My Junk Mail Secret Diary

This week I took Carla Sonheim’s five day online class to create a Junk Mail Artist Book. The class is described as a “mixed-media-junkie’s dream project” where we would take junk mail, add gesso and watercolor along with other techniques to create a unique irregularly shaped puzzle book. Carla’s description and photos on her blog convinced me that I had to try it. Plus, I have all the needed supplies already and an endless supply of junk mail!

We practiced drawing every day to be ready to draw in the book by day four. We did some one-liner drawings (no lifting the pen until the drawing is finished)

and some imaginary animals to get the imagination fired up.
Meanwhile, we applied gesso to our junk mail with a brayer to create texture, then painted the pieces with a couple layers of watercolor.

And did more drawing

so that by the time the junk mail was bound into a book, we were ready to draw directly into the book.  Here’s a photo of the bound pages ready for drawings.

The most exciting part of the project was to create drawings that overlap onto the next page.  The drawings on one page morph into a different drawing on the next page. For example, notice how the handle of the teapot on page two below becomes the center of a sunflower on page four.  Surprisingly the drawings were not difficult.  I guess all the warm-ups and practice drawing got me charged up and ready to go.  As I worked on the pages, I realized that I was creating a secret diary complete with a lock and key on the cover page. On each page I selected areas to highlight with painted gesso.  I completed the entire book in a couple hours, then set it aside awaiting instructions the following day.  For the last step, I added details and shading with marking pen and vine charcoal.   I added a bit of soft pastel to enhance the color.  Here are the completed pages:

Cover Page

Pages 1 & 2

Pages 3 & 4

Pages 5 & 6

Pages 7 – 8

And now, my secret diary’s no secret anymore.

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