Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Practice Book - How and Why

People who have not altered a book are sometimes hesitant to start because there are so many options and they want their first book to be a masterpiece. Or- they have a natural hesitation to cut into or write on a book. Remember what we were told as children? Those things stick in our minds. But, you are going to work on a book that has been discarded, it is not the last existing book of that title - you can get another on to replace it if you want to. So, it is now - ta da! A bunch of blank canvases bound together. What could be more delicious? You'll be making art in it. What better way to recycle a book?

The Practice Book is where you can try new techniques and old techniques. You can make notes of what you've done to help with your next book. This is the place to experiment. When teaching, I give out sheets of exercises (prompts) I've printed out for practice books. I've been encouraged to publish them or market the label sheets - but I think I'll just share them with you here. Students soon become comfortable with the process of altering (attacking) a book when they have prompts. If you are thinking about starting your first book, you will find this very handy. Even if you've already done some altered books, sometimes it's fun to work on a practice book where you can try new things, or record some of your own favorites. I'll label these posts as Practice Book and give each one a number. Follow along if you like, and if you have some photos to share of your work, please post a link in the comment section so we can see what you did.


  1. a practice book is a great idea. especially to make notes on the techniques used. Would also be a good altered book to show publicly - nothing to personal in it.

  2. Laura Kay, I'm not one who used journaling in my books, that's way too personal to show. My books are made to show and teach. I normally don't sell them, but they get shown a lot. Sometimes your practice book takes on a life of it's own and becomes something wonderful. Let me know if you do a practice book. Janene