Craft is about design thinking… But you need pencils, pens, rulers and notebooks to get started

If you’re thinking about joining my online leatherwork mentorship, there’s a few things you need to get started.

Pencils

When you’re getting started with a craft like leatherwork you realise really quickly that a lot of it is about design and design thinking.

And this means the three Ps:

  • Plans
  • Patterns
  • Prototypes.

For the design process, in my work, I like to have some good pencils, pens, a sturdy notebook and steel rulers handy.

You need to have pencils and pens handy for drawing plans and making notes.

Fortunately, you probably have all of this lying around your home or office.

Pens

As well as a good pencil, I also like to use black ink gel pens for drawing plans.

You should use pencils and pens that you like to hold. There are some pencils I really like if you’re stuck for ideas in the image up top.

I can’t stress enough the value of using old-school tools like pencils and notebooks if you really want to level-up as a craftsman.

Steel rulers

A steel ruler is best as you can cut against it without destroying it. You can use a plastic ruler or another straight-edged object, but you might find you start carving pieces off it.

I work in metric, usually with millimetres, so I recommend either a 300mm or 400mm steel ruler. I also use a much heavier 400mm steel Builders Square, but that’s another purchase that can wait until later as well.

After awhile, you’ll want to get a few different sizes of steel rulers. They all come in handy for different projects.

Here’s a picture of my collection of steel rulers. As you can see, not all rulers need to be straight…!

Even though I work mainly in metric, you’ll see that some of my rulers also use inches.

This isn’t my preference, but sometimes it’s just handy for me to convert between the two especially if I’m working with a pattern that someone else has made.

Click the image below if you want to order one from Amazon. Expect to pay around USD$10.

Notebooks

If you follow my work, you’ll also see shots of my notebook. I often like to sketch plans or make notes using blank ink gel pens.

You need a notebook is for drawing plans in and making notes about what you do. Just get a cheap one if you’re not sure what to do.

Later you can buy something more expensive and make a beautiful notebook cover for it. I like to use hardback Moleskine notebooks with grid pages like the one in the images below.

The gridlines make it easy for me to draw shapes or get things in proportion. A maths book would also work.

Here are some of my notebooks including a couple that I made leather covers for.

Later you can buy something more expensive and make a beautiful notebook cover for it. I like to use hardback Moleskine notebooks with grid pages like the one in the images.

The gridlines make it easy for me to draw shapes or get things in proportion. A maths book would also work.

Here are some of my notebooks including a couple that I made leather covers for.

Later you can buy something more expensive and make a beautiful notebook cover for it. I like to use hardback Moleskine notebooks with grid pages like the one in the images.

The gridlines make it easy for me to draw shapes or get things in proportion. A maths book would also work.

Here are some of my notebooks including a couple that I made leather covers for.

Yes, you can record your notes and plans on a computer or device. However, I like to encourage people to work with physical tools as well.

This means making and taking notes the old-fashioned way. Watch out as it can be addictive…!

Click the image below if you want to get a Classic Squared Moleskine like the ones I use. Expect to pay around USD$13 for something like this below.

But remember, you don’t need to spend that to get started. Just get a cheap notebook for now.

Join me for an online leatherwork learning journey…!

Author: Graeme Smith

Education, technology, design. Also making cool stuff...

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