Tag Archives: artist’s book

The Circumetnea concertina book



I wrote before about the trip on the Circumetnea train. Finally I get to scan my little concertina book. It is 12cm high by 15cm wide, and there are eight pages.

It was a small, quaint little old train, and we had our books on our knees. We went between Catania and Randazzo (see map), and it took about two and a half hours. We sketched non-stop. I had three different ‘magic pencils’and four watercolour pencils, indigo, a dark green, yellow oxide and an earthy red. We went through many tunnels; there were no lights but we sketched on. More loopy cacti. At one point the carriage filled up with school children. They were very interested in what we were doing, but we had no time to stop. The book was substantially finished at the end of the journey. I added just a little more dark green and blue pencil, and then sploshed on some yellow watercolour, simply because there had been so much yellow in the wildflowers and vegetation.

I have always suspected that obsessive sketchers miss a lot while they have their nose in their sketchbooks. It’s true! I would have liked to go back to the beginning and to do it all again, so that I could look.

imageI haven’t put the covers on the book yet. I bought a lot of Italian decorative papers in Rome, where I found some shops off the tourist trail that had wonderful papers. I think I will go with my first choice, which is the simplest. I don’t want to overwhelm the drawings. These are just a few of what I have.

(Just a little diversion from Bologna, while I put colour on a very complex sketch that I did in pencil in a museum. Done now. Posting that tomorrow.)


Filed under artist's book, book art, Etna, Italy, magic pencils, Sicily, sketching, watercolour, watercolour pencils

It’s 500 posts today.

Today’s the day. This is the 500th post. This is the giveaway book which I will post to the winner. All you have to do is leave a comment on this post before Friday 8am Sydney time. I will number all the comments and cut them up and draw one number out of a ‘hat’.  You need tobe sure I have a way to get in touch with you.

The book is a handmade coptic bound book of seven signatures. Each signature has 2 folios (folded pieces of paper).It is just over 7.5 inches square. It has hard covers with my own paste paper. There is a round indent on the front cover  and  if the winner wishes I will glue on this medallion before I send it. Otherwise you can attach something of your own.

This book was designed for drawing on toned paper. As you see I have gone from light coloured pages  at the front to dark at the back. That is so that when you have one colour on one side and the next on the other side, there isn’t too much difference in tonal value.

I did some sketches with black pen and a white Prismacolour pencil on a toned ground at Cockatoo Island earlier in the year. That was when I decided I needed a book like this.

Nearly all the paper is Canson Mi-Teintes. However, there are two folios of Fabriano Hot Press watercolour paper. I felt that there are some occasions when you really need to use white paper, and its best to have that in the book you are carrying with you.

I will draw the winner at 8am on Friday 27th July Sydney time and you can find out what that is here. We probably get to Friday before you do, so if it is Friday at your place, unless you are in New Zealand, you’ve probably missed the deadline. Good luck!


Filed under artist's book, sketchbook

Giveaway book – the front

ImageFirst taster of the giveaway book.  It is covered in my own paste paper and it has a round indentation on the front cover. The metal object laying in that indentation is not glued on yet. I thought maybe it wasn’t a guy thing.  We don’t know the gender of who will win, so I will glue it on if the recipient wants me to.

The thing about handmade books that can drive you nuts is knowing which is the back or the front. Almost from the beginning I have created some difference between the back and the front cover to overcome this problem. The indentation can barely be seen, but you can feel it with your fingers. The recipient could glue something of their own in there if they wanted to also. This book didn’t need anything special, as the paste paper miraculously created a ‘dragon’s eye’.

I took some more photos of the book which show the colours of the pages, which are the most interesting thing about this book for anyone who is interested in working on a toned ground. However I am not going to post any more photos till the 500th post. I have decided I am not going to advertise this giveaway any further as, though that won’t help to drive more traffic to my blog,  I’d rather it was won by a loyal reader.


Filed under artist's book, paste papers, sketchbook

Viral Spiral Artist’s Book

Back in January I did the Strathmore Online Workshop with Traci Bautista. I started this artist’s book during lesson one of Doodles Unleashed. Although doodling isn’t altogether my thing, when I doodle I usually do swirls  of some sort.  This time I decided on spirals. I had bought a sheet of beautiful green spiral paper and I wanted to use it to inspire an artist’s book.  You can see the paper and my first steps in this post.

I divided one large sheet of mixed media paper into three long strips and worked on each of those consecutively. The steps I used in decorating the pages went like this:

  1. Spray paper through stencils or around objects using watercolour
  2. Paint acrylic spirals
  3. Swirl on a bit of pink watercolour
  4. Many doodlings with Prismacolour pencils in greens yellows and pinks
  5. More doodling with black ink with a pen and nib.

At this point I cut my three long strips into six shorter strips & my page spreads were done. After a visit to the art shop I decided to use a deep yellow paper to join them all at the foredge . That done, I was able to bind the whole thing into its intended shape – a concertina book with hard covers. Then I got to the fun part. I had decided to add some yellow pop-ups to make the borders. However when they were on I decided it needs MORE. So I added also pink and green spiral pop-ups.

It’s very busy, but it’s cheerful and it’s fun. Very different to the sort of well-researched book with a story that I usually do. Watch for more books with pop-ups. I’m investigating them. I’ve got a wonderful book that I’m working through pop-up by pop-up.

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Filed under acrylics, artist's book, book art, decorated papers, doodles, inks, Prismacolour pencils, watercolour

A spiral page spread

This is a two-page spread for what will be my spiral doodle artist’s book, probably called ‘Viral Spiral’. On top of what you saw in previous posts I ahve done the Prismacolour pencils, then black ink with a pen and nib.  My three long strips of paper have been cut into 6 of these. They will be joined at the foredge into a concertina using coloured paper. Not sure what colour yet. I couldn’t get the green of the cover paper, so I bought á few’colours  so that when I get a little further on, I can maybe proceed even if it is bucketing rain & too wet to bring paper home from the art shop.

I have been experimenting with spiral pop-ups. They look great and there is an infinite variety of what you can do with them according to how you place them, so I have to experiment some more. I haven’t decided yet whether to use bright Mi-teintes paper (or similar) or whether to paint two-sided paper so that you get the two colours as it spirals. And will I write words on the page, or on the spiral? All this needs a test run.

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Filed under artist's book, book art, doodles, inks, Prismacolour pencils

Spiral doodles – the next step

Another layer of doodles on my artist’s book pages, based on Traci Bautista’s course “Doodles Unleashed”. If you look at the large size of  these images you will see that I have doodled with Prismacolour pencil all over them.It took me a couple of days. These are only sections of the pages (which are each 20″ long), because I scanned them rather than photograph them, so we get what fits on the scanner.

While I have been doing each of these steps, I’ve been testing them on a bookmark sized piece of paper. I’ve now tested the next step on that. I’m going with the black ink next, but with a pen and nib rather than a liner brush. After all my years of painting I’m fairly competent with a liner brush and I prefer the more hesitant line of the nib,  because I think I’ve got enough flowing strokes.

I’m not sure any words will fit in. I did do a few words on the bookmark, but the book will only get them if it needs it.

It’s going to be a bit of a challenge getting the black ink work to flow across all the pages when I join them into a concertina book.It needs to look good compostion-wise when the concertina is displayed open.  I guess I just start at the left hand side and take it from there. I will join them after the ink is done, but I don’t want to fold them before I do the ink. Probably end up with splodges and splatters.

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Filed under artist's book, drawing, Prismacolour pencils

Doodles unleashed.

Last year I did all three Strathmore Online Workshops  – they’re free. On 1st January the first one for 2012 started – Doodles Unleashed with Traci Bautista.  It’s a mixed media workshop with lots of interesting techniques. Traci uses a huge range of media, including our Australian made Matisse acrylics.

Rosemarie, my friend who owns Artwise, the Amazing Paper Shop had a sale last week and I had decided to choose one paper and use it to inspire a simple artist’s book. I went there last week and chose this avocado green spiral paper.

I got home and was thinking about the Strathmore course, and I decided to use those techniques to make the content for the book. Traci’s doodles are based on circles, but mine, like the paper are based on spirals.

I have some mixed media paper so I cut three long strips 8″ x 20″ and they will eventually be joined together in a concertina. This is only the first three steps, spraying with watercolour, spirals in acrylics, then a wash of Rose Madder.

Already the next step (coloured pencils) is almost done. I’m not following step by step, because I don’t want to use oil pastels, and I will decide after each step what is needed next. Watch my progress!.

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Filed under acrylics, artist's book, book art, watercolour