Toad Hollow Studio's Drawing Tutorials And Classes by Carol Rosinski

Make A Simple Sketchbook

I use my sketchbooks as visual journals and keep several themed books going at the same time. Here are a few of my favorite themes:

  • Visual notes about the wild flowers I find.
  • Keeping track of my garden.
  • Quick studies of the birds at my feeders.
  • Following a single plant or type of plant from sprout to seed.

I make my own sketchbooks so I can have the size and number of pages I want. I prefer to make them out of Arches hot press watercolor. It's tough paper that can take a lot shuffling, dropping, hatching, and erasing, and it has a good tooth for graphite drawing too.

Here's how I make them:

Fold Paper

  • Fold a few sheets of paper in half.
  • You may want to use a different kind or color of paper for the cover.
make a sketchbook fold paper

Punch Holes

  • Punch six holes along the creases one sheet at a time.

    Mark the holes with a pencil on the first sheet.

    Punch through the marks with a needle. (You'll be going through most of them twice so make the holes large.)

    Use the holes as a template to mark the other sheets so the holes will line up.

  • After the holes are punched, stack the sheets together and begin stitching them.


1. Starting on the outside, go into the third hole from the bottom.

2. Come around the back and out the next hole down.

3. Then come back around the front and down through the end hole.

4. Go around the back again and out through the second hole from the bottom.

5. Then around the front and back through the hole you stated in.

Don't panic if this goes horribly wrong! You can always pull the thread out and start over again. :)

make a sketchbook stitching one
make a sketchbook stitching two
  • Continue stitching in and out until you come out of the third hole from the top as you see in the picture to the right.
  • Whew! If everything went as it should, you'll have two ends of string on the outside of the sketchbook that you can tie into a bow.
  • And you're done!
  • Now, go sketch something. :)
make a sketchbook finished


Drawing Paper

I like to use Canson Arches hotpress watercolor paper for sturdy sketchbooks, and Canson Classic Cream drawing paper for lightweight books.


Thin cotton crochet string works well and it comes in pretty colors.


Use a thick upholstery needle.

Carol Rosinski
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Toad Hollow Studio - Teaching how to draw since 1999