Monday, November 19, 2012

{handmade books} feather studies

As part of my recent quest to learn how to draw, I discovered that I can sketch out a reasonable facsimile of a feather! I was so excited that I decided to stitch together a little book to capture my drawings and some feathery images to inspire me. I used corrugated cardboard from Gauche Alchemy to make the cover. I could have used cardboard from a box that I peeled apart myself, but they don't call this stuff "Ouchless" Cardboard for nothing! It's much easier to start with a 12 X 12 sheet of this sturdy product, and it's acid free so I don't have to worry about  that aspect. I cut the cardboard to 6 x 12, dry brushed it with some pretty aqua paint and a bit of gesso for a distressed patina. A kraft glassine envelope with the top trimmed off creates a pocket for tucking in tags or sketching papers. A lovely image from The Graphics Fairy {via Mary Green of Greenpaper} completes the front cover. I added the "FEATHER STUDIES" text to the original image in picMonkey, using the Special Elite font.

This 6 x 6 book is a simple 3-hole pamphlet stitch book, and is so easy to make!  I used cream Stonehenge {my new go-to paper for handmade books!} for the inner pages, and created another pocket for the inside cover with a kraft glassine envelope, cut at the top with with vintage pinking shears. vintage pinking shears...I love them! I had a pair of plastic craft scissors with a pinked edge, but they didn't feel quite sturdy enough for some of the heavier weight papers I like to use. I decided to keep my eye out for a pair whenever I went on a antiquing jaunt, and I found this pair almost immediately! Funny how that happens so often when you're looking for a particular item. And they were quite inexpensive!

I decided to print out some pretty feathers from The Graphics Fairy, and cut and paste them into the book for reference. The idea is to learn how to draw and color feathers by recreating these images with my own twist. For individual links to the images shown above, be sure to visit my Feather Studies Pinterest board.

Pens, pencils, markers, paint, watercolors, and more will make their appearance in this little book, so I want to document the  materials I use by recording them on the backs of my drawings. In the pockets of the book, I have several blank sheets of paper to draw on, and I simply use washi tape to  hinge them to the original image I'm recreating.

Here's another feather just waiting to be tipped in to the book. My hope is that when the book is filled, my feathers will be as pretty as the originals!

If you're interested in a tutorial for making a 3-hole pamphlet stitch, I used the same method for this travel journal. I used 4-ply waxed linen thread for the Feather Studies book as opposed to ribbon for the travel journal, but the method is the same. The printable tutorial for this book includes a link to a visual diagram that is so helpful! I hope you've enjoyed the promised tour through my handmade book. I'm ready to tackle the colorful feathers next, and I hope practice will make perfect! Do you have an artful skill you're trying to master? I'd love to hear about in the comments!


  1. LOVE the idea of hinging your drawings into your book with Washi tape!!
    Great feather!

  2. Love your Feather Studies! how exciting to make your own journal, while practicing your art! very cool!

  3. Kimberly, This is great! Looking forward to seeing your finished book.

  4. This is gorgeous, I love how this mixes images, colors and textures into something so wonderful!

  5. Lovely and inspiring. Thanks for the great directions.