Wednesday, 12 March 2014

An Insomniac's Altered Book/Adapted Book-Plate Budget Tutorial


I can't sleep. Nope - not a wink. Wiiiiiiiiide awake... SO  - I thought I'd faff about with muh art s'plies and do another tutorial for you. This is another versatile project and one that doesn't need a mahoosive amount of expensive product. I'll talk you through the steps and show you what I used for each one, but you can substitute any number of things from your own stash at any point. You shouldn't need to buy ANYTHING new in order to do this. I've chosen a really simple concept and design, but again you can let your imagination go nuts! So put away your stress on a top shelf somewhere and settle in for some fun!

Budget Altered Book/Adapted-Bookplate Tutorial

For this project I used:

  • an old hardcover book
  • Faber Castell Gelatos
  • crafter's acrylic paints
  • Faber Castell Pitt pens
  • Derwent Inktense pencils
  • Uni Ball Impact gel pens
  • Chestnut satin acrylic lacquer
  • matte gel medium
  • Treasure Gold gilding wax (Classic)
  • scrap paper
  • water
  • kitchen roll
  • ink pad & sponge
  • page folder/scraper

OK? Let's start this thang!  Pick your book. It could be one you've made or altered, a sketchbook or journal, or just one that's crying out for decoration... I selected this old encyclopedia, which is falling apart already.

I chose a page from this book for my base paper, 'cos at some point I'll most likely gut it and use the cover for a new journal - also I like book text as a background, but you can choose anything you like, including junk mail, scrapbook papers or even newspaper.

I picked some complementary base colours. You can use Gesso if you like, but I wanted a few mixed tones - not just plain white (you'll see why later on in the project). I like to splodge the paint on with my fingers. I don't mind getting messy and it means that I can really control how much they blend. when I'd finished smooshing, I decided to splash on a little water and take off some more of the paint to allow the book print to show through:

I decided to make a simple landscape for this book plate as it's very much suited to this collage technique. It's pretty simple but you have to trust that it'll all come together in the end, ok? I created a sky effect by adding some drops of turquoise (YUM!) acrylic, then used my page folder as a scraper to move the paint around the way I wanted. (I KNOW some of you will have to do some deep breathing at the idea of such abuse... but hey, the page folder's washable, and I'm too lazy at this time of the morning to go get a scraper)

I found a piece of kraft paper I'd saved from a parcel. I crumpled it up - for extra texture - flattened it out again and tore it into three pieces, which would become hills in my landscape. You could use any paper you like - I just like the kraft :

I used Studio matte medium to adhere the pieces to the page, overlapping them to create a layered effect. I like this medium because it creates a good workable surface, but you could just as easily use Mod Podge, PVA glue or glue sticks - your choice. I left part of the bottom and middle pieces like little flaps so I could tuck things behind them...

 I chose three contrasting paint colours - one for each segment (hill) and finger painted them onto the paper, dabbing some paint off again with kitchen roll so that there was more conrast - not just flat colour.

I took some scrap paper pieces and tore out some abstract shapes that I could use for trees in my landscape, and glued them in under the flaps I'd left, gluing those flaps down afterwards. The crinkles in the paper help to disguise the lumps.

Like I said - trust me.

I grabbed some nice Gelato colours and coloured in some definition colours, wetting them to help smear the colour where I wanted it. You could just as easily use ANY water soluble media. I wanted quite a lot of layers, but you can choose to add as much or as little as you like.

Just for the fun of it, I used a couple of Inktense pencils - one dark, one contrasting - and a couple of Pitt pens, selected the same way, to add more definition around the shapes. Again, these will smoosh about beautifully with a little water. I used my fingers again....weeeeeeell, they were already covered in paint anyways!

The  crinkles in the kraft paper hold the squidgy media in interesting ways, and the edges of the torn paper soak up the colours beautifully. I added some light Gelato colours here and there to pick some shapes and stop things all blending into one big block.

I added some more 'cloud' layers to the sky with the same drip and scrape technique that I used for the 'blue'. THIS is why I used a blend of tones on the base coat - I wanted the white paint to stand out. I also added some gold gilding wax using the pad of my index finger so that it would pick out the raised, bumpy elements in the collage. The wax catches the light and adds more tone and brightness.

 At this point I gave the page a light coat of the Chestnut laquer. It's just a personal preference as it holds the soluble media fast, and allows me to wipe away any excess in new layers without disturbing what's already there. Plus it helps to seal the layers. Mod Podge will do the same thing, as will clear Gesso, but be wary as both products may soak up or smear unfixed colours. Some spray fixitives will also affect the water-soluble media. I DO like the Chestnut lacquer...oh yes I do!

Once the lacquer dried ( about 5 minutes) I used gel pens to add some definition and detail -

Once I was happy  with the result, I added another layer of lacquer and cut out the part of the page that I liked the best in order to make a panel. I inked the edges with black Staz-on ink and selected some rub-ons that I could use to finish the piece. You could just as easily use stickers, die-cuts or doodles - your choice.

Now select your glue or tape of choice and afix in place! This is how the finished panel looked on my book cover - 

Came out ok in the end! I find that a LOT of projects look pretty questionable 'til I get right to the end...just gotta stick with it.

This is so simple to do and easy to adapt to materials and personal tastes. The whole thing took about 45 minutes (with photo taking)...this blog post has taken FOREVER by comparison!! HA! I PROMISE that you can find substitues in your current stash for pretty much anything I used. Why not try pastels or charcoal to add definition? Watercolour paints or pencils? Soluble crayons? Oil pastels? There's loads of room to experiment and have fun.

So now it's, like, 7:30 am and I'm finally sleepy. I hope you find this tutorial useful (and not too rambly!)  I'll now catch an hour or two before it's back to the business of the day! Hope YOU'VE all had some sleep! Sending hugs from sleepy Shroo :) xxx

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Sunshine, Tulips and Feline Despots!

Hello again!

Holy daffodils, Batman - two posts in one week? Ooooh yeah.... you got it..... See - you'll be sick of me in no time!

Anyhoos..... I've been playing in that new journal of mine today, remembering to - above all else - have FUN with art. No pressure. No stress. Just fun. I doodle-painted some tulips that my mum brought for me - they're so lovely and colourful that I couldn't resist!

Fun and quick and colourful. The different paper shapes make it more interesting to work in the book - less imposing that a neat block of straight-edged paper!

The second page I painted was based on some photos I took of a lighthouse that mum and I visited the other day. THE SUN WAS OUT!!! Yep - SUN! It was still REALLY cold, but that much sunshine has to be enjoyed to the full. I took a load of photos on my camera to try out the settings and I saved some that came out ok - see if you have a favourite...

This is the one taken on the bog-standard setting -

This one has a slight sepia look to it - 

This is the black and white arty one (allegedly) -

...looks just like one my grandparents took DECADES ago! Nothing's changed!!! This next one's pretty cool - it's a 'vintage' setting so it looks like an old hand-tinted photo -

The colours on those old hand-tinted pictures were always a little bit too vivid, but I REALLY like that! If I had a decent printer I'd have fun printing LOADS of stuff like this!  The last one is on a 'toy camera' setting, so it slightly washes out the colour in the middle and fades on the corners -

The pictures taken of me as a baby all look a bit like this so I kinda like this one too. If all goes well, mum and I will make a trip round some of the sites we like and go MAD with the clickety-click of the camera! Heh heh heh heh.....

So aaaaaaaaaanyway - I decided to paint a fun piccy in that scruffy stitched in journal just because... it's not gonna win any prizes, but as the front of the journal reminds me, it's -

This is the fun result:

If you'd like to know what media I faffed about with, I used

  • Faber Castell Gelatos - peach, cotton candy, pistachio, earl grey, butter scotch, butter cream, chocolate
  • DecoArt Crafter's Acrylic paint - turquoise, white, soft moss
  • Docrafts Artiste acrylic paint - linen
  • Golden Fluid acrylic - sap green, Naples yellow hue, raw umber, cobalt blue
  • Derwent Inktense pencil - #0500 Chilli Red
  • Tattered Angels Glimmer Glaze - mellow yellow, saffron
  • Treasure Gold gilding wax - classic
  • Uni Ball Impact 1.0mm gel pens - black, white

As you can probably guess, I had a lot of stuff sitting on my desk just BEGGING to be played with!

When it's all there in front of me I can't help it! I gots ta play!

Meanwhile, the Colonel has continued in his recent 'Caligula' mood, reclining on his foofy blanky dais and issuing demands for nippits (cat biscuits....) and complaining bitterly that he should be denied roasted whole oxen or stacks of freshly cooked quail. He tires quickly of having his trembling, captive shrooz battle gladiator meeces for his mild amusement, and demands belly rubs and tickles from me instead, as it's MUCH more rewarding to stab his pins and needles into my hands, while he purrs outrageously! Here is the little Caesar himself -

.... a LITTLE bit 'Princess And The Pea' there with just THREE wubby blankies and a mere half-dozen cushies. Oh - and his fluffy cuddly 'Nightmare Before Christmas - Zero' plushy. Poor kitty - how he suffers!

Ok, well that's it for now. Hope you enjoyed the photos - please feel free to comment or get in touch. Sending hugs out into the blogosphere! See you soon - Shroo :) xxx