Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Altered book starter

I've been rethinking how I am using my art time, and decided I need to concentrate on my two favorite things, painting and altering books. So, I decided to pull out a book and start another one. This is the way I started.

1. Find a book with a title that suggests or matches a theme. I wanted to do a book on birds, so I chose "A Streak of Light". The way hummingbirds dart in the sunshine and hawks can dive like a streak of light, I thought this would be appropriate. This book has just less than 200 pages. It is a blank canvas! Ready to alter. I have not read it, and never had the intention of reading it. I just liked the title when I forked over the 50 cents for it at the used book sale. One of the things I like about altering books is that you have so many surfaces to work on. Unlike buying a stretched canvas that you use once and hopefully sell - you now have 200 surfaces! For a fraction of the cost.

2. Collect images. I have files of images taken from magazines, greeting cards, stamps, photos, fabrics, and found images from the web. I file them by subject, so I reached for the BIRDS file. I found the front of a little wooden birdhouse that had come apart in the winter. It may just work on the cover, or I may want to cut a little niche in the cover to accomodate it. I like the weathered wood. I tucked it into the file so I would find it if I ever got around to doing a Bird book or assemblage.

3. Collect text. I have files in My Docs on the computer where I save quotes, lyrics, and jokes - filed by subject. Again, I clicked on the BIRD sub-file in my quote file and started selecting possible text for use. I printed them.

By now I'm starting to get ideas for combining text with some images.

4. Next, I start tucking images and quotes into the book. I do not have an established order yet - and may not develop one. I don't know yet. I'll see how it works out, and what direction my muse takes me. These things usually just evolve, unless I'm using a text that I'm illustrating. Using random quotes gives me lots of freedom.

There are way too many images and more text than I need. I need to start the editing down process now. I have not done any construction yet - no pages glued together, no pages removed, no paints or surface techniques applied.

5. Start to develop the style and content of the book. Images often suggest surface techniques. The colors of the images will also suggest colors for the pages. Decide on the order of the images and quotes. (Trust me, you'll find more as you go along, and it's best to give yourself some leeway to add or subtract as you work.)

This photo shows where I'm at right now with the book. Piles of stuff and ideas flying around in my head. I'll show other steps as the work progresses. You are welcome to take this journey with me.

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