The rules are fairly simple. You can create whatever you want within the cover of the journal you receive. You can add pages, subtract pages, alter the pages, use different paper, etc. At the end, the journal must be held within the original, tagged cover and must have the same dimensions (height and length) as the original. Because I wanted to use watercolors and some bold inks, I choose to create on heavier, watercolor paper instead of the thin paper that was in the original journal. I THOUGHT that it would be an easy task to just create my pages and then staple them back into the cover.
Not so much. It turns out (and I discovered this just a day before it needed to be postmarked!) that a stapler that will reach to the center of the journal spread is apparently impossible to come by. After much thought (well, as much thought as can be thunk in a panicky 24 hour period), I decided to sew the pages in.
Now, anyone who knows me will be having a good chuckle right now. (Suffice it to say that one time, while attempting to hem a pair of pants, I managed to cut a hole straight through the thigh... yes, that's right, the thigh!) As far as the sketchbook goes, though, I ended up getting the pages attached to the cover (perhaps a little overzealously) and mailed it off.
All of this got me realizing, however, that maybe I need to start now in preparation for Sketchbook Project 2013. More importantly, I would really like to have the flexibility to create my own journals with hand-picked papers and varying numbers of pages for other projects as well.
It's taken me several months, but I'm now on my way. I found a great book by Alisa Golden called Expressive Handmade Books and have started with the simplest project, a basic accordion-style book:
After following some simple folding instructions to create the folds, I crafted covers out of covered cardboard and voila! my first handmade book.
I recognize that this is pretty rudimentary, but I'm looking forward to finding more styles to play with. Given that I'm a visual learner, I will no doubt also scour YouTube for some great instructional demos. If anyone has any suggestions, I'd love to hear them!