SKETCHES FROM ANDRE 2

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SKETCHES FROM ANDRE 2

Post by Andre Jute » Tue Jan 29, 2019 7:47 pm

My original SKETCHES FROM ANDRE now runs to 25 pages of 366 substantial posts with 78509 views. High time to start a new one.

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Life is a bad comedy by a celestial scriptwriter with horns
Illustration copyright © by Andre Jute. August 2013
Wing Sung 841 Waterdrop Fountain Pen, J Herbin Ambre de Birmanie Ink, Winsor & Newton 300g paper.
Last edited by Andre Jute on Tue Jan 29, 2019 7:53 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: SKETCHES FROM ANDRE 2

Post by Andre Jute » Tue Jan 29, 2019 7:47 pm

ADVENTURES IN EGG TEMPERA Part 1 of 3 by Andre Jute

I've been meaning for years to make an egg tempera experiment, and now it has happened. Note that not all media that use egg yolk is called egg tempera, though we carelessly do so. What I'm actually doing, using a premade Sennelier egg and drying oil emulsion as a medium together with heavily pigmented W&N Artist's Gouache as pigment, is called tempera grassa, as is buying coloured "egg tempera" premade in tubes from Sennelier, Zecchi in Florence (they sell tempera grassa that dries just like the pre-Renaissance works), and Daler Rowney. The only real egg tempera is made by the artist with fresh egg yolk and powdered pigment every day, messy and tiresome; there's a reason it was until pretty recently a near-obsolete medium. Tempera grassa is an emulsion of egg yolk and drying oil; in true egg tempera there is no oil. Both are thinned with water and cleaned up with water. Both are painted in thin lines to form many layers of hatchworks for smooth glazes. Both are a slow pain in the backside to work with, even for someone who was once a realistic portraitist in oils, and the parameters of permissible mixes are pretty narrow by comparison to working in acrylic (the nearest modern method), as we shall see in a minute. There are some advantages though to mixed media with tempera grassa or egg tempera for those who insist on authenticity, for instance using either as underpainting, because tempera dries so quickly. And, of course, egg tempera doesn't have the crude plastic glare of acrylic.

So, I'm not showing you authentic egg tempera, though the tempera grassa I'm showing you is equally authentic, a lot less tiresome in practice, and if you don't like it, much less wasteful; tempera grassa started to be substituted for egg tempera at the beginning of the Renaissance, so you'll be working in a well established tradition. If you like the method -- some, perhaps many, will like the control over detail in the finished painting with which patience is rewarded -- you can buy a few tubes of premade colours, and if you aren't bored with the medium's demands in a few months or a year, move on to raw egg yolks and powdered pigment from a bottle. Good luck.

***
All you need to start is:
1x small pointy brush (preferably old; you can buy good sable or squirrel brushes when you take up the medium permanently)
1x Ampersand Claybord either 4x4in or 6x6in, certainly no bigger
1x bottle or tube of what Sennelier, Daler Rowney, and Zecchi sell as "egg tempera medium"
1 or more tubes of gouache or watercolour or even well-crushed pastels
1x small jar of distilled water or at least boiled water to use as thinner
1x bottle of tap or boiled water to wash brushes
1x cloth or tissues to wipe your brush on (egg tempera and its kissing cousins are dry brush media)

That's it.

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Here I have all the bits and pieces together in an old wooden case... The multicolour collapsible brushes were not used (they're kept for traditional Japanese woodblock printing, which the Japanese today colour with air brushes) and I have no idea whether egg tempera and its variants will take on the anodised aluminium plate of which you can also see an edge right at the bottom of the stack of surfaces on the right hand side of the case...

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...with the brushes allocated to the project in a brush book of their own. Most of these brushes were surplus from sets bought for other media. Use small sable, squirrel or synthetic brushes of the same type you would use for watercolour. You can use hog bristle, as for oil, as well, but it seems likely that being dipped in water so often will not play well with hog (it certainly doesn't in water-miscible oils, for which I use colour shapers instead).

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Egg tempera the easy way: any highly pigmented water-miscible medium together with tempera grassa medium (on the far right of the tin) available in a tube or bottle from any good art supplies shop. I used Winsor & Newton's Artist's Gouache (which you must select carefully so you don't get a lot of light-sensitive, multi-pigment, bleeding non-artist's designer colours) and Sennelier's Egg Tempera Medium in a tube.

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Here I'm applying a metallic gold undercoat in several layers. The tissue paper (actually my garage roll, because it is strong enough) is for dabbing most of the liquid wet from the brush every time you load it, because egg tempera is a dry-brush medium and you're actually working with paint not much thicker, and in some cases thinner, than you would apply watercolour.

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The brushes and the backgrounds they painted. The double-ended brush is what it looks like, a cosmetic brush, and the varnish brush is a pretty cheap item too. I'm not about to sacrifice a hundred-dollar brush for an experiment! Notice that the pattern I'll be using later is being set in the undercolour. One of the great pleasures of egg tempera is the glow the undercolours lend the end result, much easier than achieving the same thing in oil because what is opaque and transparent is under the artist's control to a much greater extent than in oil, simply by adding more or less water, as long as you don't add too much -- a problem we'll come to.

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Normally I don't bother with underdrawing because oil and even watercolour bless my hand only with serendipitous errors. It is rare for me to have to scrape off a canvas, though the end result may not always be what I intended when I started. But it follows from the advantages of all the under-layers influencing the finished result that egg tempera is not a forgiving medium. So I made an underdrawing with the Platinum Carbon Ink Desk Pen on the righthand side of one of my field kits -- and ruined it when egg tempera particles stuck in the nib. Not expensive but irritating all the same.

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The tools I used. Clockwise from the left: Colourshaper for mixing medium and pigment (gouache), flat synthetic comb to apply hatches relatively quickly, gouaches including gold, distilled water including one bottle with eyedropper (a hard-learned lesson), Sennelier egg tempera medium, triple waterpot, stippler brush, small old sable, cosmetic double brush and applicator (brush worked brilliantly, applicator didn't), the two artworks made on Ampersand Claybords, 4x4in and 6x6in.

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Andre Jute The Lady in the Stone Egg Tempera 2018 6x6in

I can't show you a better photo without spending a couple of days setting up lamps and lenses because all that golden glow underneath lights up these two paintings eerily and confuses electronic cameras terminally. That glow alone was worth the effort.

In the next article I'll show you what went wrong and how I fixed it, and in the third article we'll look into whether egg tempera has a place in a casually multimedia studio like mine or whether it is only for the fully committed specialist.

Copyright © 2019 Andre Jute
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Re: SKETCHES FROM ANDRE 2

Post by Andre Jute » Wed Feb 06, 2019 8:53 am

ADVENTURES IN EGG TEMPERA Part 2 of 3 by Andre Jute

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Andre Jute Still Life Egg Tempera on Claybord 2019 4x4in

This is the other image I made with tempera grassa concocted from "egg tempera media" in a tube from Sennelier with W&N Artist's Gouache for the colour. Nice, isn't it? Hold onto your hat.

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Pity it started powdering off in the shadow behind the apple and on the best gradients on the apple itself as soon as it was dry. This is one of the pitfalls of working with any of the egg media, that the permissible range of mixes are pretty narrow. In this instance it is likely that i used too much water as a thinner or a blender in the shadow. You live and learn. One could probably master the proportions in egg tempera fairly quickly, if you want to give it some practice.

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Here's the toolkit for fixing it from the left clockwise: My tin of W&N Artist's Gouache, tissue for dabbing on the painting, tissue for dabbing the brush dry (egg tempera is basically a dry-brush technique), two bottles of distilled water -- one with a dropper, triple brush washer tub, 4 selected gouache colours, tube of "egg tempera" (tempera grassa!) media, mixing palette, painting being worked on, cheap sable brush size 5 or so, old sable brush size 2, cosmetic brush used for attempted wash and to test dry egg tempera for powderiness, Da Vinci specialist fan comb especially bought for egg tempera. In the centre is a colour shaper used as a mixer, resting on a rolled-up tissue.

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Andre Jute Still Life Egg Tempera on Claybord 2019 4x4in

Fixed. A bit rougher than the first version but I normally expect my paintings to be viewed from 8 or 10 feet, even when they are as small as 4x4in, at which distance this is a fairly smooth shadow. Also, I needed a fairly large showing of hatchwork because the one I made, on the apple, turned into a circular emphasis instead of a visible crosshatch.

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Re: SKETCHES FROM ANDRE 2

Post by Rebecca » Wed Feb 06, 2019 4:35 pm

The treatment is very attractive.
When I was a teenager, I was blown away by an Andrew Wyeth show. Many of his paintings are in egg tempera. I needed to try it. I followed a good reference and made paint with egg yolk and dry pigment. It brushed out nicely and I was pleased. The following day, flies ate my painting. I haven't tried it since. But I do make a medium with egg-oil emulsion. Scrumptious results.
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Re: SKETCHES FROM ANDRE 2

Post by Andre Jute » Wed Feb 06, 2019 11:49 pm

Rebecca wrote:
Wed Feb 06, 2019 4:35 pm
The following day, flies ate my painting. I haven't tried it since. But I do make a medium with egg-oil emulsion. Scrumptious results.
Forgive me laughing; I wouldn't if flies ate my artwork! I agree that the results of the egg yolk and oil emulsion is very attractive. Also rather versatile as you'll see in the final part of the article below. I'm definitely not throwing out my tube of tempera grassa medium from Sennelier: opportunities to use it again will present themselves.

One thing I didn't touch on, because I was just writing about my experiment, not about egg tempera in general, is that such an ancient medium has oddly contrary but obvious modern applications in Daliesque grotesqueries.
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Re: SKETCHES FROM ANDRE 2

Post by Andre Jute » Thu Feb 07, 2019 12:00 am

ADVENTURES IN EGG TEMPERA Part 3 of 3 by Andre Jute

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Andre Jute Phosphor Bog Under Full Moon Egg Tempera & Metallic & Oil Sanguine 5-6mm leads on Black Card, 2019, 6x4in

The blue mixed egg tempera was left over so, as is my practice, depending on how much of what type of paint is left over, I painted it into one of my sketchbooks, in this case an A6 book (approx 6x4in) standing on my desk. The blue covered the entire lower third of the page. I make these books myself with whatever paper is to hand, and this page is mixed-media black card from a Derwent pad, about 200gsm. Besides the tempera grassa, I used 5.6mm metallic leads from Koh-i-noor in a K-i-h leadholder, and an oil sanguine 5.6mm lead from Cretacolor. The painting is thus smudgeproof and waterproof. Note the excellent level of detail available on a page only 4x6in, and how easily the egg tempera takes the other media.

Egg tempera has all the familiar advantages: generally the best availability of ingredients of all media, wonderfully bright colours if you want them, beautifully smooth gradients if you're willing to work at them patiently, greater skin toughness and resistance to yellowing than oils given only that the painter sticks to proven mixes of ingredients, and, as we've seen, an easy fit into multimedia when desired. I think I'll keep the tube of Sennelier's Egg Tempera Medium in my gouache box because it is sure to come in handy from time to time.

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Re: SKETCHES FROM ANDRE 2

Post by Andre Jute » Wed May 29, 2019 12:52 am

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Andre Jute, Green bananas in a redorange glass bowl, Watercolour on 300gsm cotton paper, A5, 2019

My wife pointed out that the redorange glass of the bowl made the green bananas look yellow and ripe. I used french curves for the bananas and the bowl, simply because they were to hand and speeded up the work as I had already decided that I would need permanent pencil lines for the bananas. The slight green still seen on the bananas was done wet-in-wet, and so was the shading in the bowl. The green and magenta paints are from Daniel Smith's Primatek range of ground semiprecious stones, the yellow from Holbein. The brushes were a size 12 Kolinsky sable from Escoda and a 1/2" red sable and synthetic sword from Rosemary. Arches 300gsm cold press cotton paper in an A5 (about 6x8") custom-made sketchbook that is kept on the kitchen dresser.
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Re: SKETCHES FROM ANDRE 2

Post by Rebecca » Fri May 31, 2019 5:17 pm

Andre Jute wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 12:52 am
...My wife pointed out that the redorange glass of the bowl made the green bananas look yellow and ripe...
It's like a crystal ball looking into the banana's future.
The color of the glass filtered away the blue in the banana's green, but allowed its yellow to pass through.
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Re: SKETCHES FROM ANDRE 2

Post by Andre Jute » Sat Jul 27, 2019 10:47 pm

Rebecca wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 5:17 pm
It's like a crystal ball looking into the banana's future.
I wish I said that first, Rebecca.
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Re: SKETCHES FROM ANDRE 2

Post by Andre Jute » Mon Nov 18, 2019 3:13 am

Alitogata talks about making quick custom sketchbooks for her own use, here:
posting.php?mode=reply&f=2&t=2268#pr23403
As happens so often, great minds think alike. I make quick custom sketchbooks by a similar but perhaps more convenient method. So as not to burden her sketch thread with a long screed on making quick sketchbooks, I've put my notes here:

MAKE YOUR OWN SKETCHBOOKS THE QUICK, EASY, ALMOST CHEAP WAY

Here's the sequence:

1. I buy a cheap A4 plastic sleeve book, tear the plastic sleeves out and throw them away, am left with semi-limp black plastic cover, already scored and folded. The size and format I require is cut down from this plastic cover with my guillotine, slightly oversize to protect the edges of the paper. This I'll call the inner cover.

2. I have plenty of leather and canvas slip covers that friends made for me or that I made, and making a new one to size if required is pretty quick. If canvas, it is often a painting, or otherwise something I made up for the purpose in acrylic (so that it doesn't take six months to dry.

3. I cut the paper if necessary; usually I try to buy blocks or books or packs in standard Ax sizes for folding double or quadruple, for instance folding A3 down to A5 without slitting the paper. Buying paper in pads is more expensive than in sheets but less bother to store. Fold and make up signatures by tipping in paper and, if desired, interleaves.

4. The spine of the inner cover of hardish plastic I made in 1 above has a notch cut top and bottom for the entire width of the spine. Over the spine I stretch common office-type elastic bands I buy at stationers, to be retained in the notches. Then into the elastics I slip my signatures of paper. If I want to be fancy, I save the first and last elastics for slipping in coloured card, or card with designs, or whatever, which takes the place of the flyleaf; if I have recently marbled some card, I use that. I try not to make my signatures too thick, the ideal is that every elastic will hold a double page spread.

5. The whole assembly is then slipped into a leather or canvas slipcovercover, retained by the flaps, and if there are flyleaves one half of the flyleaf too is slipped into the flap front and back, just so I'm not looking at bare black plastic when I open the book. The elastics that retain the paper are thus hidden between the spine and the outer leather/canvas. Most of my books also have flat foam in between the now hidden plastic cover and the outer cover of leather or canvas, just to make them more pleasant to handle if I stand for a long time holding the book in my hand.

6. I also punch a couple of holes in the backplane of the black plastic inner cover to which my wife ties a cord the other end of which holds a semiprecious stone as a bookmark, just to add something special to the book.

7. Generally I find that for studio use well-made books do not need an elastic to keep them closed but, since a book carried in a bag or a pocket for plein air sketching or painting does need an elastic, I generally put elastic for closure on all sketchbooks I make up to A4, beyond which they're not likely to be carried by me. For this one makes two slits in the back of the cover and the inner plastic cover about 30-40mm from the outer edge, one near the top edge, one near the bottom edge. The elastic's ends are fed in from the inside, and joined inside the inner plastic cover (to prevent the elastic bowing the book). The elastic should not be very tight.

All of this, once I worked out what I want, goes quicker to do than to describe.

***
8. I've made one book, A6, pocketable, excess weight not wanted, where I glued some tan leather of which I have plenty (from a trashed pair of Swedish settees when I was building geriatric bicycle prototypes and needed the bent wood...), directly to the black plastic cover, but the gluee didn't hold, though it stiffened the leather very usefully, where the elastics are over the stiff cover and the leather both, and show on the outside like your twine.

9. It's easy enough to make a leather or canvas slipcover without tiresome sewing. Cut the pieces oversize on all edges to accept common punch-in eyelets, of the kind sold at Lidl twice a year with the tools to punch the holes and to set the eyelets. The pieces required are a) a long outside cover b) 2x inside flaps, c) one piece inside stiffening which will also hide the foam padding, same height as all the other pieces, but only wide enough when placed on the inside centre of the outer cover to reach say 15mm under the inside edges of the flaps. Assemble and punch the pieces and cut thin flat foam to smaller than the black cover you will use. The foam is covered by the between the outer leather, the flaps and the strengthening piece. You don't need a plethora of eyelets. I have one of these covers in use on an A5 books that is in almost daily use, and it has eyelets through the four corners, one extra in the middle of the front and back edges, four at the top and bottom corners where the inside edges of the flaps overlap the inner vanity cover. The book when assembled on the black plastic inner cover goes over the vanity piece and under the flaps, and is not further restrained.
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Re: SKETCHES FROM ANDRE 2

Post by Alitogata » Mon Nov 18, 2019 4:27 am

Any photos....?

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Re: SKETCHES FROM ANDRE 2

Post by Andre Jute » Mon Nov 18, 2019 7:35 am

Alitogata wrote:
Mon Nov 18, 2019 4:27 am
Any photos....?
Sure. There are always photos. It's just a matter of finding time to make them press-ready.

Here I've set up my travelling table and my materials. The book, which looks like any bought item, is actually homemade in a leather cover John Rocha made:
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Here I am back at home finishing the sketch, and you can see the inside of the book:
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The finished sketch:
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A rustic book of canvas sheets for using al fresco, made suede side out:
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Here I'm testing Sennelier's new alkyd paint Rive Gauche in it. Its insides lie flat:
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More photos of the making of this useful book at: http://coolmainpress.com/andrepaintings ... cover.html
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Re: SKETCHES FROM ANDRE 2

Post by Alitogata » Mon Nov 18, 2019 2:22 pm

Hmm.... I like these leather covers. Where am I going to get one??? 8)

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Re: SKETCHES FROM ANDRE 2

Post by Andre Jute » Tue Nov 19, 2019 6:45 am

Alitogata wrote:
Mon Nov 18, 2019 2:22 pm
Hmm.... I like these leather covers. Where am I going to get one??? 8)
The plain brown leather cover you can't get. But here's a tip: next year in February or March, cruise the department stores and office suppliers for leather covers with outdated replaceable diaries: they sell them off at very good prices between February/March and about June, the price falling all the time.

The rough suede cover of my refillable acrylic book (the yellow one) you can make with any distressed leather you can get, and sew with a matching or contrasting pair of bootlaces, which is what I used. Or a sheet of canvas can be folded so that no cut and fraying edges are exposes and held together with hidden staples or a glued-on inside front cover, which is how I made an A4 slipcover without any sewing or even eyelets.

I have the covers pictured below, too, and recommend them because they come with included good quality sewn hardcover sketchbooks chosen and supervised by an artist. The covers are thick leather and will take a 9x6in book, plenty of space for a hardcover book with real A5 pages and the protective edge of the cover making the book larger than A5. Also super for the generally available 12x16in pads of papers, which with two folds can be fitted to an inside blind cover as I describe above with the complete assembly block inserted in the leather cover.

s-l1600-3.jpg
s-l1600-3.jpg (151.7KiB)Viewed 5808 times

I bought both colors. Other A5 refillable covers by the same designer are here: http://www.ebaystores.co.uk/The-Diary-S ... 34.c0.m322

The design carries on around the spine.
s-l1600-2.jpg
s-l1600-2.jpg (147.23KiB)Viewed 5808 times

The insert books will repay some consideration. Basically, what he offers is a choice of four bound books, A5 real paper size, bigger with cover overhang, hard cover (actually semi-limp in standard cheap Indian style), around 60pp with marbled flyleaves, well enough bound to survive rough handling on my bike. Replacement insert books were £8.50 the last time I looked, which would be a bargain, considering the quality of the paper, if you're awake when you specify the paper you want. The covers are heavy leather that stay closed without a tie or elastic. It may be smart to fit 4 metal corners to the leather cover.

Basically he offers four types of paper:
1. Lined, which you can dismiss immediately.
2. 100% cotton for drawing, not suitable for wet media -- which you can dismiss immediately. This appears to be because Paul-Francis Law, who makes these books, is a dry-media sketcher. (I have this one in a drawer for an emergency because it arrived as a default in the cover with the version -- 4 below -- I asked for instead also included in the overall parcel.)
3. A good hefty smooth cartridge paper, around 180-200gsm, probably also cotton, good with dry media, also suitable for wet media. I have this one and it is precisely as described.
4. Another 100% cotton, hard sized for wet media, cold press one side, nearly smooth (not quite hot press) the other, about 180gsm, not for watercolour novices but for me a fabulous paper, usable both sides even at this weight. I have this one as well, but, this is important, he doesn't list it: you must ask for it specifically.

I keep the two insert books I have in use, the cartridge and the wet-media cotton, respectively 3 and 4 above, in my two covers. The insert books don't fit standard A5 slip covers because they're just that fraction too big and too thick. I bought the covers under the assumption that the included sketchbooks would be the usual Indian rubbish, to be chucked out and replaced by my own custom books, and was very much surprised at how well the paper performs. I might even when the supplied sketchbooks are full order more rather than roll my own or order a Strathmore hardcover 500 series book for 250% the price!

i suggest these to you first because with the included sketchbooks they are very good value.

A simpler, plain leather A5 cover is at https://www.ebay.co.uk/str/TI-Leather-G ... 4312953017 but empty would cost near enough the same as a beautifully embossed cover with a useful sketchbook inside from Paul-Francis.

I were you I'd avoid the Aspinall covers also on the net, because they're embossed with other people's initials and are in thin leather that will wear out in a hurry. In addition, a Midori A5 cover I bought in China looks more plastic than quality leather should, and some of those are made from leather-look microfibre, so I'd avoid those as well.
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Re: SKETCHES FROM ANDRE 2

Post by Alitogata » Wed Nov 20, 2019 2:24 pm

They are not so expensive for the quality of the leather and the decoration. These leather covers might be useful in case I want to avoid completely to make covers for my sketchbooks. I mean to decorate them by covering the cardboards of the sketchbooks with something like fabric, or plastic etc.
I can just cut and assemble the cardboard of the covers and then insert them into these leather covers... which in time and with the use will look even better.

I have wondered many times why the companies that manufacture and offer sketchbooks with leather covers, don't make them refillable. Leather as a material, with the appropriate care of course, can last for ever and it is at the very end, more environmental friendly that plastic or fabric that deteriorate over time and end up in the bins.

Generally speaking I'm very frugal on the things that I buy and I prefer to repurpose all sort of items or materials. Mostly for the challenge to figure out how to repurpose them. :D

There is not a single thing in my home that it isn't "old". I have for instance a 26 y.o pair of boots. They were quite expensive when I bought them but they justified their cost with their longevity. Wherever I wear them I'm asked about where I got them.

I modified also my mom's leather handbags, old clothes etc as these garments and accessories were made with better materials than those that are now available in the stores.

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