I rummaged around in a bag of discarded book covers that a friend gave me, and picked two covers that seemed durable and possibly waterproof as well. After trimming the boards to a size that would fit in my backpack, I wrapped one edge of each board with decorative paper, tore and folded a couple large pieces of Stonehenge printmaking paper for inside pages, stenciled some of the pages with black gesso, and set about binding the book as a Coptic with paired needles (pp. 181-183, Making Handmade Books). I used a different color thread for each needle and tied the paired ends together inside the first signature.
I have found that traveling light and limiting my supplies helps. Here is what I pack for a plane trip:
- Faber-Castell Artist Brush Pens, variety of colors (waterproof and lightfast). These are brush markers.
- Pencil and white plastic eraser
- Pigma Micron Pen Black, .05, .005 (permanent ink). These are pigmented fine tip markers.
- Avery Permanent Glue Stic, 0.26 Oz, Clear (acid-free, photo-safe). The best glue stick that holds for any length of time.
- Handmade journal with hard covers and thick paper: printmaking papers such as Stonehenge or Lenox printmaking paper (250 gm/sq.m) that will hold collage as well the pen drawings.
- A small rounded-end scissors or a hole punch (optional)
- Some waxed linen thread wrapped around a small piece of cardboard (optional)
Since I was driving to L.A., woohoo! I could also bring my sharp and pointy tools and other favorite media. I carry the sharps stuck into a wine cork. All my tools fit into a Medium Art Bin. Additional tools:
- Rotring Rapidograph 0.35mm Technical Drawing Pen and spare Rotring Rapidograph Ink Capillary Cartridges, Black
- Book Binder's Needle
- Books by Hand Light Duty Awl
- X-ACTO #1 Knife with Cap and spare blades (and small Cutting Mat Size - 12L x 8.5W inches—this won't fit in the box)
- Bone Folder
- Caran D'Ache Supracolor Watersoluble Pencils and Niji Waterbrush- Medium Round 12mm pen or tiny travel watercolor set & brush
- Sakura Gelly Roll Pens
- 10mm Corner Rounder, Large
- small metal ruler or triangle to use as a guide when cutting
Some thoughts came up way back in March, when I visited NYC (posts of some of the pages here):
- Take your time. Use one page for each event such as museum visit, hike, dream, or dining experience. Don't try to cram a whole day into a page. The book you've brought probably has plenty of pages that you won't be able to fill, anyway.
- Think about and try out three kinds of lettering styles; use one for titling, one for emphasis, and one for the events of the day.
- Cut or tear out parts of printed ephemera such as paper bags and take-out menus and use a few interesting pieces instead of trying to use everything.
There are many artist/writers who are very good about keeping and making lovely travel journals. Two artists I admire in this department are Judith Serebrin, who makes illuminated journals with small paintings and calligraphy, and Andie Thrams, who makes painted nature journals.