sketch book of mine. And we're really, really like to see what happens on your pages. So please, please share them and ask away if there's anything I'm here for you. Here. Here it goes. I really like to hold space for everyone to enjoy. Have fun.