Thursday, September 01, 2011

Tutorial: using existing books as a journal

TJ from Studio Mailbox sent me this book a while ago for me to alter. I am planning to use it as an art journal and thought it would be fun to share the preparing of the book here with you.

This book had hard covers and a sewn binding: ideal for altering the book. The paper inside is a bit old, but not yellow or brittle at all. This means that I have the perfect base to start with.

To make room for all the painting and collage, I rip out several pages so that the binding will be able to hold all the extra weight that will be added.

Sometimes, I will tear out as much as half of the amount of pages that are in the book!
After tearing out a page, look for the opposite page that is now loose in the book. Remove this one too.

It always feels a bit wrong to tear out pages, but the spine will not hold long if you are not brutal enough at this point.
You can save the pages and illustrations though for collage. And you can always use the text for Found Poetry.

The next step is glueing several pages together to strengthen the paper. This way it will be able to carry all the paint and collage even better.
In this book I will glue 2 pages together. If the paper was thinner, I would even glue 3 pages together.

My favorite glue to use at this point is Gel Medium, you can buy these in big cheap(er) pots in art stores.

Place a waste paper behind the page that you are going to glue. Brush the glue on, press the other page to it and use a plastic old ID or credit card to smooth it over.

 Let the book dry completely. As long as the glue has not dried, it will be too fragile to work in.

My favorite way to prep a page is to start with a thin layer of gesso. Just the process of brushing this over the pages is relaxing and often opens up my ideas and inspire me.

The cover is almost always left as the last thing to do. When the journal has been filled, I know what I want to put on front. It is all about keeping open to possibilities, though you could say that it is all about not being able to make a choice as well... :-)

Have you been using existing books as an art journal? Or do you buy blank books for journaling?


Marion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Marion said...

That is just cool,going to see if I have some old books laying around.


Marit said...

Mijn eerste art journal ontstond op dezelfde manier als dit - d.m.v. altering een oud boek. Deze journal is me nog steeds zoooo dierbaar! (vind het in mijn gallery bovenaan mijn blog, onder 'handmade books/art journals - het Leonard Cohen journal) Daarna ben ik begonnen met boekbinden, en sindsdien maak/bind ik alle art journals zelf.

Caatje said...

Ik gebruik op dit moment een oude ANWB wegenatlas als journal n.a.v. een soortgelijke tutorial op iHanna's blog.
Het papier is perfect en de grootte ook. Spreads en het boek zelf zijn te zien op mijn blog. Het is leuk als er al iets op de pagina's staat. Het geeft een soort extra laag.