This is one of my favorite sketchbook cover paintings that I've done recently. So simple and I love how the background and her skin tone are so similar. It is from a photo reference and an experiment in using Alizarin Crimson for flesh.
I'm reasonably certain that when Gurney advanced this idea of painting directly onto your sketchbook cover he meant that you would personalize your sketchbooks as-you-go...but I decided to do mine retroactively.
The sketchbooks in the photo show that I gessoed the books in advance of painting them. I textured the gesso also (with a paper towel). I used oil for these paintings and Tim used acrylic. Almost all of these books are Aquabee Deluxe sketchbooks, but I know this will work on any hard cover.
You may wonder what is to be gained from doing this. Well, for one, it is just plain fun. Tim and I both have noticed that sometimes these efforts can come out great*. I've been trying to paint them energetically (for the "brushspeed"). *(There may be less onus to painting on an unconventional surface). Below are what I have done so far:
I'm glad I tried this and if you're looking to do something really different, you might try it too. The only downside to it is that you can't stack the books until they are really super-dry...and that people might be disappointed when they open a book with a pretty painting on the front... only to find mediocre crappy drawings inside. Oh so what.. haha! ("The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one." --Elbert Hubbard)
(Sketchbook covers): Celeste Bergin: Red truck from photo reference, Profile from photo reference, Man & dog from memory (I have to re-take that photo), Portrait of John Singer Sargent, Landscape from memory, Profile from photo reference, Hoodie from photo reference, Figure inspired by Manet, Flowers from life, Cup and saucer from life, "Lonely" trees from memory