Meet the Correspondent: Omar Jaramillo > Berlin$show=/search/label/Omar%20Jaramillo

"I was born in Guayaquil, Ecuador, where I studied architecture. I moved to Kassel (Germany) in 1999 to accomplish a master degree. Although I have always drawn and paint, it was not until I started studying in the Uni-Kassel, that I started keeping a travel sketchbook. I had a teacher there who used to do a lot of sketches when he travelled on university excursions. When he retired, I helped to organize an exhibition of his sketches. He brought a huge box full of sketchbooks he had filled since he was an architecture student. I spent a whole day selecting the most interesting drawings. It was a wonderful experience that opened my eyes to a new world. In the last 10 years I have the feeling of being in a long journey. I like to discover the cities where I live, to understand why a place is the way it is and what makes it different and unique from others. Drawing is for me a way to learn to love a place, to become part of it. I like to draw architecture but I am more attracted to urban scenery, portraying how people live in the city. Since I’m a foreigner, everything that locals find normal and taken-for-granted, for me is exotic. I always carry a small watercolor travel set from Windsor and Newton and my sketchbook in my bag. I always thought that drawing was a solitary experience until I found Urban Sketchers. It was amazing to find so many people doing the same thing. It is a great place to share!" • Omar's blog. • Omar's art on flickr. • Omar's website.

Meet the Correspondent: Luis Ruiz > Malaga, Spain$show=/search/label/Luis%20Ruiz

Japanese Sketchbook Binding

I've been trying for ages to find time to make some watercolour sketchbooks. I did a trial run with regular cartridge paper yonks ago and that worked out brilliantly so, with a whole day to myself last weekend, I cut enough paper for 3 new books.

I have been collecting scraps of fabric - these are made from a shirt from Oxfam, some felt from my workshops bag and a top I don't wear: 

The joy of the Japanese binding system is that there is no paper folding and the sewing part is much simpler and quicker. I learned how to do in on YouTube of course. There are several videos, but this and this proved the most informative and easy to follow.

I thought the plain books were a little understated for me, so I ferreted around and found some funky paper for the endpapers. The swirly one is just regular gift-wrap which, to be honest, was a bit thin so I won't do that again, but the stripy stuff is cut from a wine gift-bag, nice and thick - ideal.

I let the glue dry overnight (under several heavy books) and then got very excited when it was finally time to drill the holes and do the actual sewing.

The disadvantage to Japanese binding, for a sketchbook, is that you can't really do drawings which span the gutter, because the book doesn't open as flat as a conventional binding. That's why I have made them landscape format - for me it makes it easier to resist the need to sketch across the gutter.



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