I have made quite a few notebook covers for others, but this one is mine, to replace the SSG cover I made a few years ago. That one was refinished, buffed, and passed on to a good NCO to carry until he gets promoted out of it; he can pass it on to someone else then.
The grain on this piece was so beautiful, I nearly didn’t tool it at all, but I’m glad I did; the grain still shows through the dragon design. The gold foil overlay is adds a lot of warmth but does not photograph well; you must simply take my word for it.
If the Army wouldn’t buy those hideous green notebooks, I’d probably branch out into making something else. Of course, having made this one, our office is out of notebooks, so I’m using a more generic Office Depot one for now. This cover is a little over-sized so I don’t have to stretch it to get the green notebook in (the SSG cover was just barely big enough), but it still fits in the uniform cargo pocket.
People can’t help but pick it up during meetings.
It’s been quite a long while since I’ve done any leather tooling, and I didn’t cut as deep as I ought to have, in retrospect, but the effect is still quite striking. However, in part because it is adapted from a tattoo-inspired design, it doesn’t take the best advantage of the medium; I spent too much time just trying to get in between the sections, and had to use very small tooling punches because of it. If I try this design again, I may sort of reframe the dragon as a more solid contiguous design (i.e. all one piece instead of a bunch of shapes) so I can add more depth to the wings and body.
Once again, many thanks to Samantha Keener for making her design available; I recommend checking out her other work.