Thursday, January 24, 2008

Urban Graffiti Altered Book

Wow, this is my 200th post to this blog! ;oD

Yesterday I finally finished my Urban Graffiti altered book for a swap on my Yahoo group. It's long overdue and has been a difficult project for me to complete. The idea for the swap was mine and was inspired by street art and stencil graffiti artists et al but not long after the swap was set up I began to feel totally blocked about it. ;o( I extended the deadline twice and still my Muse stayed on strike but inspiration finally struck in November and I was on the point of organising a trip out to photograph graffiti when I landed myself in plaster! However, my photographer friend, Rob, came to the rescue with some graffiti shots that he'd taken and I was off and away at last!

The book I chose is quite large - about 11" by 18" - and I removed alot of pages before I started on the six planned spreads. The idea for the book was to make the spreads look like the walls in the photos with the photos stuck on them if that makes sense! I tried to choose different parts of the photos to depict and I also used different media to get different effects on the pages. These included gesso (white and black), acrylic paint, watercolour paint, crayon, oil pastel, pencil, coloured pencil and marker pen. I wanted a layered look so that sections of different spreads showed whichever spread the book was opened at.

So, here we go with some pics of the finished book!

I used aluminium tape for the cover and used black Staz-On ink to grunge it up a bit! The stencilled title is done with a black Sharpie pen. I really like the look of the tape background and might experiment with the technique some more. I couldn't get the Staz-On to dry though and ended up spraying the cover with acrylic varnish.

First spread.

Second spread.

Third spread.

Fourth spread.

Fifth spread.

Sixth spread.

Close up of the end of the last spread.

Just a couple of shots looking at the whole book from different angles.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Zine Post Script

I thought it would be easier to answer questions from the comments on Elizabeth's zine here rather than in the comments. :o)
It took me a while to work out what Elizabeth meant by "spirograph stamp" and then it dawned on me that it's the stamp I used around the little intro piece on the first page! It appeared on my blog a good while ago when I first made it and it's the impression from the bottom of a plastic pie tray! ;oD I use it loads and it's still a favourite of mine!
The metal bits are rejects that M brought home from work. The joys of having a husband who is an etcher! :oD It's some sort of keyboard job and they always have trouble etching it so I get lots of the ones that don't make the grade!
For the CD I chose just a few of my current favourites on my iPod. I add music all the time, I love broadening my horizons musically and it was great to share some of my eclectic tastes!
I used zebra print for the cover once again (as I did on my one page zine for a recent swap) as I billed them both as "an Artful Zebra Zine" and I think I will do the same for any future zines and I thought a recognisable cover would be a good idea. I may end up changing my mind depending on the zine topic I suppose but that's the idea for the moment!

Sunday, January 06, 2008


My lovely friend, Elizabeth, is celebrating her 50th birthday today. ;o) In honour of this auspicious occasion I decided to make her something special and as she loves zines I decided that's just what I'd make her. Now she has received her zine I can share some pics on here. ;o)

I decided the zine should be called 50 Things and would have just that in it - 50 things! It's a combination of facts, artwork, poetry, freebies etc. I wanted to number everything so all the pieces have a stamped number somewhere on them. I had whole page contributions from more lovely friends, Jill, Claire and Skippy which made my job easier! ;oD

So, here we go:

This is the front cover. The title is made from a piece of altered vintage photo. I loved these vintage red photo mounts!

This is the first spread. The glassine envelope contains a wee booklet all about the year of the rooster in Chinese horoscopes. The right hand spread is the back of Jill's page. Because the way I bound it would have obscured the text I had to bind it backwards as it were but I don't think it detracts from the page at all, well, hopefully not anyway!

The front of Jill's page, on the left hand side, has a pocket which is stuffed fit to burst with 50 things for Elizabeth to use in her art. :o) Elizabeth loves poetry so I searched about and found three lovely wintry Haiku to include. This page contains the one spelling mistake I missed, blast!

The right hand page of this spread is the front of Claire's lovely double sided spread.

This is the middle of Claire's spread, all about Twelfth Night. Unfortunately the thread I used to bind the zine covers a little of the text but I tried to position it in the best place so the least text is covered!

The back of Claire's spread on the left. On the right are a set of four seasons ATCs. The numbers are stickers stuck on the plastic envelopes not on the ATCs! The ATCs are printed underneath as well so the originals can be removed.

On the right hand side is Skippy's fab page. The pea soup recipe on the left is removable and underneath it says "In the USA, January is National Soup Month".

The final spread! As I was a bit pushed for space I used the blank portion on the back of Skippy's spread to add things to! No 36 is a fold out piece containing 50 journaling prompts. The rubbing of a fifty pence piece on the right hand page has a real coin over the top when all the freebies are added!

It would have been impossible to scan the zine pages with all the freebies in place so you can see most of them here. The freebies comprise of a vintage birthday postcard, a charitable gift from World Vision, Best Thoughts printable from The Toymaker, red beaded trim, bag of metal pieces, music CD with 25 of my current favourite pieces, 5 pieces of handmade background paper/card, vintage whist score card, vintage poetry booklet, vintage card of buttons, vintage bus tickets, unmounted rubber stamp, printed Morse code alphabet, fifty pence piece and a pendant.

The last item is the pendant I made which hangs on one of those round choker type wires but I couldn't think of a way to attach it to the zine properly as it was an odd shape so I ended up putting it in a suitable wintry themed box (see bottom right of freebie photo) and just putting it with the zine. It's made from a vintage fishing spinner, a vintage fuse and text. Elizabeth sings with a church choir and the line of Longfellow poetry seemed just the right thing when my eyes hit upon it. ;o)

This was my second attempt at a zine after participating in a one page zine swap on The Zine Pool. I think I have a long way to go yet but I've definitely caught the zine making bug! ;oD Both the zines I've made have been steep learning curves for me and I hope any future zines I make will all help to improve my techniques and see me become a much better zinester. Zine making is SO much fun though, I highly recommend having a go! :oD

Saturday, January 05, 2008


As a little diversion between projects with paint drying today I made this little dowel spine portfolio from instructions in More Making Books by Hand: Exploring Miniature Books, Alternative Structures, and Found Objects by P. Thomas.

This is the outside showing the spine.

And this is the inside showing the little pockets.

I made it using a sheet of hand decorated paper from a recent artist papers swap and it was really quite easy despite looking a bit difficult! ;oD Anything involving accuracy always makes me a little nervous! LOL I'm planning on altering the cards in the pockets but I think it would be good for all sorts of things. If it was made a bit deeper it would house ATCs nicely. ;o) My only problem is that I think I cut the spine slits a little wide as the dowel drops out given half a chance! Good fun though!