Sunday, October 25, 2020

Box making class with Andrew Huot

I over committed this month. I am doing Inktober, and also taking an online class, Preservation Enclosures, with Andrew Huot through Book Paper Thread. The website says the class will be offered again in 2021. I'm half way through the class. To start we did two kinds of wrappers and a soft sided slip case. Below is one of the wrappers and the slipcase.

Self-closing wrapper and soft sided slipcase, from Andrew Huot's class, Preservation Enclosures

Then we did a corrugated clamshell box. This was much easier than I expected. These are mainly intended as preservation enclosures, as the class title says. But there are other applications. I can easily modify the clamshell box to be a tray for storage of collage parts. The materials are already ordered.

Corrugated clamshell box, from Andrew Huot's class, Preservation Enclosures

Andrew is a good teacher. He is clear and explains what he's doing plus there are handouts. I learn so much better when I can watch someone go through the process. I have not taken any formal book arts classes. I did do one intense workshop years ago with Shereen LaPlantz which was good. And of course I watch videos online. But everyone has different ways of working and I don't absorb everything the first time around. This time I have learned stuff about gluing and measuring, aside from the box techniques. Being able to go back and watch the video multiple times is helpful. The one good thing about Covid is that there is so much online now. Andrew has taught at FOBA, and I had planned to go out there next time he was teaching. But this is much better for me. I don't travel well and it's exhausting and stressful. 

These are hard times for everyone. I often feel stressed and anxious about the future. Having something to do that takes my mind off all that for awhile has been helpful. I hope you are finding this break from normal life productive, or at least not too stressful. I know some people are busier than ever, and others are at loose ends. Which ever it is, I send you my best wishes.

Monday, September 28, 2020

A New Plan for Inktober


Two Inktober sketchbooks made with 7 pound canary tracing paper.

In early August I planned to do my Inktober drawings in a sketchbook I made with old envelopes. (That post is here) Recently I have been drawing on a pamphlet stitched pad of yellow 7 pound tracing paper so I could use the drawings in collages. Tonight I made a sketchbook with the tracing paper to use instead of the envelope sketch books. The new one is about 7 x 9 inches, a size I usually prefer for sketching. It's also just a stack of papers pamphlet stitched together. When I am done I will cut the thread and coat all the drawings I like with matte medium.

Interesting layers of images may lead to a new idea.

There is an additional benefit to this paper. There are times when I get composition ideas from the layers of sketches. I am using d'Atramentis document inks in grey, dark red and a mixture of turquoise and brown that is very close to black. They are a little slow to dry but these colors are waterproof once they are dry.

Thursday, September 03, 2020

Coating collage papers with matte medium


Drawings on architect's tracing paper, coated with matte medium

I have been not very energetic lately, but a good way to keep busy is to clean the studio - that hasn't happened yet - or to draw on architect's tracing paper for future use in collage. I like to draw faces or patterns. This is a low- risk activity. If I don't like a face it can be tossed, or maybe cut into pieces. Drawing patterns is very meditative. I coat the tracing paper with matte medium to pre-size it and make it more translucent. 

Drawings on architect's tracing paper, coated with matte medium

It seems to work best if I coat both sides at the same time, so I have been using old seed catalogs, painting one side of the tracing paper, flipping it over immediately and painting the other side. The seed catalog page gets pretty wet with matte medium, but I just keep going. I also use this method to coat my collage papers with a mixture of PVA and water before using so they don't curl quite as much. The inks are all d'Atramentis document inks. They are pretty waterproof and permanent. I do find the red ink smears a bit if I brush over it several times. The tracing paper is not as absorbent as drawing paper, some other inks also smear. Pitt brush pens will completely dissolve the d'Atramentis inks on this tracing paper.

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Preparing for Inktober I made two small sketchbooks from envelopes


I have been saving envelopes for a couple of years, ever since I bought a few sketchbooks made with mail from Helen Coldwell at badbooks on etsy. I used one of Helen's books for Inktober in 2018 and enjoyed it very much. She isn't making the mailed format any more, but does have mixed paper books in several sizes. I just recently bought a couple of those, they are equally fun, and I didn't have to make them.

This year I thought I should take out the big pile of envelopes and make them into something. I did add in some graph paper, some gridded paper, a few other things. But it's 90% envelopes. The cover is an old cardboard box, covered with an envelope a dear friend sent me stuff in. (Thank you Wendy!) I lined the spine with some super to make it stronger. 

This year I plan to do a very low pressure Inktober. No pressure at all actually. I will draw with ink every day, but it may just be a 5 minute doodle and I won't feel bad about that.

Monday, August 10, 2020

Solution for warping paper with collage

Blind contour drawing with collage. Judith Hoffman 2020
Blind contour drawing on collage. Judith Hoffman 2020

 In my last post I was worried about collaged papers warping. I got a number of suggestions from my book arts group and friends online. I think I have found a solution that is not perfect but will work for my method of collaging. Most of these are in my Flickr albums.

Here are my notes, which I intend to print and hang on the wall in my studio.

  • Try to have grain of substrate and major collage pieces in same direction.
  • Coat back and front of substrate with Gold matte medium. (not liquid matte medium). Coat one side, allow to dry, coat other side, allow to dry. 
  • Draw on tissue paper (yellow stuff I have been calling architect's tracing, but may not really be that. It's light yellow, in a roll.) - at least the blind contour can be drawn on, can also add hatching. Coat back and front of tissue paper with matte medium to increase transparency. Coat one side, allow to dry, coat other side, allow to dry.
  • Make the collage using PVA for the opaque papers.
  • Add the transparent papers using matte medium as the glue. The would be last or almost last to take advantage of the transparency and layers. While adding transparent papers paint the whole collage with matte medium.
  • Between all stages dry under stacks of books.
  • It is possible to draw on the collage with d'Atramentis inks at this stage. Adding small details and patterns.
  • If the collage is still too warped when it's done, wrap in a damp dish cloth (smooth texture like the black and white ones), wrap in waxed paper, leave under a few books for 15 minutes. Put between two pieces of blotter paper, leave at least overnight. First test was about 18 hours. Things are not perfectly flat but fine with me. Things can take days or a week to dry in blotters.

Blind contour drawing with collage. Judith Hoffman 2020
Looking Back, blind contour drawing with hatching and collage. Judith Hoffman 2020

Substrates that have worked:

  • Bockingford - has textured surface like cold press. 
  • Rising Bristol 2 ply - very slight texture.
  • Strathmore mixed media - also fairly smooth.
  • Fabriano Artistico 300 lb. 

Saturday, August 08, 2020

What to do - I love glue

5 x 7 postcard. Blind contour, drawing, collage. Judith Hoffman

Well, it's more like "I love PVA." I have been trying to make collages on postcard size pieces of paper. The paper tends to curl. I'm using both 90 pound papers and 300 pound papers as substrates, both coated on two sides with Matte medium. Next I collage on some background papers for texture and interest, using PVA. These are not coated before collaging. My blind contour drawings go on top of the "texture" papers. They are on tracing paper because it's pretty transparent. The tracing paper shrinks a lot when glued down, so I coat it with matte medium on both sides, allow to dry, then glue it down with more matte medium. Neither substrate stays flat. Although I think things are improved by coating both sides of the papers. My process is intuitive, and I try to be fairly fast. I don't really want to plan every step, coat all the papers and then wait for them to dry before doing the collage.

5 x 7 postcard. Blind Contour drawing, collage. Judith Hoffman

There is a method, invented by Jonathan Talbot, where you coat all your papers with gloss medium and them iron them together. I have tried it, and it works perfectly. It even works with matte medium. It's almost too perfect. You have to have a plan, coat all papers, then iron everything in place. I am resisting that at the moment. I hate ironing and planning and really like the glue process. 

Transfer test, using Talbot transfer paper

I am also experimenting with transfers, thinking I could use that method instead of the drawings on tracing papers. Above is the first test - I drew on the Talbot transfer paper, ironed it to an old book page and after wetting the page, I rubbed off the transfer paper. I think this would work okay with a stronger substrate. But again it's not a fun process. If the whole collage was sealed with matte medium, I think this would work okay. The rubbing is tedious, although the Talbot paper comes off pretty easily. I wonder why I think this is supposed to be fun? I do also like the warm yellowish tones of the tracing paper. They show a little in both the postcards above.

Work table testing zone
And finally a shot of my work table. It's just a big sheet of 4 by 8 plywood on shelves so I cover it with this old yellow paper I got very cheap years ago. It's the perfect surface to test whatever I am about to draw with.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

I attempt a larger drawing

Two handed drawing, black ink and Pitt pen. Details done with dominant hand. Judith Hoffman, 2020

For Lori Don Levan, who suggested trying these larger. It seems to be hard for me to make a larger blind contour drawing. I think part of how I keep my place while drawing is to not move my hand much. But here is a two handed drawing. It's about 8.5 by 11 inches. Not large, really, but to me it is. In my left (dominant hand) I held a black pen, in my right hand I held a sanguine Pitt pen. After doing the drawing I used my dominant hand to finish with the hatching and other details. This was fun, I would recommend trying it if you haven't. I'm not that happy with the final result, but I like the scribbly mess. I tried to follow my dominant hand pen with the non-dominant one, but wasn't able to that well. It certainly short circuits your brain so neither line is very accurate. I think there is potential there, mostly as another way to get a weird wonky drawing to work on. Thanks Lori, fun idea.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

The blind contour drawing project surprise

Go By Bus. Non dominant sketch, collage, experiment by Judith Hoffman, 2020
I am about halfway through my 100 Blind Contour project. This one counts, although it's non-dominant. They are all experiments. I am working toward using more collage with the drawings, trying to keep everything loose and fast. Just to be clear - the basic initial sketch is non dominant or blind contour. But after that I use my dominant hand, looking at the drawing, to add hatching, little details, etc.

Blind contour with hatching, collage. Judith Hoffman, 2020
I am so much loving the weird distortions most of these drawings have. The appeal is that I am surprised. Normally I tend to draw carefully and these are not at all what I expect. In this group the backgrounds are 5 x 7 pieces of heavy watercolor paper. I collage on whatever I find on my work table. The faces are drawn on architect's tracing paper, then collaged over the drawings. Then I add more hatching, texture, etc.
Blind contour drawing, hatching, collage. Judith Hoffman, 2020
This one needed some white to brighten up areas, I used a Posca pen. There are more in my Flickr albums. There are albums for my friend Eileen, my husband Jim, and now for myself. More to come as I get more photos from friends.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Art That Was Never Finished

Arguably the very best video ever posted by The Art Assignment. Extremely interesting and moving. They have disallowed posting on Facebook, so I won't put it there.

Be safe everyone, take care of yourselves and your family.

Monday, June 22, 2020

Jim Blind Contour

Jim blind contour drawing. Jim does crossword puzzles every day. 
I am not keeping a precise count. So far there may be 40 completed drawings. And many more blind contour drawings. I don't count them because they are so quick to do, and when they aren't interesting to me I don't take them further. Of course there are some completed that I am not crazy about.

So far I have learned:

  • Using fluid mat medium for collage isn't good if I plan to draw on top. Mat medium is good to glue down tissue paper. Brushed over the top it makes the tissue paper more transparent. But it repels pen ink.
  • I really like the tannish papers with black and white ink. 
  • I got better at the blind contours so I had to switch to non-dominant blind contour. 
  • I got better at remembering how many eyes I have drawn, so have started cheating at times and adding a third one. 
  • I have no idea what to do with these. I keep wanting a finished project. It's my complete-ist brain.
  • Adding collage takes a lot of time and thought.
  • I am overwhelmed by the social part of this - blog post, Facebook, Instagram, Flickr. I need a way to streamline.

Friday, June 19, 2020

A new subject, more blind contour

Blind contour on doodled background
Jim very sweetly volunteered to be a blind contour subject. He likes the distorted effect. Above is the first blind contour, done on a book page I doodled on years ago.

Analog blind contour

This is the analog version. Compared to the digital version below, I would like to make some changes. But of course can't.

Digital version of blind contour, done in Procreate
The blind contour was scanned and imported to Procreate where I could play with things like pen thickness and was able to erase to achieve the thin white lines. I'm trying to balance having a loose drawing with the amount of detail I like. I should have used a finer pen for the analog version. As a friend likes to say "onward."

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Blind Contour Drawing Challenge

Blind contour drawing on a piece of star chart

This is part of my Eileen blind contour project, which is expanding into a larger project.

Superman's Pal, blind contour on comic book page
This current group of blind contour drawings started with 12 book pages, one piece of a star chart and one comic book page. The four here are the ones I have completed so far. I painted most of the pages with slightly watered down titanium white acrylic paint to muffle the print and images.

Blind contour, hatching, collage
Then I did the blind contour drawings with a variety of pens I had on hand. Mostly Uniball Vision Elite pens, which have black ink tinted with various colors. I am still using the photos from Eileen, but will probably branch out soon. I want to try other faces and some objects, like chairs. After doing the blind contours, I scanned all the pages and imported them to Procreate on my iPad. I can do multiple digital versions and of course one analog version. These four are the analogs.

Blind contour on book page, hatching, collage
In looking at these I think there is possibility. I like the one on the star chart, mostly I think because the eye happened to fall in that light circle. (Jupiter) But I do love dark backgrounds. And I didn't even try to add collage. The Superman's Pal is appealing to me for some reason. Lots to look at, the head floats on the page. I don't like the big white bits of paper, and that warning symbol seems pointless in that context. And the drawing and the comic book page have no theme connection. The one with the postage stamps is okay, I do like the eyes high in the face. I couldn't find anything to collage on that I liked, the stamps were the closest I could come. The last one is just okay too. But I do like the different faces, including that there is one looking away from us. And there is more room for the collage in this one. Maybe it needs a pattern in the background?

If you have thoughts, leave a comment here or on Facebook. I am always interested in other people's opinions. You probably see things differently, which can be interesting.

*"A bunch" might be more accurate. If I find something else to work on, feel I have learned what I can or just get tired of the project, I will stop. If I am loving it after 100, of course I will continue.

Friday, May 29, 2020

And yet more Zymoglyphic finds

"There's treasure everywhere"
Still working on defining Zymoglyphic. Here are the previous posts. On the wall of the Zymoglyphic Museum Jim has this Calvin and Hobbes cartoon.

This is a particularly interesting find. It's crushed aluminum, found on the street. The age, dirt and texture transforms it into something strange.

This piece of wood caught my eye because it looks so animated, like a little person. I'm very curious to see what it becomes in the museum.

Another stick that doesn't really look like a stick.

This is a piece of a tree that must have blown over in a recent storm. There was bark and moss all over the street so Jim made a nice pile of the good stuff and we continued our walk up to Mt. Tabor. When we came back down the slope we could see the tree removal team was already there. Jim can walk much faster than I can, so I said to him "rush over there and get your stuff." Jim went over and told the guy by the truck he just wanted to pick up some moss and bark. The guy said "okay." But as Jim walked away I saw him kind of roll his eyes and shrug. Very funny. I assume he was thinking "only in Portland do we get these odd balls." But Jim did recover all his bits, that's the important part. This one is about 15 inches long and 12 wide. Some of the smaller pieces with lots of moss were placed in the garden. A few years ago Jim found some pieces of a tree that had been cut down, they had ferns and moss growing on them. He brought them home and put them under a shrub. The ferns have rooted and are happily growing there. The moss didn't transplant so well, but moss is hard to move.

Here's a very nice piece of plastic. New plastic is horrible, but when weathered it can be interesting. This one looked like it had potential to be a good stand.

A large weathered piece of bone. Unfortunately I don't remember anything about finding this.

This is my most recent find - and one of my all time favorite finds. It was on the sidewalk. Can you read the photo? It's a leg from an animal statue. Really gorgeous weathering and so much potential. This is a work of art in itself.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Blind Contour Drawing Challenge

Blind contour drawing on paper, scanned
and completed in Procreate.

After looking at these art prompts, my friend Eileen and I decided to try a quick drawing exercise. The parameters we choose were to make six by six inch drawings using blind contour or non-dominant hands for 20 minutes a day for five days. The drawing above conveys Eileen's spirit better than a more detailed drawing could.

Blind contour drawing scanned into Procreate
where hatching was added.

We exchanged around seven selfies (I got photos of Eileen, she got mine.) I was concerned I didn't have enough time because I had just signed up for a Sktchy class that would probably take six hours a week.

The original blind contour drawing which was the
foundation of the two drawings above.
I started doing a few non-dominant hand drawings, but I love the unpredictable nature of blind contour, so that's what I focused on. On the first day I was hooked. I stopped watching the Sktchy videos (they are on YouTube, so I can watch later.) I spent my 20 minutes doing four or five blind contour drawings, then another hour amplifying one of the drawings. After a few days I started using Procreate, a drawing app I favor on my iPad. After another day or so I was struggling with keeping to the "blind" part. The photo and the canvas in Procreate are right next to each other so it wasn't hard to see what was going on in my peripheral vision.

Screen shot of Procreate canvas. Layers show the solid black layer
with a drawing layer above. When the black layer is turned off,
the blind contour drawing is revealed.
Then I realized I could create a solid color layer, then make another layer above that and draw with the same solid color. (see screen shot above) That way I couldn't possibly see what I was drawing. When I was done with the blind contour part, I turned off the solid layer to reveal the drawing. The best part of this is that I don't remember what I have drawn, so there are two right eyes and two left earrings. I also raised my pencil at times, which adds a lot more randomness. More layers could be added for things such as background textures as in the drawing below.

The developed screen shot blind contour above.

The background on this one is a scan of a copy machine error that Eileen gave me last year. I tend to over-do these, in a way I don't think they need a lot of detail. But I'm just going with what I enjoy. I love black and white and contrast, so filling in some areas adds to the interest for me. There are more drawings in this Flickr album.

Monday, May 25, 2020

Free mini-book based on A Child's Introduction to the Wonders of Space

Free Mini-book by Judith Hoffman based on
A Child's Introduction to the Wonders of Space
This one is based on A Child's Introduction to the Wonders of Space. I took some of my favorite pages and cropped them to make a one sheet mini book. Download it here. You can find instructions to make this book here.

Free mini-book by Judith Hoffman based on
A Child's Introduction to the Wonders of Space

The original book was inspired by a copy of The Golden Book of Astronomy we found in Jim's brother's room when Alan died. I love the marks Alan made as a little kid. In the image above he has drawn the constellations pictured with a red crayon. To make sure we know which constellations they are, he also drew arrows. And he x'ed out Perseus, who was apparently not interesting to Alan. The whole story can be found at the link above to the larger one-of-a-kind book. You can view more free download books by clicking on the "Free for All"  and the "Zines" label in the sidebar.

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Drawing at Home

This is Bill Ramey, his photo is in the Sktchy app. Drawn on the iPad in Procreate, I spent around 2 hours on this. I used the 6B pencil brush. This month I'm doing a class in Sktchy Art School with France Van Stone - Draw at Home with France. She chooses a muse and the class draws together for at least an hour, 3 days a week. The classes are also available on YouTube to watch later. There are a few free classes on Sktchy Art School, but I don't think any are on Procreate. There are some paid classes on Procreate there. I believe all the classes are $30 each.

This is Dylan Sara, also on the Sktchy app. This drawing took 1 hour 45 minutes. The text is a quote from France. "The interesting thing about cross-hatching is where the lines intersect." She is suggesting hatch at a slight angle, not at right angles. The rough sketch was done with a 6b pencil and the drawing was done with a Rusty Nib brush, from True Grit. Procreate comes with a large number of brushes, but you can also purchase all kinds of interesting stuff on the internet. (Right now True Grit is offering a free sample pack when you sign up for a newsletter.)

I have an iPad Pro and an Apple Pencil. There are pros and cons to using a digital drawing program. I wouldn't use Procreate exclusively, but I would never give it up either. Right now I am trying to improve my mark making on the iPad.

Video of the drawing process. Procreate records your marks and makes these videos, you have to remember to turn on the setting the first time you use it. Here I started with the photo copied to the Procreate page. In the end I cropped it away. I also have the rough sketch on a separate layer that I turned off in the end.

1. I think the erase feature is my favorite thing in Procreate. I can come back and draw into an area that is too dark with the eraser, making tiny white lines. If I use a colored background, the eraser uncovers that color. The eraser can be set to any brush, so if you are using a Rusty Nib to draw with, the erased mark is also gritty, like the Rusty Nib. This looks great.
2. The Apple Pencil works very much like a regular pencil, so it's easy to get used to.
Procreate comes with many brushes. A lot of them imitate real world tools pretty well. I like the 6B pencil, the hard and soft airbrush (great for erasing away backgrounds), the gel pen, and some texture brushes that imitate rusted decay, concrete block, waste land, heavy metal, twisted tree, etc. I don't use the last to make a twisted tree, but they are good for imparting gritty textures or creating a scribbly mess that you might see something interesting in.
3. There are also third party brushes you can order online. I favor the True Grit brushes, but also have some Tip Top,  and a few of Georg's brushes. It is possible to create your own brushes or tweak existing brushes.
4. A drawing can go faster in Procreate, especially if I know what I'm doing.
5. And of course there is less to carry around if you draw on the iPad. And minimal storage issues.
6. With some practice, you can imitate traditional media. Lewis Rossignol has a great youtube video here about how he does that. When I scanned an in-progress drawing and tried adding different things in Procreate, I wasn't able to get the same level of detail with my traditional media. For me it works better for collage, assuming you are careful to not change the scale of your parts. I need more practice.
7. It's easy to draw on your lap, no going upstairs to get an eraser or my favorite pen. Especially nice in the evening when I'm tired. Of course I keep a pile of art supplies and a sketchbook where I sit in the evening, so maybe this Pro doesn't count.
8. There is an undo command. I try to not use this, but do fall back on it sometimes. It is also nice to use the eraser function, which often looks more "real" anyway.
9. You can resize your canvas. Say you don't have enough room for all the hair - you can just make your drawing a bit smaller and move it down.
10. Procreate has many commands similar to Photoshop. The handbook is online - it will give you an idea of the versatility. I like to lower the opacity on my rough sketch layer if it's too dark.
11. You can use Procreate like a piece of paper and a pencil or pen. You don't need to delve into all the extra stuff until you feel a need for it. I is very intuitive.
12. You have the option of layers, which are handy sometimes. You could put a rough sketch on one layer, the final drawing on the one above. Your lowest layer is the background - you can assign any color to this.
13. If you have a "middle aged" iPad, you can probably still use Procreate. The very old ones don't work with the new version of Procreate. You won't have the Apple Pencil with the middle aged iPad, but you can find other styluses that work almost as well.

1. Probably the biggest con is the cost. These things aren't cheap. I resisted the iPad until my son and husband bought me one years ago. It took me about a week to get hooked. Procreate itself is $6, which is a huge bargain.
2. The surface of the iPad feels very slick, something that makes it harder to draw on. I have a matt screen protector. It cuts down the glare, but still feels pretty smooth. I am gradually getting used to that.
3. I find it much harder to control lines on the iPad. Hatching is particularly difficult. I can't control the line length or darkness as well as in the real world. If I delved into the settings I should be able to make it a little less sensitive, I just haven't looked into that. And I'm not sure it would help. I think I just need more practice.
4. Because it's possible to zoom in, I can easily get too detailed and work the drawing to death. But then I can do that with real world tools too.
5. A few years ago I would have said a con was the lack of online tutorials. The manual takes you through each tool step by step, and is very thorough. But for me, seeing things being put to use works better for learning. Now there are more online tutorials. Quite a few are free.
6. Many people don't like the idea of digital, it's not "real." There is a certain validity to that, you don't end up with a single drawing that is fixed in size. Worse, there is a lack of tactile feedback. Or a different tactile feedback. I see it as a new tool to try. People resisted acrylic paints for years too. But they are very versatile and have gained acceptance.
7. Watercolors seem to be the hardest things to imitate digitally. I haven't really explored all the watercolor brushes, but I think some people aren't impressed. If that's important to you, you would need to do some research. Or if you have an iPad already, get Procreate and try some out.
8. A con (or pro?) may be the ability to make copies as backups and to continue working on one of the files. It leads me to fiddling too much. When I look at the drawing of Dylan above, I see several things I want to work on. (his beard looks like a furry animal clamped itself to his chin.) It's probably better to move forward.
9. I'm not sure this is a con - many of the sample drawings on the procreate folio page are pretty slick and finished looking. This makes them less appealing to me. There are some painterly paintings. I believe Karen Devine uses Procreate to mix together photos, drawings and collage elements to make dreamy images.

Sorry, I didn't mean for this to get so long. I do love Procreate. Are you using Procreate in any way? I'd love to see what you are doing.

Saturday, April 25, 2020

new book - A child's introduction to the wonders of space

I think I finished this book in January, but it took awhile to get the photography stuff set up and then to figure out how to use my camera. For a photographer's daughter, and someone who loves pinhole photography, I am certainly bad at using cameras. This time I made notes.

(All these images enlarge) Jim and his younger brother Alan were close when they were kids. Jim has memories of making Alan laugh when he started crying. As they got older, they took different life paths, seeing each other mostly for family gatherings and holiday dinners. Alan died suddenly at 51. When we cleaned out his apartment, we were sad to realize we didn’t know him well.

A year after Alan died their mom went into residential care, so Jim and I cleaned out their childhood home. Among many other things, we found a copy of The Golden Book of Astronomy that had drawings and scribbles in it. Jim has his childhood copy, which is worn but not marked up, so this must have been Alan’s copy. Jim supposes that Alan scribbled in his book so their mom got Jim another copy, and the marked up book went to Alan.

I saved a lot of stuff when we cleared up, mostly old books and comic books. Most of the books were added to a pile of old books I keep for collage. They were mostly geology texts and some field guides. When I was making sketch books and didn’t have enough book board on hand, I thought I would use covers from some of my the old books. I don't normally make altered books, so I thought the covers wouldn't be needed.

After cutting down the cover of The Golden Book of Astronomy there was a horizontal piece left over that contained the title. Things lie ignored on my work table until I feel I must pick up. Seeing the scrap sitting there day after day made me think the long shape with the title would make a very appealing cover for a book. From there I made pages to fit the cover. The obvious content was the marks Alan made in the book and his old comics. Preserving these childhood marks makes me feel more connected to Alan. Of course I had to add a lot of collage and my own marks to the pages, but the scribbles are all Jim and Alan's.

In this last page it looks like Jim wrote his name and Alan's for Alan to trace over. Under the flap on the right hand page is just a shortened version of this blog post. It ends with "Good bye Alan - we'll look for you on the dark side of the moon."