Making My Tiny Sketchbook!

I’ve been fretting and worrying about what I was going to do with my submission for the Tiny Sketchbook Project from Brooklyn Art Library for such a long time now. I’ve done a “big” sketchbook with them before, and am working on my second with them right now. But I wanted to take a break and do a quick little sketchbook with them for their new project as well, and found myself getting completely caught in my head.

I’m not sure if it was because the sketchbook itself was so small (around 2.5×1 inches!) but I would do one page and think it was…. alright. Then I’d freak out thinking about if the book was going to be cohesive, and did I want to keep this theme for the whole thing?, and are my supplies gonna bleed through?, etc.

I forgot to take a picture of the sketchbook before I started working on it, so here’s a “before” picture courtesy of @alissamarquess on Instagram!

I’m not sure what flipped my switch, but last night I said “screw it”, and sat down absolutely DETERMINED to make this book. I couldn’t stand having this thing sitting at the bottom of my bag anymore, taunting me and making me feel worse and worse for not being able to tackle something for physically small.  My art fears were starting to really eat away at me, until I finally said enough.

The cover of my book, made with pages from an old bird watchers guide and Washi tape

I put on a Netflix show to play in the background, and just got to work. I found that it actually really helped having my attention split between watching TV and working so that I couldn’t obsess on if everything was turning out perfectly or not. I hadn’t realized this before, but I actually have my best art sessions when I have a podcast, documentary or show playing in the background for me to occasionally glance over at. It’s an easy source to pull inspiration from if you hit a wall, and distracts you just enough to quiet the worry that whatever you’re making won’t turn out “perfect”.

I also felt that limiting my color palette and imagery to a specific selection helped too, because there were less possibilities for me to want to try out. I stuck to birds, maps of the world, and this repeated image of a man in a suit from a 1960s children’s book I found.

The full spread of my completed sketchbook!

This was also my first time creating an accordion-fold book! I will admit that my craftsmanship on this is… not perfect. But hey, it opens, it closes, and that’s all I really needed from it. Making an accordion-fold book is super fun because it allows you to experiment with a two-fold composition. What that means is, you get to think and plan around what the image is going to look like when it’s completed open, and what it’s going to look like if a person flips through it like a normal book. This was a fun challenge to play around with for me, and I’m really happy with how this all turned out.

All in all, even after all the worry I had about making this book, the actual creation process was really quick, easy, and super fun. I was surprised by how little materials I actually used as well! All in all, to fill this sketchbook I used:

If you have trouble finding good materials to use for collaging in stores near you, Etsy has a pretty cool selection of vintage magazines, periodicals, and newspapers!

Making this sketchbook has really inspired my to keep trying my hand at collage and seeing what I can create. I got a fresh hardcover sketchbook to start playing around with ideas and compositions, and hopefully if I make some progress I may look into getting some prints made to sell!

Some of my favorite collage artists currently:

Michelle Yee – The first artist I fell in love with from her work with The Sketchbook Project. I love looking at her books and was lucky enough to meet her a month or so ago. Beautiful and talented woman, so go check her out!

The Jealous Curator – Basically the embodiment of everything I want to be. Not only is she an amazing collage artist, she has built a platform based around highlighting artists big and small that she is inspired and in awe of. 

Kate Castelli – A printmaker and collage artist based in my hometown of Boston. She does amazing work with patten and color that was hugely inspiring to me, especially with this latest book. I have to constantly restrain myself from DMing her and spending my entire bank account on getting every single on of her prints and wallpapering my entire apartment with them.

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2 thoughts on “Making My Tiny Sketchbook!

    1. The library is full of full sized sketchbooks for people to browse, the tiny sketchbook project is a brand new project of theirs. You can look at some of the books online at

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