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  • Writer's pictureKaaren Poole

Fancy Table of Contents

I’m nearly finished with the sixth volume of my art journals. Hooray! All that’s left is the cover which I actually worked on several weeks ago but it's not attached to the journal, nor is it quite finished yet.

This spread, just inside the back cover, is actually the table of contents for the volume. It has a list of all the spreads, in order. And that list is on a paper bag that’s part of the left side of the spread. I put the paper bag in because there are a few notes I’d like to keep with the journal, and I thought this would be the perfect place to keep them.

But, about this spread.

I began with dotting the spread with pink and peach paints, then spread them with an old credit card. The paint didn’t entirely cover the paper, which is a tan color of Strathmore Mixed Media paper. Leaving some of the paper unpainted was intentional.

Then I trimmed the bag (kraft color) to the height I needed and carefully (so as not to glue the bag shut) glued it to the spread. Once that glue was dry I added paint to the bag as I had to the spread. Then I used a palette knife to spread some white paint on a piece of bubble wrap and pressed it here and there to create the pattern splotches of white dots. I also added a few drops of alcohol ink.

I drew the rat on a piece of copy paper, cut him out, and glued him on.

Then it was time for more work on the background.

As I often do, I chose a viny leafy design and drew the leaves and stems with pencil. Then it was time to paint the leaves, which I did with a transparent green acrylic. I also painted over the vine lines with a liner brush.

I surprised myself when I thought of the vines as berry brambles and drew and painted the berries. With the berries, I purposefully layered two colors which gave a slightly purplish red. This contrasts with the warmer pinks and peaches of the background.

The table of contents text was a bit of a challenge because I had pretty much covered the spread with the vines and didn’t want to cover a lot of them. My original thought was to write each spread name on a strip of paper, using different kinds with neutral tones, then glue them on the bag in a column. But that took too much room, so it was rime for a different idea.

I wrote the table of contents on my laptop, choosing one of my very favorite fonts, Mirosa. Then I printed it. My first try was too large‒took up too much room, that is. So I printed it a little smaller and ripped it from the page, leaving the smallest margins I thought I could get away with visually.

But I thought the white paper was too bright. So, after spraying it with Krylon Workable Fixatif so the ink wouldn’t smear, I “painted” it with strong tea. Sadly, I forgot about it for a while and it turned out darker than I had wanted. But the color was good, a nice warm brown. Oh, and before I soaked it in the tea I crumpled it up in a really small ball then unwrapped it. That left crinkles in the paper which absorbed more of the tea than the uncrinkly part of the paper, giving a nice texture.

Finally, time for the best part - the rat!

He doesn’t stand out from the background as much as I would have liked, but to achieve that, I’d have to darken his brown fur. I decided against that for a couple of reasons. First, I liked what I had going on. Second, even if I darkened his brown fur his paws would still be lost against the background since they’re nearly the same color. So I decided to leave him as he was, but to outline him a little more darkly with pencil.

I think he has a very sweet expression. He's obviously into his task as Art Journal Docent!

Finally, there were a few finishing touches.

I decided to thicken some of the stems, and I also added a few small collage elements on opposite corners of the bag. The pale turquoise looked really good with the other colors, so I added a few dabs of it in the background. Also, I smudged a little white on the bag and spattered a bit of pale peach paint. The last things was to add a thin border of red-violet around the very edge of the spread. (You can see this in the first photo in this post.) Red-violet is a color I very seldom use, but it seemed just right here.

Note to Self: Make more use of red-violet.


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1 Kommentar

Barb Dietrich
Barb Dietrich
06. Juni

I love the background on this spread. Also, I think that your table of contents is perfect. The tea-dye and the crumpled paper gives the whole spread a vintage look.

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