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

"Since I was a child, I have always loved drawing. As an architect, I was trained to sketch on site in my first year of my studies. I have always considered sketching a wonderful tool in my job to understand things, more in the field of spatial relations than in their material aspect. On the other hand, I have always brought a sketchbook with me in my travels as a much more effective way of keeping a memory than a photograph. But lately my travel sketches tended to be too few and too quick. I have recently found Urban Sketchers, and then discovered the immense joy of sketching outside with no particular task. Reading Usk’s manifesto, I feel especially sensitive with the point of keeping a record of time and place, and I’m changing from sketching just architecture to understand the city as a big scenario for human activity. I live in Málaga, a city in the south of Spain with more than half a million residents and 2,500 years of age; but also the center of a busy and lively metropolitan area, home of an active harbour and a big tourist destination. Now that I have two small children and I do not travel as much as before, I’m trying to show this mixture of old and new in my drawings. It is so rewarding to share my work with so many excellent artists and receive continuous feedback from other members! And, last but not least, to learn from other parts of the world. I'm delighted to join Urban Sketchers." • Luis' art on flickr.

Yow to Make your Very Own Sketchbook

Guest Post by Richard Sheppard in Cloverdale, California
After searching many years for the perfect sketchbook, I finally gave up on the commercial brands and decided to make my own. For weeks I stayed up all night tearing paper, threading needles, poking holes in mat boards, and utilizing all kinds of gadgets, until finally I created the sketchbook I had been searching for. Here are the steps I used to make my favorite sketchbook.
1) Measure out and tear (using the side of a ruler) a full sheet (22" x 30") of Arches watercolor paper into eight, 7.5" x 11" sheets (a full sheet is actually 22.5 inches wide so the individual pieces will be 11.25" long including the deckle edge). Make sure the paper's front side is up (watermark is readable on front side). Repeat until 4 full sheets have been torn into a total of 32, 7.5" x 11" sheets. 2) Organize torn sheets so all the deckled edges are together on the right side. 3) Cut two mat boards 7.75" x 11.75". 4) Wrap 2" wide, book binding cloth tape lengthwise around the left side of each cut mat board, with approximately 1" on top and 1" on the bottom. This will give the binding more support. 5) Sandwich the stack of paper in between the two mat boards with the deckled edges facing away from the taped ends. Take the book to FedEx Office (or any other office supply store that has binding), and have it spiral bound along the taped side. I had FedEx Office spiral bind my sketchbooks, but it's also possible to buy a spiral binding machine. Zutter's Bind-It-all and We R Memory Keeper's The Cinch*** are two products I’ve heard good things about, and both have YouTube video demonstrations. 6) Once your book is bound, use an awl to punch two holes into the back side of the mat board. (It’s a good idea to put a couple of layers of cardboard behind the mat before making the holes so as not to poke a hole through anything else.) Using approximately 21" of elastic, push each end up through the holes, and pull tight until the elastic is snug around the sketchbook. Overlap the two elastic ends, and stitch them together with sturdy thread. 7) Finished!
Richard Sheppard, a member of Urban Sketchers Bay Area, is a freelance illustrator and fine artist based in Cloverdale, California. This process is an excerpt from his book, Impressions of Wine Country. You can see a lot more of his work here on his blog.

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