As many bookbinders know, high-quality blank paper is readily available but very few options exist for bookbinders who want ruled pages of the same caliber. At Crowing Hens Bindery, I've solved this dilemma by making my own ruled papers by hand. I also work directly with clients to design custom pages either to satisfy a book commission that I bind in house or for bookbinders to use in their own work.
One of my latest commissions was from my good friend Dave Rollins, owner of Black Magic Bindery, a fellow full-service bindery located in Iowa City, IA. Dave uses his supernatural powers to conjure custom codices imbued with spellbinding craftsmanship. One of his latest commissions is for the second annual GeeklyCon, taking place this year during the first week in June in Louisville, KY. To make these books all the more enchanting for his Geekly warlock chums, he commissioned me to design custom-ruled pages to suit the occasion.
As with all of my ruled pages, each design is first drawn by hand, a process that gives me more control over the design and one that maintains the charming characteristics of the drawn line, as opposed to the robotic sterility of a digitally designed page. I then digitally color it, add text if necessary, and then using Mohawk Superfine papers, I print the pages on our high-resolution color laser printer. As a bookbinder, I know that simply printing lines on paper is not enough. For the paper to be serviceable for a binder, it is important that the paper be right grain, that it be archival, that the ink be colorfast, and that the paper be large enough to account for trimming.
And now with the papers in hand at Black Magic Bindery, all I can do is wait to witness what wizardry will occur when runic ruled pages meet forwarding sorcerer. All I can say is, "ABRACADABRA!"