Autumn of 2009: Postcard Sketch Binders Substitute for Moleskine
I found a perfect solution to the Moleskine watercolor dilemma. As you may know, I was frustrated with their horizontal format and switched to Handbook sketch journals, but the Handbook paper tends to feather the ink lines. Then I discovered a slim postcard binder which will hold 24 postcards on facing pages in clear sleeves. It is more slim that a Moleskine and the postcard format (100 x 148 mm or 3 15/16 x 5 13/16 inches) gives a little more drawing surface while easily fitting in the hip pocket. Now I had the freedom to choose from an amazing variety of sketch postcards which are available in Japan thanks to a long running postcard sketch boom. I could also cut sheets of A4 paper into quarters.
The binder was plastic (comes in a choice of black, red, blue or green) and just not as classy as a Moleskine. But fortunately, the postcard format is also A6 format (basically 4 x 6 inches). A6 is a standard paperback book size in Japan which means I has access to a wide selection of book covers as well.
Japanese do not want other people to know what they are reading on the crowded trains, so there is a big demand for nice cloth or leather book covers. I found a nice traditional Japanese cloth book cover decorated with brushed drawings which provides a little inspiration. Now everyone assumes I'm reading a paperback book on the train when I'm actually sketching them.
I started using postcards for both my sketches of subway passengers and my scenes when I wander around Tokyo. And I keep them all with me in my pocket wherever I go so I can show people who are interested (well, I keep the failed sketches at home, which means I'm more willing to take a risk and experiment!)
Like most of my recent sketches, are all drawn in Platinum Carbon ink with a Kuretake brush pen ink and then colored with watercolors.
Postcard Subway Sketches
Here are a few of my recent postcard sketches on the subway as they appear in my new binder:
I drew the man on the right page some time after I drew the girl. He wasn't a giant holding a tiny passenger captive.
Here are some postcard size sketches done on location around Tokyo. Some of them may be available for sale on my Art Work for Sale page: