This past summer, I decided I wanted to make my own sketchbooks. I was tired of standing in the art store for 30 minutes touching every single book and still not being satisfied with my purchase. There are so many components of a sketchbook that I have strong preferences for (size, paper weight, paper color, number of pages, cover color, type of binding, and more). For this reason, it is nearly impossible to find a manufactured sketchbook that caters to all of my tastes without dropping $50 on something I'll need to replace in two months anyway.
After looking into some binding techniques, I decided on side-stitching. I chose colors for the covers because I was tired of that typical black Moleskine. The pages are off-white, smooth, and thick enough to allow some Copic rendering without ruining the subsequent page. The covers are hard so that I can draw without a table when needed. I put 50 sheets (100 pages) making it about 3/4" thick, so that I could use it for a substantial amount of time.
I ended up making a total of 3 large sketchbooks and one pocket book to use for new French words while staying in France during the month of July.
Though the side-stitching didn't work out quite like it was supposed to (cause pages to fold over on a 1/2" bind), I love how you could see the colored thread while working.
I recently finished the last of the original three big books, so it was time to make a new one! I wanted to try to get the fold work better this time. It's also soft-cover and with fewer pages to give it a lighter weight. The folding over was successful but could be even better. I'll work on the technique for my next one!
Overall, I really enjoy book binding. It's fun to choose all of the components each time, and I've saved so much money! For reference, an 8.5x12" Moleskine with 96 pages is $22, while one of my 8.5x11" books cost me about $6. Therefore, I can get almost 3 sketchbooks that I like for the price of 1 sketchbook I kind of like. I don't think I'll be buying another manufactured sketchbook anytime soon.