Raw-Art Journal Cover-to-Cover

After years of keeping a journal, I decided to try something new–to make an art journal from the ideas, sketches, and fun parts of my journals. Instead of keeping notes, images, sketches as I do in my journal, I made this one deliberately, cover to cover.

Here are some of the images.

The front cover is made by covering Arches Text Wove with gesso, writing in it with a corner of a credit card, then adding India Inks in black and brown. After drying, I used purple pastels and another coat of gesso. When it was completely dry, I rubbed it–hard–with a cloth. It looks like leather. I’ve never been able to make purple come out well with a camera, and this is no exception–the band looks blue, although it is the same purple as in the cover, which is a good deal more subtle than it looks.

Book Cover with buttoning closure band © Quinn McDonald, all rights reserved, 2009

Found Art starts as a photograph. It’s of something ordinary, that I can see something in. I then print the photograph and alter it using colored pencils or watercolor pencils. You can see the after and before right under it. On the right is a great way to keep your journal writing secret, if you aren’t keeping a journal for fear someone will find it. Write, cut into strips, weave the strips into a design.

Found Art ©Quinn McDonald, all rights reserved 2008-9

This is what the original photo looked like.

Photo of vine on brick wall, © Quinn McDonald, all rights reserved, 2009

The second spread has raw art on the left that serves as a pocket for an accordion journal. The opposite page has found poetry on it.

Raw art on left, Found Poetry on right © Quinn McDonald, all rights reserved 2009

The next spread has found poetry on the left and a gate-fold page on the right.

Found poetry on left, gate-fold mountain page on right, pierced and inked

The gate-fold is pierced so there are patterns on the front and back. It is also inked, raw-art style and one of the lines serves as a guideline for journaling. The image is done on both sides.

The next spread is another version of found poetry. I cut a page from a book, circled the words that created the poem, colored in the rest of the page. I then cut holes in the page and applied it to an inked and painted journal page.

Found poetry on left, Rorschach on right. © Quinn McDonald, all righs reserved 2009

The right side is a Rorschach-like paint blot. I cut out the sides and placed them next to each other. There is a fire-like design in the interference gold and the blue part.

The closing band is held onto the back with a button that I attached while sewing the binding into place. There are two buttons sewn into the paper of the band. To keep them from pulling out, I lined the ends of the band in Tyvek–an polypropylene paper used in Fed-Ex envelopes and house insulation.

The fun parts were the gate-fold and the accordion-fold book that make up the entire book. The whole book isn’t shown, but you can see it on Flickr.

Quinn McDonald is a writer and artist who works at the intersection of words and illustration to create raw-art, available to people who think they can’t draw but want to create art journals.

2 thoughts on “Raw-Art Journal Cover-to-Cover

  1. I love this! Beautiful, and thank you for telling us how you did it too. Very original, not like other art journals I’ve seen. It’s always inspiring to me to see something beautiful and out of the ordinary. Blessings, O

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