Well my dear friends, I have launched my wonderful book on Amazon, and I couldn’t be more pleased.
eBook: I struggled with three separate versions of the ebook, each one with its own drawbacks, and finally settled on one I like well enough.
Paperback: I do love this sweet little thing. I love the cover, thank you so much to my graphic designer. The inside of the book, all 72 pages, was a huge struggle, going back and forth with another talented designer who specializes in formatting books for publication. I think we drove each other crazy along the way, but we ended up with a final product we both like. A lot.
The pouches: You will see on the menu bar above that I have added a tab for my “Look at That! Art Pouches” which I am selling on an Etsy site (the link is on that page shown above). I wove and sewed like crazy in the past several weeks, and then put to use my internet-writing-photography-marketing skills (often shaky skills!) to get my Etsy shop opened. A lot of work, but plenty of fun too.
If you’re thinking of buying copies of this book for gifts, you may also want to go one step further and add some art supplies. The problem is, where do you start… and more importantly, where do you stop?!
Thank goodness a dear friend asked me to help her with this, and it showed me how confusing it can be. Here is what I learned from helping her:
The supplies can and should stay really simple!
If you are getting this book as a present for someone, here are the three approaches you might consider.
1) Buy the book alone as a gift. You have just planted a life-changing seed.
2) Buy a book and a simple sketchbook for your gift. My book is 5.5” x 8.5”, and so are many sketchbooks. Here are three of my current favorite sketchbook options, all roughly A5 size.
a) The Hand Book Travelogue Watercolor Journal is the one I recommend in my book, and it is great if you plan to use watercolor often. Roughly $17 USD.
b) The Moleskine Art Sketchbook has really good paper, and works well with pen and ink as well as controlled amounts of watercolor. Roughly $15 USD.
Note: Be careful when you buy Moleskine books: They offer hard cover and soft cover, several paper weights, are beautifully made, but most are terrible for any artwork other than pencil (which I rarely use). If you are browsing in a store, look for the ones that have a blue/purple band near the bottom of the label, and are called an Art Sketchbook (see photo below). The paper weight is “165 g/m2”. Beware of the ones called “plain” paper (green stripe/ 70 g/m2), and “cahier” paper (orange stripe, 70 g/m2). Those two papers are less than half as thick as the Art Sketchbook, and are way too thin for the kind of mark-making freedom you deserve.
c) Finally, this sketchbook option is much less expensive, and is surprisingly adequate. They are sold in sets of two, each sketchbook is 6″ x 8″, has 30 sheets/60 pages, a soft cover, and you get two of these for only $6.99 USD (at least that is the pricing for now). “Artist’s Loft” is a Michael’s Craft Stores brand. It you are careful to control the amount of water you use, it does take watercolor well, and cuts your sketchbook expense considerably. Here is the link.
3) Buy a book and a sketchbook online– then get an Art Pouch, and a Pen Kit from me. It’s almost like taking me home with you!
The Look-at-That Art Pouch: I invented these pouches a few years ago after sketching at a rally at the State House here in Concord. I needed to have easy access to my tools, so I could simply pull out my sketchbook and be ready to go, sketching standing up. No need to figure out where to sit, and how to manage holding multiple pens and brushes at the same time. Sketching while standing is an amazing experience: it energizes you, makes you focus, liberates your decision-making. Now it is easy!
Go to the Pouch tab on the menu bar above, find the Etsy link, click on that, and then take your time selecting the pouch that speaks to you. In the description of each pouch, I state the width of that specific pouch’s opening. They vary because they are handwoven, and are each the perfect size for a small collection of pens, pencils, and watercolor brushes, but most do not fit cellphones (yay!) because that is not what they’re designed for. The pouches are intentionally small so you’ll leave your extraneous art supplies at home.
L.A.T. Art Tool Kit: For drawing, feel free to simply grab a handful of assorted pens from your desk and use them to get started! If on the other hand you would like a fast, economical way to own the exact pens I describe in the Look at That! book, as well as a water-brush, I also offer this 6-piece tool-kit on the Etsy site.
I know the investment can add up quickly. Truth be told, the book, a grubby pen, and a dollar-store blank journal are enough to get anyone started, and to totally change their life (that includes you too). I’ve seen it happen.
Starting with very simple supplies has its own advantages. If you give someone just the book, a sketchbook, and nothing else, then they get to decide how deeply they want to dig in, and when. They will be able to consult the Infamous Purchase Order at the end of the book (page 65), and in a moment-to-moment spontaneous way, they can decide what next to add to their toybox.
Enjoy, and thanks!