Printing And Bookbinding – A Perfect Pair

Handmade Everyday Journals @ Inktorrents.com by Soma

 

Hello Everyone! I hope this post finds you in good health and spirits.  My email is working reliably again, which is a relief.  During the unexpected break that I had to take,  I  worked steadily on my play-list.  Today I would love to share a few tips along with a couple of prints and journals I made during the break.

 

 

Handmade Everyday Journals with Fairy Lanterns Lino Print @ Inktorrents.com by Soma

 

 

A few weeks ago, my husband got me a few wonderful carving tools so I could do detail work.  After making a quick and small sample piece to learn the tools, I started on a larger carving.

 

 

 

Lino Print Tool Reshaping @ Inktorrents.com by Soma

 

 

That was when I realised that one of my old tools had gone dull beyond sharpening and also got notched.   That’s because I didn’t purchase the sharpening supplies in time.  Instead of throwing it away, I decided to recreate the edge of the tool.  I started grinding the tip of the tool down using our large knife sharpening stone.  Once that was done, I started reshaping the tool.

I had never done this before, so of course I mucked up a few times and had to restart from the grinding-down step.  Finally I found the right angle, and it clicked.  It was a long process.  I wish I had taken a few “before” photos.  Now the tool is good as new again.

 

Lesson learned for me and a tip for you – if you get into carving, get the sharpening tools along with your carving tools, at least a strop and a good compound.  If you use the strop regularly, your tools will stay sharp for a very long time.

 

 

 

Handmade Everyday Journals with Fairy Lanterns Lino Print @ Inktorrents.com by Soma

 

 

After reshaping the tool, I got to carving.  Because lino blocks are completely grey, it is sometimes hard to see the already carved lines.  I applied a layer of ink to the surface of the lino block before drawing or transferring the design.  On the above photo, I could easily tell what the carved block looked like due to the black ink I applied to the surface beforehand.

 

Carving Pro Tip – Apply ink to the surface of the lino block before carving.  That way you can see the carved lines much easier and avoid mistakes.

 

 

 

Handmade Everyday Journals with Fairy Lanterns Northern California Wildflowers Lino Print @ Inktorrents.com by Soma

 

 

I forgot to take photos during the printing process.  I often get carried away, and only remember after I have finished printing.  With this one, I tested different kinds of paper.

 

 

 

Lino print on Japanese rice paper @ Inktorrents.com by Soma

 

 

I was also curious to see what prints would look like on Japanese rice paper.  So,  I pulled a couple of prints on that too.

 

 

Please click on the image thumbnails to see the photos –

 

 

 

While I like the crisp prints I get on the heavy paper, I fell in love with the prints on the rice paper.  The texture of the paper gives the print a beautiful organic look.  I love the way the blue looks on it.

 

 

 

 

Handmade Everyday Journals with Sailing After The Storm Lino Print @ Inktorrents.com by Soma

 

 

I also printed an old block that I had carved a while back.  I went the traditional route of black and white print for this one and could not be happier.

 

 

 

Handmade Everyday Journals @ Inktorrents.com by Soma

 

 

 

These prints made perfect covers for the Everyday Journals I started making.  I use them for note taking and light sketching.    It took a few trials before I got the binding and the look just the way I wanted it.  

Please click on the image thumbnails to see the detail photos –

 

 

Purchase Journals

 

I am smitten by the little Fairy Lantern wildflowers that dot the spring landscape here in northern California and the little fluttering butterflies that hover around them.  Now I get to see this print of the flowers every time I use my journal.

 

 

A little about the books –

 

Please click on the image thumbnails to see the photos –

 

 

 

As you know, I am really persnickety about paper.   I use high quality paper which is great for pencil, pen, and ink, as well as being very well suited for my fountain pens.

The pages have a subtle printed dot grid.  That way they are not intrusive, and I can use the journals for both drawing and writing.

Unlike other books on the market, these are NOT stapled. They are hand stitched using strong thread and have a reinforced spine for stability. 

The stitches are also not visible on the spine. They are hidden using my special method of binding.

My logo is on the back for authenticity.

 

 

Please click on the image thumbnails to see the photos –

 

 

Purchase Journals

 

I also made a set of  Sailing After The Storm Everyday Journals.  Visiting a marina and watching the sailboats always fills me with childlike happiness.  I am glad that this print is now a  journal cover too.

 

 

At 5.5″ x 7.5″,  these journals are the perfect size to carry around everywhere.   I use them for all kinds of notes such as gardening, travel, nature, or anything else. Specially with the dot grid printed pages, I can even use them for bullet journaling and calendar planning.

The journals are now available in my shopAs usual, you get the exact journals that I make for myself.   This way, I can share the joy of using traditionally-made journals filled with wonderful paper with you.  

 

A NOTE – I love writing code ( software engineer by trade ).   During the break, I added “My Account” and “Wishlist” to the shop.  You can now create an account to keep track of all of your orders and save items to your wishlist.

 

 

Handmade Everyday Journals @ Inktorrents.com by Soma

 

 

Many thanks to all of you who not only purchased journals from my shop, but also wrote back with happy words about how much you love the handmade journals.  You encouraged me to move forward and continue to create.

These are the first two journals I made, both of which are already in use by myself and my husband.  I hope you like the journals as much as I do and that you can use the carving tips I shared.  Let me know which colour and/or print is your favourite.   What would you use an Everyday Journal for?

Until next time,
-Soma

 

I am linking up with the linky parties on my Events And Links page.  Please pay a visit to some of them.

 

 

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Polar bear watercolour painting @ InkTorrents.com by Soma

Onward

Polar Bear Svalbard watercolour painting @ Inktorrents.com by Soma

 

Hi Everyone!   Not being able to go outside much during March through October, my atelier becomes my playground.  Recent days have shown me that I feel most comfortable in uncharted waters, creating new things.  I have been experimenting and working my way forward. The Girl and Her Cat are also making their way through The North to the harbour for their journey onward.

 

 

Hand binding my sketchbooks

 

 

Hand bound sketchbook @ Inktorrents.com by Soma

 

 

One of the recent finishes was me rebinding six of my sketchbooks.   I don’t care for ring-bound or vinyl-covered books.   Since I am a book binder, I got to work.

 

 

 

Hand bound sketchbook @ Inktorrents.com by Soma

 

 

You know my weakness toward this moss-green colour.   That sketchbook is still mostly new, but the blue-grey one is completely full.

 

 

 

Hand bound sketchbook @ Inktorrents.com by Soma

 

 

It has my sketches, notes, and  paint recipes, just to name a few.  Some of the drawings, like this one of my beloved kitty, are very personal to me.

 

 

 

Hand bound sketchbook @ Inktorrents.com by Soma

 

 

I absolutely LOVE these two colours.   A lot of my paintings have a mix of them, often as backgrounds.   The green sketchbook is new, the blue is a playground.

 

 

 

Hand bound sketchbook @ Inktorrents.com by Soma

 

 

I try out new colours and techniques in the blue one.  Seeing this painting reminds me of that wonderful December evening when I was painting it surrounded by my loved ones.  

 

 

 

Hand bound sketchbook @ Inktorrents.com by Soma

 

 

The original book came with a vinyl cover, which is not my favourite.  It was also really hard to keep flat, making it difficult to draw or paint in it.  The book was from a well-known company,  but I was disappointed with the binding.

I started systematically disassembling the book with a pair of scissors and a knife.   I find cloth-bound books to be very special.  I bound this one with black cloth.

 

 

 

Hand bound sketchbook @ Inktorrents.com by Soma

 

 

I took all the original stitches out and restitched the book. It stays completely flat now, while I draw or paint in it.  My dear husband also loved the newly bound book.  As the original book was a gift from him, it was good to see that smile on his face.  I did talk to him before ripping the book apart!

 

 

 

Hand bound sketchbook @ Inktorrents.com by Soma

 

 

At 9in x 12in, this is the largest book I have bound until today.   Fabric used for book covers is specially lined.  I made this book cloth at home using one of my favourite  fabrics.  I am actually looking forward to making more custom ones.

Pocket-sized cloth-bound books made by me are available in my shop

 

 

 

Hand bound sketchbook @ Inktorrents.com by Soma

 

 

I use this sketchook for architecture drawings.   I thought a book cover with clocks would be perfect, as stories often live on though architecture, making them timeless.  This is a drawing that I couldn’t bring myself to touch for a while, but I think it’s time to continue the journey of this painting again.

 

 

My sketchbooks have been there for me through the happiest and saddest of my days.  So, it’s no wonder that I want to wrap my ink-and-paper friends in lovely covers.  My sketchbooks always seem to take me where I need to go instead of where I want to go.  That is how The Girl and Her Cat came into my life.

 

 

Distant Pages

 

The two of them are now collecting a few more stories from the distant and enigmatic lands of The North before they head off on a new adventure.  This particular blue book is one of my big favourites.  I mixed mythology and my own travels to create brand-new stories.

 

Please click on the image thumbnails to see the pictures and read about their wanderings –

 

 

 

Angel of The Night

 

 

Hel the angel of the night watercolour painting @ Inktorrents.com by Soma

 

 

I was inspired to paint her from the story of mythological Hel.  However, I always love a little twist.  The Girl and Her Cat met this much-misunderstood gentle angel.  They also learned that she is the one who sets the souls as stars in the sky.  That way no one is ever truly forgotten.

 

The Benevolent One

 

 

 

 

This mighty dragon likes to help lost seamen.  I think most dragons are quite benevolent.   Not at all how the books describe them.  How about you? 

 

 

The Solitary Sentinel

 

 

Polar Bear Svalbard watercolour painting @ Inktorrents.com by Soma

 

 

Of all the paintings in this book, this one best embodies my short time in Svalbard.  I love how they are amicably curious and not threatened by each others’ presence.

I love to travel to new places and experience the diversity of our planet.

In the words of Lord Byron –


There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep Sea, and music in its roar;
I love not Man the less, but Nature more.

 

 

A Page with all the paintings from the Distant Pages book

 

 

Until next time,
-Soma

 

 

I am linking up with the linky parties on my Events And Links page.  Please pay a visit to some of them.

 

 

 

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