Thursday, February 20, 2014

A4 Portrait to A5 Landscape Sketchbook Mod

Sketchbook options in Singapore are somewhat limited, especially for those like me who like to vary their media, and who like the A5 landscape format. You can find decent A5 landscape watercolour sketchbooks such as Etcetra, Moleskine, and Strathmore, but the only A5 landscape format sketchbooks I've found for other media are either Daler Rowney's Original Classic Cachet sketchbook or the cheap stuff you get in neighbourhood bookstores, which are not of very good quality. Daler Rowney's Cachet A5 landscape sketchbook is also strictly for dry media. It buckles upon application of water, and quite badly. The only other decent option is the Sketch2book, a specialty sketchbook designed and produced by one of my friends, which is actually 2 sketchbooks in one - one side in portrait format and the other side in landscape (see below). It is a versatile sketchbook that takes ink, markers, light wash, pencils, and other dry media very well. However some might find it a little heavy (after all, it's 2 books with a hardcover), but apart from that, I love it. It is available through Arters, an online shop based in Singapore, which also stocks Daniel Smith watercolours and other sketchbooks.

Sketch2book, an A5-sized
landscape-cum-portrait format
conjoined sketchbook

Multimedia sketchbooks are not that difficult to find here, actually. It's just landscape format ones that are hard to find. Art Friend brought in some stock of Daler Rowney's hardcover Graduate series sketchbooks a while back, but the only landscape ones available were A4 size, and they were snapped up very quickly with no sign of replenishing stock. I actually like the Daler Rowney Graduate series, even though it is more towards the "student quality" grade. Despite that, I have found it to be suitable for dry media, markers, ink, and light watercolour wash. It's very versatile, but it doesn't come in A5 landscape.

At least not with some handiwork.

Daler Rowney Graduate A4 hardcover landscape sketchbook

Just a few days back, an idea occurred to me. I had a spare unused Daler Rowney A4 paperback portrait sketchbook lying around. What if I cut it down the middle? I'd get 2 landscape sketchbooks! So, that's what I tried today, and I took photos of the process. Here they are:

First, get yourself one of these. One of the
best things about this sketchbook is
they're very cheap.

Open it up and remove the staple binding.

The sketchbook is quite thick, so it might
not be advisable to put the whole thing
through the cutter. I separated the sheets
and cut a few at a time.



Hold the sketchbook firmly as you chop it
in half. Don't let it slip or you will get a
curved edge.

Aaand.... you get 2 halves!

Each half is a landscape A5 sketchbook!

Now to bind the pages back. If you have a long-arm stapler, good for you.
If you don't, get a sturdy stapler and lay the sketchbook flat like this
on a thick piece of corrugated cardboard (or a few layers of it).

Align the stapler head with the spine, and punch the staples right through.
***DO NOT try to do this flat on your tabletop - unless you want holes in
your table!!

The result should look like this. My alignment is a bit off though.

Close the staples to finish the bind.

Completed modified sketchbook.

Wait. There's 2 of them!

So that's how you do it! Two A5
landscape sketchbooks for the price
of one A4 portrait one!

Halved A4 portrait sketchbook compared with A5 portrait sketchbook.
Both are readily available from Art Friend, but you'll have to cut
the A4 one yourself if you want it in A5 landscape.

The Graduate sketchbook may not have archival paper, but it is acid free. That's good enough for most of us. If you find it flimsy because of its soft cover, you can always bring a clipboard out, or make your own hardcover jacket. I haven't tried that yet, but may do so sometime later.

One more important thing to note is that the Graduate soft cover sketchbooks comes in 2 different paper weights - 140 and 160 gsm. The ones I use are 160 gsm and can be identified by their matte cover (the 140 gsm ones have a glossy cover). Actually there are 4 different paper weights in this range, which you can check out at their website. The whole range is not available in Singapore, unfortunately, so I just have to make do with what I can get. The A5 portrait one is only about $3 here, and the A4 can't cost much more. This is way cheaper than a Stillman and Birn, which costs about 6-8 times more, and even cheaper than Moleskines which will cost 10 times more for less pages of watercolour paper. Those on a budget (like students) might find this a good alternative, especially for more casual work. The only thing you will need to cut the sketchbooks is access to a paper cutter. Of course, you can easily do it sheet by sheet without one, but that's a lot more troublesome.

The following are some samples of artworks done using the A5 portrait 160 gsm one:

Copyright © Favian Ee  2013
Drawn with ink and watercolour, watercolour pencils,
water-soluble graphite, felt-tip pens/markers, and gel pen.

Copyright © Favian Ee  2013
Drawn with ink, felt-tip pen, and water-soluble graphite pencils

Copyright © Favian Ee  2013
Drawn with Faber Castell Pitt pen markers

Hope you found this helpful!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Sketchpacking Siem Reap Jan 2014 Sketches (2/2)

Continued from Sketchpacking Siem Reap Jan 2014 Sketches (1/2)

Day 4: Angkor Thom

We started a little later with breakfast at our guesthouse (included) before heading down to Angkor Thom, where we spent the rest of the day. Angkor Thom is a city complex, so there are a good many buildings and sights to see.

Copyright © Favian Ee  Jan 2014

Copyright © Favian Ee  Jan 2014

Copyright © Favian Ee  Jan 2014

Copyright © Favian Ee  Jan 2014

Copyright © Favian Ee  Jan 2014

Copyright © Favian Ee  Jan 2014


Copyright © Favian Ee  Jan 2014

Copyright © Favian Ee  Jan 2014

Copyright © Favian Ee  Jan 2014


Day 5: Angkor Wat and Preah Khan

Our last day at Angkor Park was spent at Angkor Wat and Preah Khan. We woke up very early to catch the sunrise over Angkor Wat and by evening, we were so spent that we skipped the sunset at Phnom Bakheng and went straight back.

Copyright © Favian Ee  Jan 2014

Copyright © Favian Ee  Jan 2014

Copyright © Favian Ee  Jan 2014

Copyright © Favian Ee  Jan 2014

Copyright © Favian Ee  Jan 2014

Copyright © Favian Ee  Jan 2014

Copyright © Favian Ee  Jan 2014

After returning to our rooms, I was so unwell that I didn't join the guys out for dinner. Instead, I stayed in the room to rest, and only ventured out to the minimart to grab some 100PLUS and biscuits. It was a good thing that I fell ill only on the final evening of our trip and as our park passes were about to expire.

By the next morning, I was somewhat well enough to go out with the guys, but didn't do any sketching. Tungtong brought us for breakfast, then to the Big Market - a very local marketplace free of touristy trappings - before we made our way back. After packing our bags and doing some last minute shopping, we hopped on our tuktuks and made for the airport. It was good to get home, but I still had the runs for another 2 days.


P.S.
Here are Parka's sketches and photos: https://plus.google.com/photos/+TeohYiChie/albums/5970563722575123969

Sketchpacking Siem Reap Jan 2014 Sketches (1/2)

From 9-14 January 2014, four urban sketchers from Singapore went on an adventure to sketch the ruins of Angkor. We embarked on a 6-day trip to Siem Reap to see and capture the wonders of the ancient Khmer empire on paper. Joining us was a renown Singaporean artist who happened to be there at the same time for a painting trip. Tung Yue Nang (aka Tungtong) had been to Siem Reap many times over the last decade, and kindly took us around the see the sights of Angkor and the less touristy parts of the Cambodian city.

Here is the collection of sketches I did during the trip.

I have done some rearrangement of the pages for this post to make reading easier. In reality, the commentaries on each of the sketches are written on the reverse side of the page. I have rearranged them so that they are shown together with the sketch to avoid confusion.

I have split the scans into 2 blog posts. This first part covers the first half of the trip where we visited Tonle Sap lake, Chong Kneas fishing village, Kompong Khleang, Bayon temple, and Ta Prohm. The second post will cover the remaining sketches done at Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, and Preah Khan.

Day 1: Singapore to Siem Reap

Our flight from Changi Airport was at 1 pm. Tony came to send us off. We arrived at Siem Reap airport at around 3 pm. The airport is very small, and we had to walk from the plane to the arrival lounge. A car was waiting for us to fetch us to Amigo Villa. The driver's name was Sky. We dropped our things and rested a short while before Tungtong arrived with his bicycle, and took us around the Night Market and Pub Street, then to dinner.

Copyright © Favian Ee  Jan 2014

Copyright © Favian Ee  Jan 2014

Copyright © Favian Ee  Jan 2014

Copyright © Favian Ee  Jan 2014

Copyright © Favian Ee  Jan 2014

Copyright © Favian Ee  Jan 2014

Day 2: Tonle Sap and Siem Reap

We woke up early to catch the sunrise at Tonle Sap lake. Tungtong came in a tuktuk to fetch us and we headed south to Chong Kneas floating village, where we sketched in the middle of a fishing village and fish "supermarket". It was all open air, muddy, and dusty. It is a harsh land, but the children there seemed happy. We had brunch there and headed back towards town in the afternoon for some proper lunch. My camera died, and we tried to find a place to get it fixed or get a new one. Fortunately Parka lent me his camera, which I used for the rest of the trip. We spent the afternoon and evening back in Siem Reap town.

Copyright © Favian Ee  Jan 2014

Copyright © Favian Ee  Jan 2014

Copyright © Favian Ee  Jan 2014

Copyright © Favian Ee  Jan 2014

Copyright © Favian Ee  Jan 2014

Copyright © Favian Ee  Jan 2014

Copyright © Favian Ee  Jan 2014

Copyright © Favian Ee  Jan 2014

Copyright © Favian Ee  Jan 2014

Day 3: Bayon and Ta Prohm

We woke up a bit later and had breakfast at our guesthouse (complimentary) before heading out to Bayon to catch the morning light on the stone faces. We spent the morning there and had lunch at the Big Tree BBQ nearby in Angkor Thom (Bayon is also in Angkor Thom). In the afternoon we headed out to Ta Prohm to sketch the trees eating up the buildings.

Copyright © Favian Ee  Jan 2014

Copyright © Favian Ee  Jan 2014

Copyright © Favian Ee  Jan 2014

Copyright © Favian Ee  Jan 2014

Copyright © Favian Ee  Jan 2014

Continued at Sketchpacking Siem Reap Jan 2014 Sketches (2/2)