Here's a fun project to give a new life to an old book! Great for rainy days, crafting with children, and people who think they don't have an artistic bone in their body. This instructable includes making a photocopy transfer, dripping liquid watercolor and using clear matte medium with paper strips as techniques for artmaking. Enjoy!
You will need:
Acrylic matte medium
Paintbrush, medium or wide
A Canvas (shown here with a 5x7)
A photocopy of a high contrast image in black and white (use a LASER printer/copier, not inkjet- thanks for the update there, psychoduckie)
Oil pastels, liquid watercolors or acrylic paints as desired
Tip: Suggested by Framistan (thanks!)- When choosing an old book to use for a project like this, I recommend selecting a book that is already falling apart and is fairly common. Here I used The Iliad, and there were several copies of it at the thrift store where I grabbed it (a great place to find old books, by the way). If you have a unique, good condition or sentimental book, you can always make copies of the pages and cut those up instead. The only difference is that most copy paper will be more opaque and brighter white than old book pages.
Step 1: Cut strips of paper
Step 2: Layer canvas with medium
Step 3: Place strips of paper
Step 4: Building up layers
Tip- your fingertips will get clumpy, dry medium buildup quickly. Either wipe it off on a rag as you go or just rub it off (like we used to do as kids with Elmer's glue) to avoid getting clumps of medium stuck into your painting. You can put some strips of paper between your fingers for quick access.
Step 5: Don't forget the edges
Step 6: Add an image with photocopy transfer
In this piece, I used an illustration from a vintage Good Housekeeping Guide. Make a black and white photocopy of your image. Trim it close to the borders of the image, but keep the paper a semi-regular shape so it's easier to peel off later.
Apply a thin layer of matte medium to the face of your photocopy image and the area on your canvas that you'll be applying it, and stick it down.
Tip: Tweak the contrast on your image on the copier or in your photo editing program for a crisp, dark transfer.
Step 7: Finish the transfer
Now let the paper dry. It does not have to be completely dry, but if you touch it and it still feels cool or moist, wait. When you think it's ready, slowly peel a corner of the paper away. Peek in to see if the copy toner is staying on the canvas as planned, or coming off with the paper. If it's coming off with the paper, it needs to dry some more. If you used a lot of medium, it will take a little longer to dry.
Once you peel off the paper, you should see the toner behind a thin layer of remaining paper. Rub the remaining paper off with your fingertips. It will come off in little balls. If you have trouble with this, you can lightly dampen it with water and rub with a soft rag (or fingers).
Step 8: Pick words to emphasize
Use the acrylic matte medium if you want to thin/blend color as seen here with the magenta. Here, I applied a thin layer of matte medium to the center of the painting, then began brushing the magenta on from the bottom of the painting. As I reached the medium, the paint on my brush mixed in with the clear medium and gave a blended appearance.
Step 9: Add color and movement
You can also drop a little bit of water on the edges of the watercolor drops on your canvas, which will thin the color a little and give it a different look. Try dabbing some of the watercolor with a rag or paper towel as it dries as well for more variance in tone.
Once you have it how you like it, let it dry flat to keep it that way. It may take several hours to dry fully. Or, while the drops are wet, quickly stand up your canvas in a direction you'd like them to drip in (their pattern may be affected by the paper strips unless you have a thick layer of medium over them).
Step 10: Enjoy it!
I created a few paintings in this style recently as part of ArtProject2010, a self-imposed challenge I've undertaken to create a new piece of art every day for a year. It isn't always easy to find inspiration. I've always loved language, so this method is a great way for me to kickstart the flow of creativity. I hope you find it does the same for you. And if you enjoyed this instructable, please stop by my blog: http://ArtProject2010.info and say hello!