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  • Bookbinding Techniques 3. - Coptic Stitch

    Coptic Stitch

    Coptic stitch works best when you're binding lots of sheets together, so the binding pattern is more visible on the spine. At first it seems to be a more difficult technique, but once you get the hang of it, it's not more difficult than any other.

    You'll need

    • paper
    • board
    • bone folder
    • awl
    • waxed thread
    • binding needle
    • scissors
    • craft knife

    Method step by step:

    (Photos from Sea Lemon's video tutorial) 

    Start with folding your papers in half, and use the bone folder to smooth down the edges.

    Put the folded sheets together to create a signature (about four folded sheets makes up one signature)

    Stack the signatures evenly and mark the first hole about 5-6 cms  from the end of the paper, then mark two more 2,5 cm apart. Do the same thing on the other side.

    Pierce the holes on the cover board

    And on the signatures.

    Depending on the size of your book and the thread you use, you can double thread or use a single thread. Make sure to tie the end.

    You start from the bottom cover and one signature. Sew from the inside of the signature to the outside.

    And around and outside of the cover.

    Loop around the thread

    Then back to the signature through the same hole.

    Back to the next hole

    Around the cover

    Then loop around and back to the signature. Do the same with every hole.

    When you reach the last hole on the signature, loop around then grab the next signature and return the needle to the first hole.

    Go through the next hole

    Loop around

    The previous signature’s thread.

    Then back into the same hole

    And into the next hole. Repeat on the remaining holes.

    When you have the third signature, you make sure when you loop around the previous signature’s thread

    When you only have the last signature and the top cover left, you’ll be working with both.

    Start with the first hole on the cover

    Loop the around the same thread once

    And in the signature

    For the remaining stitches, loop around the previous signature first,

    Then into the cover

    Loop around the thread, then back into the signature.
    Repeat for the remaining holes.

    Once you’re finished, just tie the thread.

     

    References

    • Coptic Stitch Sketchbook by Sea Lemon
    • http://www.tortagialla.com/2010/08/16/chain-or-coptic-stitch-bookbinding-tutorial/
    • //www.clothpaperscissors.com/wp-content/uploads/Coptic-Stitch-PDF.pdf
    • http://www.making-mini-scrapbooks.com/copticbinding.html

     

     

     

     

     

  • Bookbinding Techniques 2. - Concertina

    Concertina, or Accordion Fold Book

    Folding-out booklets are not only good for interesting ways to sketch, but perfect for display purposes as well. And it's not too difficult to make on your own!

    What You'll Need:

    Tools:

    • Bonefolder
    • Ruler
    • Brush
    • Scissors or craft knife

    Materials:

    • 2 Bookboards
    • Bookcloth
    • 2 sheets of paper
    • PVA glue

     

    Method:

    cut two long rectangles that are the same size.

    Fold them in half,

    ... then fold them like an accordion.

    until you have a "W" shape.

    If you want more sheets, you can make as many accordion fold as you want to, and you can just attach them together with glue.

    To make the covers, get two sheets of heavier paper/cardboard/bookboards that are slightly bigger than your folded booklet. If you want to cover it with bookcloth of paper, cut rectangles that are a few cms/inches bigger than the cover.

    Cut the edges of the paper/cloth...

    ... then glue them and fold them inside.

    This is how it should look outside and inside:

    Glue the inside of the cover and attach the first sheet of your accordion booklet.

    And it's finished!

    You can try making the book with watercolour or any other paper for sketching, or you can make a photo album, or something crazy that fits into an artist book.

    References and Photos:

  • Guide to Choosing Paper

    Different Types of Paper and Their Use

    There are so many different papers available, and often they look quite similar. If you aren't sure what paper is the most suitable for your work, you might find this guide helpful.

    For a brief history of paper, click here 

    Paper sizes and Measurements

    The common sizing system in Europe is called ISO 216, where the paper's weight is expressed in grammes per square metre (gsm). The biggest unit is A0 (1189 x 841 mm).

    In the US, paper sizes are based on customary units. 

    There are seven main Paper categories:

    • Printing Papers
    • Wrapping papers
    • Writing papers
    • Drawing papers
    • Handmade papers
    • Specialty papers

    Pastel Paper

       

    (click on the pictures for more details!) 

     

    The best weight for pastel paper is at least 175 gsm, heavy cartridge or lightweight watercolour paper.

    For mixed media techniques, a rough-surface watercolour paper (that has been painted) still has enough tooth for soft pastels.


    There are many different papers that are suitable for pastels, from very coarse to very smooth. Ingres paper has a ‘laid’ effect, meaning that one side the grains produce fine liner while the other is slightly blotchy.

    The reason why there are a great selection of pre-coloured paper for pastels, is because pastels never really cover the whole surface, therefore leaving a few gaps (that aren’t shockingly white) is a standard use. Having a dominant coloured surface is also useful to determine the ‘atmosphere’ of the whole picture and create a unity of colours, as a deep reddish colour will give a warm tone, while blues are helpful to achieve a subtle, moody effect.

    Cartridge Paper

    • Generally used for drawing, but it’s also good with paint, pens and markers, as well as with pastels, crayons or inks.
    • It’s available in different weighs, depending on the used technique (heavier for paint, lighter for drawing)
    • it can also be used to make simple  models.

     

    Watercolour Paper

    There are three main weighs of watercolour paper:

    • 190gsm - 'student grade', as it's pretty lightweight, requires stretching, and can't endure lots of scrubbing
    • 300gsm - 'standard' type of paper, it takes paint ell, but still better to stretch to avoid buckling. dries quickly and medium priced.
    • 638gsm - it's almost like a board, therefore doesn't require stretching, but takes longer to dry.

     

     

    more about Watercolour paper: https://iartsupplies.co.uk/blog/watercolour-paper-101

    Printmaking Paper

    Printmaking paper is specific to printmaking techniques, because it has to be able to take soaking, absorb ink, and take multiple runs through a press without disintegration or deformation.
    For this purpose, they are made with a so-called archival fabric, that means it contains cotton (in Europe) or mulberry bark (in Japan)

    Tracing Paper

    • thin, translucent paper
    • 60 - 90 gsm
    • it's used for making copies of drawings, or tracing a pencil sketch onto canvas for instance

    Recommended Videos:

    Selecting Art Paper

    Arches Printmaking Papers & How to Evaluate Your Paper

    Watercolor Paper Comparison - Arches, Fabriano and Canson - Beginners Which Paper to Choose?

    How to Pick Great Watercolor Paper

    References:

    • http://www.how-to-draw-and-paint.com/pastel-paper.html
    • http://www.dickblick.com/printmaking/papers/
    • https://rbms.info/vocabularies/paper/th343.htm
    • https://rubiks.ca/EN/resource-center/useful-printing-tips/26-american-paper-sizes--what-are-the-american-paper-sizes-how-to-convert-paper-sizes.html
    • http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/gcsebitesize/design/graphics/materialsandcomponentsrev1.shtml
    • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paper_size
    • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grammage
  • Posca Paint Markers

    Possibly one of the most versatile water-based paint marker pens?

    Posca Pens are great permanent paint markers that come in many different sizes, shapes and colours.

    They are great for many art practices, from sketching to more specific surfaces like glass, rocks or fabrics.

    Read more to find out what else they are capable of!

    How to use Posca Pens:

    The Posca Paint markers contain opaque, fluid paint that is quite similar to acrylic paint. Even light colours can be painted on darker shades without loosing their effect. Colours can also be blended, with your fingers or with brushes. For a watercolour effect, work with wet brushes.

    The markers all have water based ink, that’s non-toxic, therefore you can use them on your skin if you prefer, as well as suitable for children’s use.

    The paint dries very quickly, but required a few minutes on less porous surfaces. They are also permanent, or can be made permanent on all surfaces.

    Available sizes and tips

    The Posca Pens are not refillable, but it’s possible to change the tips. PC-1M, PC-3M, PC-5M, PC-8K and PC-17K have replaceable tips, but generally they all can be reversed.
    If the tip dries, it can be simply taken out by pulling and rinsed with water.

    On rocks, helmets, surf boards, guitars, skateboards, shoes, polymer clay, T-shirts, skin, asphalt,

    Pavement art

    T-shirts and textiles

    Walls

     

    Mugs, ceramics

    Making Posca Permanent:

    Instructions for making Posca pens permanent on different surfaces:

    • Paper/Card: No action needed - Posca pigment will be absorbed into the fibres, making it permanent.
    • Terracotta: Bake in the oven at 220°C for 45 minutes, then spray with clear varnish.
    • Textiles: Iron on the reverse side.
    • Porcelain: Bake in oven at 160°C for 45 minutes, optionally spray with clear varnish.
    • Metal: Spray with clear varnish.
    • Glass: Bake in oven at 160°C for 45 minutes, then spray with clear varnish.
    • Wood: Spray with clear varnish.
    • Plastic: Spray with clear varnish.

    Test results of Posca Pen on different surfaces: http://www.posca.com/sites/default/files/test-results-posca_7.pdf

    What type of varnish is suitable for Posca Pens?

    Clear acrylic based varnish for paper, canvas

    Durable polyurethane varnish (for guitars, wood, metal, plastic, glass, cars, stone, canvas)

    References and Photos:

    https://www.kusuyama.jp/blog/lifestyle/ultimate-guide-posca-markers

    http://www.posca.com/uk/all-material-markers/instructions-for-use

    http://www.posca.com/uk/all-material-markers/materials-and-tips

    https://www.ellawebb.co.uk

    Videos

    Posca Water-based Pigment Ink Markers

    Posca Pen Sunset on rocks

    Blending with Posca Pens

    Posca Pens on textile 

    Wall painting with Posca Pens

    Posca Pens on mug / ceramics

    Posca Pen drawing on Tshirt

    Posca Pens on wood 

    Varnishes to use on Posca Pens

  • Bookbinding Techniques - The Basics

    Make your own sketchbooks with this guide!

    General Terms and Tools

    Signature - is a set of papers folded in half once.
    Book block - is a set of signatures glued or sewn together; they make up the inside of the book.
    Endpapers - are the signatures attached to the front and the back covers.
    Headband / tailband - is a band looped around a strip of leather or rope.
    Hinge - is the part of the book near the spine where the book folds open
    Rib - Ribs are the thickening part of the spine - they are either created naturally by the ropes holding together the book block, or by using plastic 'fake' ribs.

    bonefolder
    bodkin
    sewing needles
    waxed thread

     

    Bookbinding types

    In the following articles we'll introduce you the these popular bookbinding techniques:

    Pamphlet binding

    Coptic binding

    Japanese binding

    Concertina

    History

    The first books were clay tablets from around 3800 BC Babylon era. Other different materials included Palm books made out of palm leaves or strips of bark.

    The next major type was the papyrus roll or scroll. These were made out of plant stems that were cut into fibre strips, soaked in the Nile and dried. After that they were hammered into sheets and whitened with ivory. They were really brittle, and could only be stored rolled up.

    Clay Tablet

    Wax tablets were another commonly used writing surface in Antiquity. They were made out of wood. Covered with a layer of wax, making it reusable and portable.

    Wax tablet and a Roman stylus

    The paper we think about nowadays was invented in China around 200 BC. The manufacture process was adopted by the Arabs and thus gradually spread to the west. The first paper mill in England was established in 1496 near Stevenage.

    A palm leaf Hindu text manuscript
    St Cuthbert's Gospel, the oldest surviving Western binding

    Bookbinding and paper was revolutionised by the invention of printing presses and printing, the invention of German Johannes Gutenberg (1456).

    The first printer in England, William Caxton, followed in less then twenty years.

    As printing increased the number of books, binding became a separate occupation. The 16th century saw the golden age of book covers as new fine tools made it possible to create exquisite designs.

     

    Contemporary use:

    Fine art/ artist books
    Handmade sketchbooks, journals
    Repair of antique books

    References

    • http://www.bookbinding.co.uk/City%20&%20Guilds%20Course%20Notes/July%202014%20Inroductory%20Lesson.pdf
    • http://www.studentbookbinding.co.uk/blog/types-of-binding
    • https://issuu.com/casatallerlasartesdellibro/docs/bookbinding--a-manual-of-techniques----pamela-rich
  • Bookbinding Techniques 1. - Make a Pamphlet

    Pamphlet Binding

    In the series of Bookbinding Techniques, the first one introduces the Pamphlet binding. This is a good beginner technique that is also a classic  - with a few easy stitches you have a small booklet, which is also the base for more advanced techniques.

    You will need:

    Method:

    Before stating the booklet, it's a good idea to make a template that you can use to determine the position of the holes on each folio(paper folded in half). Grab a piece of paper that's exactly the same length as the 'spine' of your folio. Measure 3, 4 or 5 holes (2 towards the top and 2 towards the bottom of the spine) depending on the length of your paper. Then pierce the paper where you marked it with the awl or an embroidery needle. Next, you can place the template and pierce each folio with the help of the template.

     

    The stitch with 3 holes 

    Pierce three holes using the template.

    Measure the thread that should be three times the length of your signature ( multiple folios that you want to stitch together). Pull the thread through the 2nd hole, but don't tie a knot on the end yet.

    Continue towards the 1st hole, as show on the photo below.

     

    Next you want to pull the tread out at the 3rd hole...

    ... then pull the thread through the 2nd hole again. Tighten the thread and

    And lastly, tie the thread around the one running along the spine and then cut off the excess thread.

    Pamphlet stitch is a great beginner technique, and it's good for poetry or artist books or zines. You can also use many different types of paper for this technique, from transfer paper to watercolour.

     

    References and Photos:

    • http://www.designsponge.com/2013/03/bookbinding-101-five-hole-pamphlet-stitch.html
    • https://www.loc.gov/preservation/resources/educational/bookarts/pamphlet.pdf
    • http://www.reframingphotography.com/content/book-making-pamphlet-stitch-book
  • Amsterdam Acrylic Inks - Available Now!

    What are the Amsterdam Acrylic Inks like?

    What are Acrylic Inks?

    Acrylic inks are in-between materials – you can use and think of them as liquid acrylic paint, or thicker watercolours, however the big difference is that once they are dry, they are permanently dry! We are really excited as this year (2018) we have finally got them listed on iartsupplies!

    The Royal Talens Amsterdam Acrylic Inks have 46 different colours (metallic and fluorescent as well!) that are just the same as the acrylic markers, spray paint and acrylic paint the brand does, making the colours fully interchangeable

    What are the properties of Amsterdam Acrylic Inks?

    • Acrylic ink is the closest in to the Amsterdam Acrylic Markers. They are more liquid than regular acrylic paint, but thicker than watercolour or ecoline
    • Brilliant & Vibrant colours with intense pigments
    • Waterproof once dried
    • Water based and can be mixed with other water based paints
    • Highly Lightfast
    • Odourless
    • Can be combined with Amsterdam acrylic paint, spray paint or markers, as the pirments are the same used in each paint type
    • Can be used on different grounds like paper, canvas, cardboard, wood, plastic and metal (if primed first)
    • Good for pours

    Techniques / How to use

    Drawing / painting 

    Acrylic inks can be used as any other regular ink or paint, with dip pens or with the drop.
    As they dry waterproof, you can easily create layers of lines and washes, as they will remain visible under the fresh layers. Why not try using a dip pen with acrylic ink? Its is also a good idea if you want to write / draw with mixed colours!

    Make marks with a brayer

    Another good idea by Kim Dellow is to use a brayer to make different patterns with acrylic inks.

    Why not Print on fabric/paper?

    Yes, acrylic inks are even suitable for printmaking, whether the surface is regular paper or fabric!

    Washes

    Acrylic inks are also suitable for traditional watercolour techniques like washes. However, due to its different properties, acrylic inks make it possible for the lower layers to stay visible.

    Drops/splatters/ spraying water

    As Acrylic inks stay waterproof after they dry, you can create nice layers of drops and splashes that will stay visible even if you add more layers or spray the surface with water.
    Also a nice technique to try and add water to the inks once they are on the surface - or perhaps to spray them with water which creates nice patterns and washes. To further experiment, you can try to spread the inks or water.

    Pours/ Cells effect

    Acrylic inks are excellent for pours and creating cell effect. Mix each colour with a few drops of silicone and floetrol and pour them in the same cup one by one. Place the canvas (surface) on top of the cup and flip. Wait for a few minutes before lifting up the cup, and just let the ink flow. If it doesn't cover the whole area, just help it by lifting the surface a little. If you add silicone, it will help the colours to separate, creating interesting cell-like patterns.

    References and Photos:

     

  • How to present your Artworks

    Good presentation makes a big difference to your artwork, especially when it comes to exhibiting them.

    However strange it may seem, you don’t need to be a professional framer in order to give a ‘professional’ touch to your art – and it can be done by some simple tricks!

    Mounting

    Mounting your artworks doesn't only make them look 'professional' and exhibition ready, but helps protecting them as well!  There are two main ways to do it, depending on the type of art you have.

    Floating mount

    Good way to present your works that are either not in the middle of the paper, or where the edges have an importance / look good with the artwork.

    Floating mount has a telling name: the work attached to the mount board will be slightly 'floating' off. To achieve this effect, you attach the work with adhesive tapes in a T shape:

    Window mount

    The other popular type is the window mount, where the artwork is surrounded by a frame of mount board. The perfect choice for displaying prints and photos.

     

    Find what you need on our website:

    References:

    • https://www.diplomaframe.com/chc-blog/tips-for-float-mounting-artwork/
    • http://www.grignonsart.com/instructions/howtomountart.html
    • https://www.nga.gov/content/ngaweb/conservation/matting/matting-hinging-project.html
    • http://www.sheffield-photographer.org.uk/downloads/HOW%20%20TO%20%20WINDOW.pdf
    • http://www.fineart.co.uk/buying/Framing_Info_Advice.aspx
    • https://www.artistsandillustrators.co.uk/how-to/framing-varnish/215/ten-framing-tips-from-eframes-jayne-lowther
    • http://www.widewalls.ch/collectors-tip-how-to-frame-an-artwork-readymade-or-diy/page-2-try-it-out/
  • The Art of Chinese Calligraphy Painting

    Chinese Calligraphy Painting

    Calligraphy is the art of writing Chinese characters and especially refers to the rules of writing with a brush. The art originated in China around 4,000 - 5,000 years ago and spread to other parts of the Orient with Chinese culture

    Calligraphy and painting are regarded as two treasures in China. Together with Qin, the ancient Zheng, and Qi, the chess, they formed the four skills for a learned and elegant scholar to pursue in ancient times. They were also held as a good exercise to cultivate one's temperament.

    Chinese Culture

    Chinese culture is full of symbols and signs of good luck, and objects that stand to prove that culture and art  play a very important role in the country’s future. Traditional handicrafts often represent a nation’s beauty, and the Chinese are set in this belief.

    Materials for Calligraphy Painting

    Chinese history is known for its highly stylised form of writing, developed and shaped by calligraphers throughout the country. Even today, the four treasures of study – ink stick, ink slab, writing brush and paper – are tools that calligraphers are seldom found without.

    Chinese ink sold in solid stick form is lavishly decorated. The ink is made from pinewood soot mixed with gum resin. Ink stones are hard, flat and dabbed with water for use.

    Strokes

    There are seven standard strokes, called the Seven Mysteries. They consist of the horizontal line, the dot, the sweeping downward stroke, the sharp curve and two forms of the downward stroke: one with a hook and one in a 45-degree angle.

    There are five major styles of Chinese calligraphy: Zuan, Li, Tsao, Hsin and Kai. With all, the palm may not touch the brush, which is held vertically to the paper.

    Chinese Calligraphy in Different Styles


      

    Chinese Characters

    If you’re interested in learning Character strokes, you can check out  the written Chinese dictionary that has stroke animations for 1000s of characters.

    Just like working on anything else, practising calligraphy requires unremitting efforts. If you’re interested in it, you may start practising with a professional Chinese calligraphy teacher.

     

    References:

    Billeter, Jean François. The Chinese Art of Writing. New York: Skira/Rizzoli, 1990.

    Harrist, Robert, and Wen Fong. The Embodied Image: Chinese Calligraphy from the John B. Elliott Collection. Princeton: Art Museum, Princeton University in association with Harry N. Abrams, 1999.

    Kraus, Richard Curt. Brushes with Power: Modern Politics and the Chinese Art of Calligraphy. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1991.

    Sullivan, Michael. The Three Perfections: Chinese Painting, Poetry, and Calligraphy. Rev. ed. New York: George Braziller, 1999.

    Yee, Chiang. Chinese Calligraphy: An Introduction to Its Aesthetics and Technique. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1973.

    Links:

    https://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/chcl/hd_chcl.htm

    https://asiasociety.org/education/chinese-calligraphy. 2018.

    http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/culture/art/2016-12/29/content_27802189.htm

    http://www.chinaonlinemuseum.com/calligraphy.php

  • Eco Friendly and Vegan Art Supplies

    How can art supplies be vegan?

    Believe it or not, art supplies aren't an exception when it comes to using animal ingredients. In this article we collected art materials and products that contain animal ingredients, and those that are free of them.

    Eco friendly art products are made out of recycled materials, or pencils made out of bamboo instead of wood, etc. Artist tend to use environmentally unfriendly and even harmful products in their practice, therefore being a little bit more environmentally conscious where you can is advised!

    Animal products in Art Supplies:

    • brush bristles are traditionally made with animal hair
    Hog bristle brushes

    Sable brushes

    • Shellac , a material made out of the secretion of the lac insect, is used as binder in inks and for a glossy finish
    • Ox gall is a watercolour medium that improves the flow of the paint, and is made of animal protein
    • Cochineal is the secretion of insects that is used in the making of carmine dyes.
    • Bone black is a very strong black, made from the charring of bones.
    • Tempera paints contain egg as a pigment binder.
    • Gelatin is made by boiling animal skin and bones in water, used to size paper and canvas.
    • Casein is a binder, made out of cow milk protein that can be found in pencils.
    • Rabbit skin glue is used in the making of gesso, a glue in bookbinding and as a sealant.
    • Beeswax, found in crayons and pencils.

    Art Products and Brands free from animal ingredients:

       

    As well as graphite, charcoal, Damar Varnish, all Strathmore Watercolour paper (except 'Gemini'), all Fabriano paper (except: 'Roma', 'Esportazione', 'Secolo'), all Canson 'Heritage' and 'Montval' range, St Cuthberth's Mill Bockingford paper.

    Hopefully this was a useful guide for those who want to remain cruelty free in their art practice as well. And most importantly, even if your supplies aren't completely eco-friendly and vegan, always make sure you dispose of turps, paint and dangerous chemicals properly!

    References:

    • http://emptyeasel.com/2009/01/29/the-vegans-list-of-art-supplies-art-products-free-of-animal-ingredients/
    • http://www.artdiscount.co.uk/blog/vegan-vegatarian-and-eco-art-supplies/
    • http://www.veganwomble.co.uk/wordpress/veganartandcraftsupplies/
    • http://www.colorsofnature.com/VeganCrueltyFreeArtSupplies.html
    • http://deliciousliving.com/blog/10-things-you-thought-were-vegan-arent
    • http://artonthefridge.com/animal-free-art-supplies/?i=1
    • https://www.hahnemuehle.com/en/digital-fineart/digital-fineart-collection/matt-fineart/p/Product/show/8/6.html

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