Digging through my piles of partially-started journals, I found one I really liked. Why didn’t I continue using it? I liked the paper inside–heavy enough for sketches and light washes, provided they don’t require a lot of scrubbing. The top paper layer did dissolve, but I generally don’t soak my journal pages.
Why had I abandoned this journal? After staring at it for a minute, I realized the cover was too busy, the paint stencil over the newspaper-print butterflies didn’t suit the delicate swirls on the cover.
Most of my journal covers are dark brown or black. If I make the journal myself, I use a dark color–it shows less wear. Even when I loose-leaf journal, the covers or carriers are usually dark.
Yep, I was that shallow–judging a book by its cover. And not using it because I didn’t like the cover. Milliseconds later, I grabbed paper and collaged the cover, leaving the pretty purple color and swirls in space and covering the butterflies with geometric shapes.
Since then, I’ve been using it regularly. Who knew that such a small thing could make such a big difference? As an artist, I should have. But I was embarrassed at my own “shallowness.” Until I thought about it. We buy by preference–color, texture, shading. I wouldn’t buy the shoes on the left, for example, although someone did. And wore them with great flair.
My experiment of book-cover altering bring up another idea: the things we use have to fit our hands, our hearts, and our pleasures. Or we won’t use them. It’s not always about practical and usefulness. Sometimes it’s about sheer pleasure.
--Quinn McDonald judges a book by its cover. She tries not to do the same for people.