An effective, practical and inexpensive way to promote yourself is to compile your work into a handmade book. We begin this tutorial by explaining the art of Japanese bookbinding and how it can be applied to create your own simple self-promotional book.
Bookbinding, the art of sewing pages into a cover, can serve many purposes. This tutorial is aimed primarily at those who wish to make their own books using nothing more than basic tools we all probably have lying around the house. The Japanese binding technique we use here is known as the 'Pouch book', so-called because the pages are folded at the fore edge and sewn at the back edge, forming pouches. The Japanese name translates simply as 'four hole', and most Japanese pouch books are four hole (Chinese style) or five hole (Korean style) bindings. These two styles existed side by side in Japan during the Edo period (1603-1867), and were commonly used for cheap novels and romances.
Today, many artists are pushing the traditional limits of what we consider a book to be, because of the vast amount of paper stocks, printing techniques and materials available today. Homemade books can be a striking way to get your work in front of the people you want to see it. They can look slick, fancy or low-fi depending on your style - create a book that reflects the type of work you do by using materials and stocks that will best represent you as an artist.
Self-promotional books involve an inverse relationship of work to money: the more work you're willing to do, the more money you can save. Generally, bookbinding is a 'tooly' job, but in this case we've decided to try to keep costs to a minimum by seeing what can be done with a few simple household tools.