Living & Learning in the Salish Sea

Category: Book Making

Learning the process of book making; from conceptualizing a story, illustrating using water colour, to binding the book using thread. This inquiry project will allow me to grow as a storyteller.

Book Making: Practicing Watercolour Techniques

After one of our art classes, I was lucky enough to receive a watercolour tutorial session from a fellow teacher candidate who is a very talented artist.

We practiced a variety of techniques:

  • Wet on wet — paper is lightly covered in a thin layer of water (we used a spray bottle) and then wet paint is applied over top. The resulting effect is a paint that spreads upon contact with the wet paper and blurs at the edges. You can see a good example of this in the top left quadrant of my experimentation
  • Wet on dry — in this technique, we are applying wet paint to a dry paper. The effect is a paint with a distinct, non-blurry line. We can see this clearly in the top left portion of the top left quadrant as well as in the bottom right quadrant.
  • Blowing — this is a really fun technique that can have a really neat look. This is were you put wet paint on paper and then blow it to have the paint spray out on the page in multiple directions. You can see this in the lower left quadrant. I also used it in the lower right and then painted in between the splaying lines.

My colleague then got us to think about an emotion or feeling that we were experiencing. I was asked to think about which colour(s) would best represent this and then translate this onto the page. At that moment I was feeling very scattered. I have so  many concepts floating around in my mind and felt like I am struggling to connect them all in a way that allows me to feel confident in my understanding. The cloud like formation at the top of the image below represents the concepts in my mind, and the thin bridge to the bottom of the page represents how much of that I feel that I have understood.

Next blog post, I will be starting on my book!

Book Making: Setting the stage

I have always been fascinated by the beautiful artwork people are able to produce from watercolour.

As a child, I remember walking through my grandaunt’s art studio and feeling a sense of awe when I saw her watercolour landscape paintings, especially the one of Mt. Hood in Oregon where the setting sun rendered its snow-covered peak a soft pink hue. I believe that watercolour is an ideal art form for books as one can be very diverse in the ways they choose to express an image with the paint.

Recently, I have come to realize how powerful storytelling can be — it shapes our worldview, allows us to experience the world from other perspectives, and reminds us what it really means to be human; to feel, to wonder, to make sense of things in order to quell our countless anxieties.

For this reason, I have chosen to dedicate an inquiry into learning how to write, illustrate and bound a book from scratch. As a teacher candidate in the Elementary Education PDP Program at the University of Victoria, I am particularly interested creating children’s novels. These novels I hope will inspire children to share their passions and realize their dreams in an ever-changing world.

I begin my exploration of this topic by understanding how to work with watercolour. Here is a introductory video to watercolour that I found to be useful:

I went to a local art store and picked up some supplies; watercolour paint & brush, watercolour paper, a rotary mat, ruler & OLFA knife (to make the pages the size I want), sketching pencils, Scotch tape, and a few fine liner Micron pens to write with.

When it comes time to book binding, I will need a few more supplies. However, this is all I need to get me started on the process! In the next blog, I will post a picture of my experimentations with water colour. Until then, happy days!

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