Tuesday, February 9, 2016

washi cardbooks for etegami journaling

Since I began posting my baby steps in art journaling, I've received a lot of queries about the washi card booklets I use, so I thought I'd take this chance to introduce them in greater detail than I can on Facebook or by email.  The Kuretake postcard book shown here contains 20 pages of medium-bleed washi cards. Perforated so that they can be removed, stamped, and mailed off, of course. But that's not all. In addition to the perforations at the top, it has perforations on the sides and bottom, so that after you paint your etegami, you can "crop" it down to the standard postcard dimensions, giving your etegami greater focus. You do have to be careful not to let anything important-- like the words-- stray into the margin area that will be lost when the card is cropped.

If you've read my book A Beginner's Guide to Etegami, you know that orthodox procedure for etegami is to paint freely past the border of your card and onto a large piece of paper that you've placed under the card to take the overflow. That is how you get the cropped look without actually cropping the etegami. This  card book gives you an easy way to cheat, especially if you're having a hard time allowing yourself the freedom to paint beyond the border of your standard-sized postcard. I have no hesitation about painting with abandon and spreading my image beyond the borders of my cards, so I'm not sure how I feel about this easy alternative.  But if you struggle against a tendency to draw tight images in the middle of your card, this may be one way to give a freer look to your work. I bought the Kuretake booklet, so I'll use it eventually.

The next two photos show the card book I am currently using. Like the Kuretake card book shown above, this Maruman card book has 20 cards perforated at the top for easy removal. The bleed quality is about the same as the Kuretake card book. The Maruman book is smaller because it is already postcard-sized, without the removable margins that the Kuretake card book has. So it's easier to slip into your bag or pocket if you plan to paint in it while traveling or just rambling in the neighborhood.

I ordered both the Kuretake and the Maruman from Amazon Japan, and have not done any research to see if it is also available outside of Japan or from other online vendors. However, I did receive a comment from a beginning etegami artist who found the Maruman card books at some kind of "super sale" in the US ---perhaps at a major stationery goods supplier? Anyway, judging by the English writing on the cover of both brands, chances are good you can find them outside of Japan.


  1. I thought about cleaning my art closet today, then decided that would be too much work. Now I'm wondering if maybe I should show my favorite art supplies too. Thanks for some motivation! BTW, your dry skin piece made me laugh out loud :)

    1. Yes, please do show us your art supplies! And I'm so glad the kappa etegami made you laugh. I was afraid no one would "get" it.