I have a new obsession – making books.

It came about as I got sick of the quality (or lack thereof) of the paper in Moleskine watercolour notebooks. I was going away and wanted to do some sketching – I bought a large Moleskine and a couple of smaller ones (as well as some Daler-Rowney hard-cover sketchbooks.)

The Moleskine paper absorbs the pigment too quickly – I like to move the water and colours around, make patterns and experiment with the way the pigment is deposited – tide marks and “cauliflowers.” Its something unique to watercolour and not only is it fun, it can also create some wonderful effects.

But the paper Moleskine has decided to put into their watercolour notebooks just doesn’t stand up to, or facilitate this kind of experimentation. Its a shame, as I really enjoy the format and portability of these notebooks. They are well-designed.

They are OK for gouache or acrylic, but just don’t have what it takes for pure watercolour painting.

So I decided to start pasting  Arches and other cotton rag based watercolour paper into my Moleskines. I also bought cheap ($1.50) hard-cover notebooks from Lincraft and pasted high quality paper into them. Then I rummaged in my storeroom for some watercolours on good paper that I just didn’t like  – bits and bobs of things that didn’t work or that I couldn’t finish. I started cutting and collaging, just sitting in front of the TV with some PVA and a pair of scissors. Ended up with a mess on the floor, but some workable ideas and the impetus to keep going.

Here are some of the things I have been doing.


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