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How and Why you should make an accordion/Japanese fold Sketchbook
Have you heard that you should sketch everyday? Well, you should. Making art everyday vastly increases your artistic skill and boosts your creativity. I created this tutorial because I love accordion/Japanese fold sketchbooks and because I want too help you develop your art skills.
These journals make me so happy and are extremely useful.
Sometimes we can always get in a rut, get bored, uninspired. Sometimes we don’t see the improvement we want and lose hope.
Don’t lose hope!
Hope keeps us alive and gives us joy and a drive to move up and forward. Creating an accordion sketchbook also known as a Japanese Fold Sketchbook can give you the creative boost you need. It’s also fun.
Sometimes, we just need to try something new!
I love that word. New mornings, new begging, new cups of coffee! (I just poured one)
Starting a new project can invigorate and inspire you. Making an accordion/Japanese fold sketchbook is perfect for those who want to see their progress, track their progression.
It can have other uses, and I’ll mention those as we go.
However, I want to focus and the beautiful aspect of being able to see in one place your daily growth. It’s fun, practical, and can show you just how much you are actually improving your art. It’s great for story telling, and I think everyone should try it, at least once.
What is an accordion/Japanese fold book
I hope the photo helped describe it. It’s a continuous sheets of paper that open up like an accordion. It can be made from a single sheet, or multiple sheets of paper. You can buy them pre-made, such as the one in this photo, or make them yourself.
Accordion/Japanese sketchbooks vary in size, shape, and how people use them.
How to use an accordion sketchbook/Japanese Fold Sketchbook to improve your art
Using your accordion Japanese fold sketchbook is simple and yet beautiful.
I like simple things. Simply, start a drawing on the first page. Perhaps there is something you avidly want to improve, such as faces, hands, or landscapes. Everyday make a drawing. It can be a theme, or not. It’s your art. The goal is to always improve and find joy in your art.
Perhaps you’re struggling finding your voice or style, or purpose.
Everyday, complete a drawing in your accordion book. You can even go out to a location and sketch a different part of it. Just fill it.
You can also make art on the back side.
Once completed. You’ll have the satisfying joy of opening it up and seeing your journey. You can see how you started in the first day and how you ended on the last page.
If you have the energy and drive, you can give yourself a real challenge and fill it in one day.
It’s really something special to see all your drawing open up in a single page. It can really open your eyes.
In normal sketchbooks, sometimes you go in order, sometimes you page jump, skip pages and so on. The beauty of an accordion book is its ability to keep your art in consecutive order. It’s also fun to go to and stretch out and admire.
Making art should be fun. We can focus so much on improving that our art almost becomes a chore or a burden and we lose our initial enthusiasm. Don’t ever be afraid to try something new.
Accordion book as a story teller
This is another fun use for an accordion book. You can tell a story, each page overlapping into the next. Letting pictures, and if you want words, flow like a stream.
You can combine so many different story telling art forms. It can be a little like a comic book, a little like a sketch book, a whole lot of awesome.
An accordion sketchbooks are really handy when your traveling. They’re lightweight and easy to pack, making them convenient to bring on planes, carry around town, and put into your bags.
It’s also really fun to see all your travel sketches unfold before you. You can open up your accordion sketchbook and look at your travels as they happened.
How to make an accordion sketchbook/Japanese sketchbook
There’s a couple different ways to make accordion books. They are very easy to make and you don’t need any special tools.
- Paper (I use Canson Watercolor or Canson Mixed Media paper)
- Bone folder ( I got mine from this lovely Bookbinding kit and it uses a plastic Bone folder in place of real bone.)
- Cardboard for cover or thick paper
- Decorative paper or fabric for cover
- Double sided tape
Single Strip Accordion Book
To make my accordion sketchbook I used a page from my mixed media paper pad.
You can also head down to your local art supply store. There you can be large, single sheets of paper. Choose the paper you would like. I usually choose hot press watercolor paper. I like to use a variety of mediums, and I need something that will hold up.
1.) Choose the width and height you want your pages to be.
2.) I cute my page in half. I you are using a larger piece of paper you may cut it in thirds.
3.) Begin to fold. If you have a bone folder this will come in handy. I recommend buying one if you plan on folding a lot of paper. You can get a decent one for a really affordable price. If you don’t want to use actual bone, which I understand it can be kinda weird. You can order one made from plastic.
Once folded you can now make a cover. I always like to make coves. It makes it a little more special.
How to Make your accordion book longer
There are a couple of ways to make your accordion sketchbook bigger.
Some people cut their paper in this, but keep it all attached. You can see this illustrated in the photo below.
I don’t normally do it that way. I like my sketchbooks to be super easy to use and unfold while I’m on the go.
So, to make mine longer I simply glue another strip to the first one. You can see in the photo below how I did it.
You can make your accordion sketchbook as long as you want.
Bringing your accordion sketchbook with you
Accordion sketchbooks work really well on the go. I usually keep mine tied with a piece of ribbon or other string. This helps keep it closed and protected from things in my bag.
Now, all you need is a pencil or other art supplies and you’re ready to create wherever you go.
If you found this tutorial helpful please buy me a coffee and help support this blog.
I’d love to see your artwork. Feel free to share your art with me in my Facebook group. You can also ask questions and be part of the community.
If you love art tutorials than I have a treat fro you! You can get a two-month FREE trial of Skillshare. Skillshare is basically like Netflix, but for on-line classes and workshops. You can stream as many classes in as many different categories as you want.
Skillshare has tons of art classes and more. I love watching these videos, they always soak my imagination and give me new ideas for making and creating art. Just click on any of the Skillshare links and sign up.
Don’t worry, they will not charge you until the end of the trail if you don’t cancel. The free trail is risk free and you’ll get so much out of it. I’m always finding new and fun classes!
You may even find ideas on how to fill your accordion Japanese fold sketchbooks!
How to make an Accordion Sketchbook-Japanese Fold Sketchbook