Category Archives: Bookbinding

Durham Gala

A concertina panorama book – see the archive for other such books and how they’re made.

procession of banners & musicians
image-2212
procession of banners & musicians

Each year in July, the Durham Gala is held and is a very popular event.  Originally it was a miners’ gala because this was primarily a holiday for the families of miners of the north east of England, which, in a bygone era, was a massively exploited coalfield.   Nowadays, the Gala is a major attraction for people from miles around and the centrepiece of the event is a huge procession of banners, bands and entertainment through the streets to the riverside playing fields where speeches by dignitaries and invited guests are made and people enjoy the attractions associated with a great day out.

procession up close
image-2213
procession up close

winding procession
image-2214
winding procession

articulated carnival cover
image-2215
articulated carnival cover

spreadeagled covers
image-2216
spreadeagled covers

curving panels
image-2217
curving panels
5 county balcony2
image-2218

county hotel
image-2219
county hotel
 

close up street scene
image-2220
close up street scene

The book shows the procession from the city centre down Silver Street heading towards the playing fields. The buildings are the actual ones in that street, diminishing in size as you look back towards the centre. The inside covers, which act as side panels, show an extended background view with the cathedral, barely visible, on the left, and the multi-storey carpark by the river on the right. The County Hotel has always been a focal point, with dignitaries and their families waving to the passing procession, and political guests making speeches.

figures drawn on panels
image-2221
figures drawn on panels

some buildings drawn on panels
image-2222
some buildings drawn on panels

loosely assembled panels
image-2223
loosely assembled panels

The scenes are made from individual panels. The crowds and buildings were drawn out on the panels first. Each section of panels then had to be matched with the others – a task made more difficult by the increasing size of figures coming down the hill from the distant background.
The panels were painted and finally stitched together, before being stitched to the concertina background (Silver Street buildings). the concertina is then stuck to the book covers (views on each side of Silver Street). The ourside of the covers is adorned with a few trinkets to suggest a festival theme.

painted street panels
image-2224
painted street panels

developing street
image-2225
developing street

extra figures for the street
image-2226
extra fugires for the street

Picnic at Rainbow Abbey

Rainbow Abbey is a story book made of cut-out panels extending from a central stem. 

book cover
image-2119
book cover
varied panels
image-2120
varied panels

As each panel is turned, the story develops and new views of the abbey can be seen. The inside front cover shows the picnic area outside the abbey and the little boy, Jamie, setting off on an adventure as his parents are pre-occupied with other things.  The cut panels are scenes in the abbey ruins, and the back panel is the resolution to the story – Jamie returning to the picnic from where he started. clearly it’s a “don’t try this at home ” story.  Very non-PC, but I know from experience kids love, absolutely love, hearing stories about children undertaking mischievious and highly dangerous, if not impossible, tasks.   I’ve posted the story on the “Stories” page.

picnic outside the abbey
image-2121
picnic outside the abbey

child heads off on adventure
image-2122
child heads off on adventure

into the abbey
image-2123
in to the abbey

ghost fright
image-2124
ghost fright

paddling upstream
image-2125
paddling upstream

mischief in the work area
image-2126
mischief in the work area

the end in sight
image-2127
the end in sight

the prodigal returns
image-2128
the prodigal returns

Rainbow Abbey’s Structure

book from above showing stem & branches
image-2137
book from above showing stem & branches

angled view of the same
image-2138
angled view of the same

front view of the same
image-2139
front view of the same

These three images show the articulated stem coming out from the spine, and the attached panels.  Although this is a story book for children, it is also a view book, with ever-changing views as you move the panels and stem.

Making Rainbow Abbey

nore detailed
image-2139
more detailed

After drawing out a rough plan of the whole scene, the actual panels are made and then individually drawn out and arranged loosely to check  they all match with each other and with the rest of the scene.

A wash is then applied to each panel, and the figures are the first to be painted in detail.  (spoil a figure and you spoil a panel)

one set of drawn panels
image-2140
one set of drawn panels

the whole book in loose panels
image-2141
the whole book in loose panels

painted figures on background wash
image-2142
painted figures on background wash

first wash on panels, figures detailed
image-2143
first wash on panels, figures detailed

Trafalgar Stage Set

A homage to Clarkson Stansfield’s “Trafalgar”.  I wanted to separate out the ships in an open-door book to give a kind of 3D effect.  Stansfield is a north-easterner and was well known for his seascapes.  In fact, he was featured in the film “Turner” about the great artist.

the finished view
image-2080
the finished view

The book is nothing more than an opening double door with the scene inside.

closed book
image-2081
closed book

half open book
image-2082
half open book

the finished view
image-2083
the finished view

As you can see from the original, it would be impossible to create the details and subtlety of Clarkson’s work, so I didn’t try. It’s a “cartoon” of the painting, not to be taken too seriously.

Clarkson Stansfield' class=
image-2084
Clarkson Stansfield’s painting

The washes just show how random you can be about the application of watercolour at the start of a painting. As long as it kills the white of the paper, it does the job. You really don’t have to be too precious about what colour you put where.

first wash
image-2085
first wash

ships in progress
image-2086
ships in progress

background wash
image-2087
background wash

background developing
image-2088
background developing

close-up of right-hand group
image-2089
close-up of right-hand group

close-up of left-hand group
image-2090
close-up of left-hand group
trafalgar work area
image-2091
trafalgar work area

illustrated instruction book

 

soft back to hard back
image-2040
soft back to hard back

The book binding courses I attended 2011 to 2013 were, for me, both relaxed social occasions and intense learning experiences.  I hung on every word the course leader uttered and scribbled copious notes on methods and techniques of bookbinding, even though there were great instruction books to refer to.  It helps me to note things down graphically, with annotations.

After each session, I would redraw and colour my sketches and refine my notes, and I eventually built up a bank of pamphlet-type instructions.  Ultimately, I gathered all these into a single book of instruction, gave it a contents page and a cover, and now it serves as a personal reference to what i learned.

instruction book cover
image-2041
instruction book cover

Here are some of the best pages  from it.  The first image is an enhanced version using a wash as a background.  This was more about making it arty and visually attractive, though the technique illustrated is a very effective one.  (The book shown is a reference guide to how Beatles songs were recorded and I thought it deserved a hard back cover instead of the soft cover it had originally.)

making the sections of a book
image-2042
making the sections of a book

multi-section binding
image-2043
multi-section binding

making a flange
image-2044
making a flange

leather binding
image-2045
leather binding

covering a half-bound leather binding
image-2046
covering a half-bound leather binding

book restoration
image-2047
book restoration

strengthening adhesive bound books
image-2048
strengthening adhesive bound books

pamphlet stitching
image-2049
pamphlet stitching

restoring damaged books
image-2050
restoring damaged books

making a slipknot
image-2051
making a slipknot

making a springback (ledger)
image-2052
making a springback (ledger)

illustrating a book layout
image-2053
illustrating a book layout

The Harbour- My First Concertina-Panorama Book

As mentioned elsewhere on this page, a concertina-panorama book is a book with a concertina spine, from which sections extend outwards, creating the panorama.  The sections are composed of paper panels sewn together, usually decreasing in height the further out they are.

book cover
image-1545
book cover
cover, concertina & sections
image-1546
cover, concertina & sections
The front cover is stiff greyboard covered in bookcloth.  No illustrations or title but some seasidey-type pebbles.  The back cover is the same, without the pebbles, and the paper concertina links the two. The inside view shows the two hard covers, with views on each side of the harbour.  The background concertina is the seaside town and the four sections coming from it are all quaysides/piers.  Nothing complicated for my first attempt.
close-up view1
image-1547
close-up view1
close-up view 2
image-1548
close-up view 2
close-up view 3
image-1549
close-up view 3
front view close-up
image-1550
front view close-up
background drawing
image-1551
background drawing
harbour layout
image-1552
harbour layout
watercolour wash over drawing
image-1553
watercolour wash over drawing
stitching paper panels together
image-1554
stitching paper panels together

Every now and again, a suggestion that someone makes can really strike a chord and get me thinking. That happened when a friend said the scene would be complete if it had some little boats in it!  Kapow!  That’s just what I did.  Boats made from a paper template or net, with cocktail stick masts, paper sails and tiny woodblock cabins.  Fragile as they were, they needed a box to keep them in, with compartments to separate them and a lid to protect them, complete with emblem.  Too much time on my hands!

boats in line
image-1555
boats in line

box of boats
image-1556
box of boats

boats in harbour
image-1557
boats in harbour

boats around harbour
image-1558
boats around harbour

Princess Tara’s Tiara

Princess Tara’s Tiara

Princess Tara
image-1474
Princess Tara

This is a conventional picture story book.   It’s a favourite theme of mine – pursuit.  The number of pages was decided at the planning stage.   The pages were arranged into sections, unstitched, and then drawn and painted.  Additional foliage and undergrowth were stuck on to add depth and interest.  The few openings are achieved by cutting around three sides of each door then creasing and folding the fourth to allow it to open.

This book features a map showing the route travelled, with numbered key points  along the way.

the characters and the map
image-1475
the characters and the map

the pink car stops under the tree
image-1476
the pink car stops under the tree

she' class=
image-1477
she’s got out of the car and dropped her tiara

where could she be?
image-1478
where could she be?

The boy, from a housing estate, is skipping school and climbing a tree by the wall of a country estate.  A Rolls-Royce, pink no less, pulls up right beside him but it’s pure coincidence.  A girl with a tiara on her head gets out saying she is going to walk the rest of the way home and that’s final.  The chauffeur’s pleas go unheeded as she heads off through the door.  The boy comes down and sits on the bench then notices the tiara on the ground.  It’s the girl’s.  Without a second thought, he goes after her to give it back.  Problem is, she’s fast!

He fights his way through the undergrowth to find she is already well across a field, heading for a boathouse by the lake. Throughout this pursuit, he often loses sight of her (“Where is she?) and then calls after her but is never heard.

there she is in the sheep field
image-1479
there she is in the sheep field

she' class=
image-1480
she’s heading for the boathouse

no, she' class=
image-1481
no, she’s not in the boathouse

she' class=
image-1482
she’s crossing the lake in a yacht

The improbable storyline continues with a speedboat ride across the lake and a dash up to the top of the church tower to see where she’s gone.

speeding across the lake
image-1483
speeding across the lake

vanishing behind the church
image-1484
vanishing behind the church

church yard no view, church tower great view
image-1485
church yard no view, church tower great view

heading across the field
image-1486
heading across the field

By now, he knows she’s heading for the big house. It must be her house. At this point the chauffeur has arrived in the driveway, sees the boy holding the tiara, jumps to the wrong conclusion and catches the “thief.” The girl, Princess Tara, is unable to explain to her mother why she isn’t wearing the tiara, when suddenly the chauffeur bursts in with the boy. The truth emerges and the boy is a hero. A party is prepared in his honour and he is taken home by the chauffeur.

where is she?
image-1487
where is she?

passing through the topiary garden
image-1488
passing through the topiary garden

she' class=
image-1489
she’s nearly at the house

boy arrives at the door
image-1490
boy arrives at the door

chauffeur lies in wait
image-1491
chauffeur lies in wait

I' class=
image-1492
I’ve caught the thief

the thank you party
image-1493
the thank you party

the journey home
image-1494
the journey home

Yes, I know, a simple plot, but my brain doesn’t do complicated.  Anyway, for me, it’s all about the artwork. right?

“Gassed”

same group in a trench environment
image-1058
same group in a trench environment

view of the open book from the front
image-1059
view of the open book from the front

view of the open book
image-1060
view of the open book

field medical station
image-1061
field medical station

John Singer Sargent’s painting, “Gassed” depicts two groups of soldiers in World War One being brought into a field dressing station, surrounded by other victims lying on the ground.  The main group is, for me, full of both heroism and pathos and is an image that has stayed with me for years.

As a tribute to Sargent’s painting, I’ve done my own version. I’ve removed the group of soldiers from the painting and placed it in a different, though typical, Western Front environment – trenches, destroyed village and a wasted landscape of shellholes.

soldiers drawn & panels prepared
image-1062
soldiers drawn & panels prepared

first wash
image-1063
first wash

soldiers cut out
image-1064
soldiers cut out

background soldiers resting
image-1065
background soldiers resting

The front and back covers are articulated.  Each of three boards are separated by a piece of wood dowel with holes in them for the cotton thread.  Inserted into the boards are pieces of corrugated cardboard, partly torn and splashed with earthy colours.  For me, this suggests the trenches.  The front board is finished off with a brass plaque paying tribute to Sargent’s work.

inside front cover
image-1066
inside front cover

inside back cover
image-1067
inside back cover

inside cover in the making
image-1068
inside cover in the making

front cover
image-1069
front cover