Lady Coccinellidae

Lady Coccinellidae

Bookmaking has been an important part of my art practice for decades. After many years of studying and teaching the history of artist's sketchbooks and filling many of my own, I began making thematic books based on a variety of subjects, material processes, and conceptual approaches. I have used a wide range of sketchbooks and journals, made my own using a variety of construction methods, and have altered published books.

I recently worked with KB Studio artists on an expressive Meander-style book project. This is a folded book that uses one piece of 22" x 30" watercolor paper that, when torn on three creases, neatly arranges itself into a 16 page book. The beauty of this book format is that the surface of the paper can be fully painted or drawn on before the tears are made and the book takes shapes.

To begin, the paper was folded into 16 sections by creasing the edges at the half and quarter measurements both lengthwise and widthwise. Next, watercolor washes were loosely applied to the paper on both sides, offering the possibility of a two-sided book.

Front and back of folded & painted watercolor paper

Next, a meandering, gestural drawing was added to one side -- moving across the entire surface in a continuous fashion. This linear element was applied with black India ink and intentionally crossed through each of the 16 sections to create a sense of rhythm and consistency once the book was folded. 

After carefully tearing along three creases and folding the sections in an under-over pattern, the book took on its final form. Collage elements and ink drawing were added to each page in relationship to the flowing ink lines applied across the entire surface. Through this process, the alchemy of materials began to reveal shapes, forms, patterns and textures akin to those found nature. A single ladybug, those much loved, garden friendly insect eaters, made a surprise appearance and was the inspiration for the book's title Lady Coccinellidae (link to full book).