Friday, March 11, 2011

Brought To You In Part By Patrick Swayze's Ghost:

Today, as I thought about posting on my latest bookbinding triumph, I suddenly realized that my blogging might follow a similar pattern to my journal writing.  I'll think lots about doing it, but in the end the entries are few and far between and will usually begin with some lame half-hearted apology for my long absence...except that, whereas in my journal I'm always like, "oh, you'll never believe what NEW boy I'm totally in love with," or "you'll NEVER guess what old boyfriend I decided I still like," or, "I'm so shocked I like 8 boys at the same time," in the case of my blog it will be like, "oh, look at what kind of books I'm into binding these days!"  If, one day, my great-grandchildren were to stumble upon my old journals or see what kinds of things I posted online, they would likely assume that my life was dominated by gluing paper together and chasing boys.  Which I guess probably accurately describes about half of my life that's not taken up by sleeping and eating...

Anyhow, since I usually do spend half my day holed up in my room gluing and sewing while I listen to This American Life and Radiolab podcasts, it is certainly my hope that I would have at least something to show for it.  And I do.

My sister Lynsey asked me to bind a book for her friend, Mehgan.  Mehgan's birthday is later this month and Lynsey wanted to give her a customized journal.  Lynsey knows how to bind books, but seeing as how she actually contributes to society (i.e. she has a job) and I am on a self-assigned sabbatical from responsibility, she thought maybe I wouldn't mind tackling the project.  The only requirement was that I include a specific emoticon,  >:c  into the design (the emoticon was thought up by a few of Mehgan's friends after finding out that she has colon cancer; it means "greater than colon cancer").

At first, I was thinking of carving out the emoticon into the binders board so that when I glued the cover paper on the board it would show the emoticon as a depression in the cover.  I've inlaid things into my coverboards before, but I'd never done text, and that seemed like it might be too tedious of work.  But then, when I was in Utah at the end of February, I saw a picture of Patrick Swayze hanging on the wall at my friend Danica's house and it gave me a new idea.

my first practice transfer
practice transfer and front cover design

Danica had done an ink transfer of a picture of Patrick Swayze onto a canvas with matte medium and then painted with acrylics and matte medium on top of it.  It was amazing...and the best part is that there is totally a ghost face in the painting.  Danica told me that it was the ghost of Patrick Swayze; that he had come into her room at night after she painted it and kissed it, leaving his face on the canvas as a sign of his approval (she subsequently moved the painting up to the family room, because it was kind of creeping her out at night as it had been previously hanging above her bed).  I had never known how to do an ink transfer before, but once she told me how to do it, I knew that's how I was going to put the >:c onto Mehgan's book cover.

So...I put the text "mehgan>:c" on top of a design I liked and then flipped the picture on my computer so the text was backwards.  Then I printed it out on my computer printer and used matte medium to transfer the image onto a piece of Arches paper.  After that, I used watercolors to accent different parts of the design then I ran the front cover paper through my sewing machine.  When I was done, I just brushed a layer of gloss gel on top of it all to protect the paper from getting beat up.

For being my 3rd flat back binding ever, I'd say it's not too shabby...there are a few things here and there that I would have changed if I were to do it over again, but all in all it turned out.  I might put up some instructions for a few things like the ink transfer and the headband sewing; if I do, I'll link them here later.  Anyway, this has totally given me some new ideas for other books.  We'll see what transpires...

Monday, December 27, 2010

Microsoft Paint + too much free time = the best (late) Christmas present ever

 So, one time while I was taking a bookbinding class at BYU, I got this awesome (read: overly ambitious) idea for an advent calendar-themed book.  It involved French folded sections with stories inside for each day of December up through Christmas.  That year (2008) I was supposed to give a Christmas present to my brother Aaron.  I decided I would make him one of these books.  Before I even got going on it, however, I realized that I wouldn't be able to finish it on time, so Aaron essentially got a big fat IOU.  When Christmas 2009 rolled around, I managed to make one of these books for my sister Sarah (we have a rotating gift-giving schedule in the family).  It took somewhere from 40 to 50 hours to make, and once I finished it, I knew that there was no way on earth that I would be able to get one made for Aaron for the 2009 season.  So, with high hopes, I set a tentative due date for Aaron's belated book: December 1st, 2010.

Sarah's Christmas book, 2009

Well, as we all know, Christmas has already passed and December is nearly over, and it is not a huge surprise that Aaron's book is still not finished.  BUT there are very good reasons for this.  Let me explain to you why this 100+ hour labor of love is not quite finished yet:

You see, it all started when I rekindled my love for Microsoft Paint.  I remember spending lots of hours in junior high drawing pictures on the computer with my friend Jamie Thomas.  She was a budding computer animator herself; she once drew an inappropriate but awesome picture of Nick Kane being a butthead (literally) and making me cry (I haven't seen the picture in years and I can't find it, but it will be like finding a long-lost treasure if it ever surfaces on a hard drive somewhere).  Anyway, a couple of months ago I drew a few pictures on Jenny's computer and remembered how much I love paint, so obviously it only made sense that somehow I should incorporate this talent into Aaron's Christmas book.  I decided that I would illustrate the Twelve Days of Christmas, print it out and make it one of the sections of the book.  These would be quick, crappily drawn pictures, I assured myself.  I would have it all finished within a few hours...

It all started out innocently enough.  As you can see, the partridge in the pear tree is rather crudely drawn:

The two turtle doves were definitely more professional, but they were still pretty basic.  It was at this point that I decided my only prayer for doing this in a timely fashion would be to save my pictures, open them in Microsoft Publisher and then use the copy and paste function to create my multiples:

The real time management issues seemed to crop up when I drew the three French hens.  By this point, I had realized that I actually was better at drawing on a computer than I was with a pencil and paper.  Why draw crappy pictures when I can turn out real works of art??  As you can guess, by the time I got to the twelve drummers drumming, I had logged about 25 or 30 hours of computer time on drawing and formatting the pictures.
3 French Hens

4 Colly Birds
Sweat runnin' all over my 5 Gold Rings

6 Geese A-Laying

7 Swans A-Swimming

8 Maids A-Milking
9 Ladies Dancing
10 Lords A-Leaping
11 Pipers Piping

12 Drummers Drumming
I mean, by the time I was finishing, things were getting borderline ridiculous.  Just the cow for the 8 maids section took me over an hour to draw.  But when Aaron pulls out his trusty letter opener next December to slice open the section containing the 12 Days of Christmas, I'm sure he'll be blown away by the sheer awesomeness of the thing.  I already have the coverboards made and the section envelopes cut down and folded for it.  Now, all I have to do to finish the book is compile the stories for the other 24 sections...hhhhhhhh! actually I have most of them together, already.  And don't worry, I won't be illustrating any other sections.  That was taken care of by some scissors, glue, and the $3 copy of "Norman Rockwell's Christmas Book" that I found at the thrift store a couple weeks ago when I was buying my Christmas sweater.