This is a book I made this week that has the pages working as illustrations in support of the text of a poem. Here is the poem.
The Perfect Time for Writing
I have waited for this perfect time for writing.
The gift of hours
alone in a room
with only the sounds of birds and breezes
coming through an open window.
I hold my pen
over the first blank page
while grasping at fleeting thoughts.
None stay with me
long enough to get on the page.
Nearly one of my hours has gone.
I was sure that if I came here
to this room
armed with a blank pad of paper
and a pen eager to race along with me
then I could write about something.
Something that did not require
The text is the priority of this book, so the illustrations must be in service to that text. They cannot be more important or visually make themselves more important.
So here is my thinking process. I only want one signature stitched to a black soft covered book. Card stock make up the folios and the inside of the covered soft cover. I needed the cover to not be stiff but gently contain the story and spaced pages.
I wanted the pages spaced because I wanted to create a feeling of moving through a space….in this case a room to get to the text.
We start with the front door.
Then the window.
Then the pen held at the slant of writing.
If I had just used the two folios against each other I would have lost the sense of space. So there are short spacer folios between them and in behind the one between the pen cut out and the poem there is even another glued to the back of the short folio but with its fold facing toward the foredge.
So at the top edge of the book it appears to flair out from the spine.
Looking close you can see that all I did was put two short spacer folios close together between the two main folios. Remember this book only has four separate pages. It is bound with a simple pamphlet stitch….three holes with the tied knot out the back of the spine.
Now the interesting thing for me was that while I was binding the book and jabbing that pesky needle into the holes, I pricked my finger, hard. At the time the opening first page was just a blank page on each side and the second page had two rectangular holes at the top so it could be the door.
Because this first page was the one with the poem on its other end I had to decide whether to make another page and start again or get rid of the blood all over one section on the upper part of the page.
Simple. Make two more rectangles below the other two and now I have a window….the poem does make reference to a window. Then cut out the blood stained section to be the upper door window and put two long architectural slits in the door to even look more like a door.
So now the viewer enters a room with an open window and sees a pen in the writing position….all before reading the poem.
This was fun to figure out. It is what I am tasking myself with now.
A group of friends in Australia and myself have decided that we should try to make books each month. And then share the results with each other. None of us are blank book makers….the book has to be about something. We learn different bindings and different ways of illustrating our pages in the process.
I am thinking that because I already do a drawing a day and am working on the wildflowers book, I need to find a different way to illustrate. So I am trying these cut outs that let the text come through in glimpses more or less.
So yesterday I had time to do my next poem. It is very timely.
We are told to keep a social distance.
Six feet away from anyone else.
They say that’s how far the virus
can travel on our spoken words.
I don’t want to be social right now.
I don’t need to speak to anyone.
And with just one look
they will know to keep their distance.
Because their over there should be
nowhere near my over here.
For now I will be distant and alone
until someone is allowed to get close enough
to hold me.
I like this bit of writing. It seems to suit me right now and maybe several others as well. Because I was writing in the apartment and not near my studio I used some of my writing pad to draw out and then tear out my ideas for how this book should reinforce the text with the cut outs and the form of the book itself. Here is some of the pages of thinking visually.
In a few more days I will have time to get this book put together and will show you the end result. There is absolutely no place to make a mistake or drip blood in my plans so I will have to be extra careful.
Also here are the the last four days of drawings a day.
that has either pink or white
blossoms along stems.
that is now completely spent
and still beautiful.
I only bought two
small pots of this ground cover
that covers the yard.
Rabbits left this one
lone clover blossom for me
to draw this morning.
I just want to return to one more thought on illustrations in the service to the text. Remember Kidnapped or Treasure Island and those gripping illustrations by N.C. Wyeth? Those pirates with buckles on their shoes and wide leather belts holding up pants on heavily-muscled torsos? None of those would be in our memories if the words had not been written in the first place. Those pictures illustrated the powerful text that carried us through the story. They were not picture books….they were illustrated classic novels. At no time would we have considered trying to read the story by looking at the pictures alone.
The text is the priority and any way I create an illustration or binding of the book, it will be in service to that text. And it is going to be fun to do.