Dusting off an Old Book

Books shouldn’t be judged if you use them for purposes they weren’t written for. Giving a book a new life by giving it a second chance is a wonderful thing.

    Use Jocasta Innes's "Paint Magic" for your journal projects, too.

Use Jocasta Innes’s “Paint Magic” for your journal projects, too.

Jocasta Innes’s book, Paint Magic is a book reborn for me. In the 80s, I bought it to give myself some new ideas for creating interesting painted walls. I recently discovered that the same techniques can be used in art projects.  Paint Magic did a great job for that alternative purpose, and I’m delighted to recommend it for book artists, which is why I purchased it.

Looking for some new techniques to create backgrounds for my art journals, I flipped through the pages and found a section on using gesso (a background that prepares a canvas or board for paint) and another on stenciling.

Each technique has a description of the effect, then includes preparation, materials, equipment, how-to and some variations. There are wonderful photos of the finished result (on walls).

Sure, the book includes rubber stamping on walls, but for journals, I recommend Graining (p. 106), marbling (p. 114) and ragging (p. 53). The techniques can be easily adapted and give delightful results.

–Quinn McDonald is a writer and certified creativity coach who is sifting through a lot of ideas to create a few good, new classes.  Don’t miss her local classes starting on March 9 in Paradise Valley, and her class at the White Tank Library in Waddell on March 23


6 thoughts on “Dusting off an Old Book

  1. Admittedly, I purchase a lot of books and it takes some time before I actually get around to reading them let alone putting some of the techniques to good use. But, other books, you know the ones that look like they have been dragged through a trough of gesso (and just might have been!) are real treasures because every time I look through them, a new idea pops up and nips at my heels until I go into the studio to try it out. I really like purchasing books from the local library’s second hand shoppe. Books taken out of circulation (some never made it on to the shelves!) are sold for less than a coffee at the kiosk would cost. I love finding children’s books that have the extra thick pages, perfect to hold a coat of gesso and be turned into anything from another children’s book, a cook book or even a book showcasing illuminated script.

    I dust off old books frequently in my studio which is where my giant sized bookcase resides. The book you mentioned is not on my shelves and so I’m making note of it and will keep my eyes open in hopes of finding it. If not, I will find a copy through one of the local book shoppes. The ideas/techniques you mentioned sound like ones that I would have fun with. You always have the best suggestions when it comes to books that I need to read or where I can find some inspiration and how to kick the Inner Critic to the curb and make sure that he has great difficulty getting back into my mind. Thank you for that Quinn!

    • Welllllll, I sometimes just discover books that edge their way to the front of the bookcase. I have huge numbers of books. I just found a collage book that I want to cut up to use the illustrations for . . . collage!

  2. I have the same book! I have used some of the techniques from the book on art projects other than walls too. My favorite technique remains the one I bought the book for….a bedroom wall. It’s something I look at every day. I’m so glad I took the time and energy to create that room.

  3. Does the way I use my second-hand copy of General Contractor’s Handbook count? The message of that book is just the right length. In other words, it’s exactly the right thickness, and I picked it out with a tape measure!

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