Around Christmas time I made three books for the boyfriend’s siblings. I was looking forward to making them because it would mean I could customise and personalise them.
I first used this technique in art at 6th form, on my project ‘derelict structures.’ I used PVA glue and chalk to create an effect which I hoped would replicate the look and feel of old metal and rust. Here is an example of the technique on other books.
I knew pretty much as soon as I had seen the Mockingjay pin used for The Hunger Games that I wanted it on a book. I printed out a template I found online and transferred it to a piece of cardboard. It was hard work cutting it out. I realised halfway through that it would be easier to cut out a rough shape out of the thick grey board and add in the finer details later.
I had prepared the boards for the covers earlier and it was just the case of sticking the shape onto the front once I had measured its placement accurately.
Making the book block – the pages – was super easy. I took apart two exercise books (the type used in schools) and sewed them together using a simple stitch. This book is only a ‘single section’ binding and is not as complicated as other sewing techniques, which meant I could be precise and neater than usual.
For the Mockingjay book I used black book cloth, which I also used on the N7 book, and for the dragon, green.
For all of the books I started colouring by gluing out where the symbol lay underneath the cloth and adding an initial layer of chalk dust and then building up on this bit by bit by adding more glue in more layers. To achieve this effect I took some chalk and an old scalpel, and scraped away at the chalk to form a dust.
Layer by layer I built up the colours and shading. Once happy I added the details I could not with the cutting of the shape with watercolour pencil and sometimes ink. Finally, I used fixative spray to seal it all.
I think this technique has worked quite well on all three books – I’m most happy with the N7 book - which I like to imagine is a standard issue notebook given to Shepherd on-board the Normandy in the Mass Effect series. Instead of using chalk dust for the red strip, I used red book cloth. The white parts are still chalk dust – I used masking tape to achieve the straight edge.
The only problems I had with the books were the ‘casing in’ - that is, sticking the pages to the cover. I always have trouble at this stage and it doesn’t help that the glue I have dries extremely quickly. There were a couple of mistakes that I hope will go unnoticed.
I am not all happy with the arrow of the Mockingjay. On hindsight I would have left it out completely, as I had not included it initially because it would be difficult to cut out with making a mistake.
But everybody seemed happy with their books. I wonder what they’ll be used for?