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zondag 17 november 2013

Necronomicon re-cover, part 1

Here's a project I have had in my mind for a long time, and now I finally started it. One of the blogs I follow, MRX Designs, has quite a few posts on bookbinding, more specifically on making new covers for books. I've been wanting to give it a try myself, so here we go.
There are two posts on the blog I mentioned that do a great job of explaining the entire process in detail: Demo Book #1 (part 1) and Demo Book #1 (part 2). A third one explains the process of creating a faux leather covering.

The Necronomicon
The book I will be using for this project is the Simon Necronomicon. First of all, what's a Necronomicon? The Necronomicon is a fictional book, created by horror writer H.P. Lovecraft. It plays a central role in many of his stories, but what exactly is in the book is never truly revealed. The fact that reading it is thought to make you go crazy might have something to do with this... It's a typical creepy old tome filled with unspeakable horrors.
Ever since Lovecraft first mentioned the book, people have thought it's a real, existing book. Even today, there are many people who claim this, and that Lovecraft only claimed it's a fictional book so people wouldn't discover the horrible truth. Of course, that's bullshit.
There are, however, several books titled "Necronomicon", all of wich were written after Lovecraft died. One of them is an art book by H.R. Giger, but the most well-known is the Simon Necronomicon. The author of this book claims it's the authentic Necronomicon, wich he got from a Greek monk, but that's probably something he made up as a marketing trick. I found the book disappointing. It has little to do with Lovecraft and more with Babylonian mythology. Anyway, I got one dirt cheap and now I'm gonna give it a new cover!

You will need the following items:

  • Necronomicon, or other book, preferably something creepy and evil. Justin Bieber's biography will do just fine as well, but perhaps that's too evil.
  • Thick cardboard, I used 3mm
  • Kraft paper (brown wrapping paper)
  • Thick drawing paper
  • PVA glue
  • Matte acrylic medium
  • Acrylic paint
  • Paintbrushes
  • Drawing paper
According to some of the myths that float around on the internet, the real Necronomicon was bound in human skin. It's a bit hard to obtain, but it would give the book a very authentic appearance. Go ahead and use it if you can get a hold of it... Nah, I'm just kidding. Don't, I repeat, DON'T USE HUMAN SKIN!

Getting started
I started with measuring the exact size of the book. In this case, the measurements are 10,6 x 17,1 x 2 cm. For the new cover, we will need three pieces of cardboard, two for the front and back and one for the spine. They should extend about 2 mm on each side, so I made the front and back panel 10,8 x 17,5 cm, and the spine panel 17,5 x 2 cm.

Next, the three panels are glued together using a piece of drawing paper to serve as a hinge. I cut a piece of paper 10 x 17,5 cm and glued the spine on it, exactly in the middle, using PVA glue. I put the cardboard and paper on a sheet of wax paper to avoid making a mess and glueing it to the table.

To attach the front and back panels, I turned the spine piece over, so the panels are on the opposite side of the paper hinge. I don't know if this is better than putting them on the same side, but that's the way it's done in the tutorial at MRX Designs, so I'll just follow his guidelines. There's about 6 mm of space between the panels and the spine. When they were glued together, I covered them with wax paper and some heavy books so the cardboard wouldn't warp during drying.

The next day, after the glue had dried, I first made sure the cover was the right size and the book would fit in nicely. It did (luckily), so I went on to the next step. I cut a piece of kraft paper large enough to extend a few centimeters on each side, and then crumpled it up and flattened it again a few times.

Creating the faux leather
The paper then is glued to the cardboard using matte acrylic medium. It's easy to work with because it isn't really sticky when wet (it's basically paint without pigment), and it can be easily applied with a paintbrush (well duh, it's paint!). I made sure the paper was tucked in the hinge as good as possible. You're supposed to use a bone folder for that, I used a teaspoon. Why? Because I'm cheap and I don't want to pay 10 euros for something that's basically a simple piece of plastic when a teaspoon will do just fine. After that, I put it under some weight again to dry.

When the glue/acrylic medium has dried, it's time to start painting! I'm still following the tutorial here, so I'm just gonna stick with the painting method explained there. First, a layer of black, followed by a layer of dark purple and then some lighter purple. I used a sponge to avoid visible brush strokes. After that, I drybrushed some gold over it. Finally, I trimmed the crumpled up paper and wrapped it around the cardboard. The paint job got a coat of spray-on matte sealer.

The cover is now ready to be attached to the book. For this, the original cover had to be removed first. I used a box cutter for this, wich made removing them quite easy. The book would require new end paper for attaching it to the cover. I used black drawing paper for this. I cut two pieces twice the size of the pages, folded them in half and glued them to the front and back. An extra piece of paper around the entire book makes sure everything stays in place.

All that's left now is glueing the book inside the cover. I put glue on the entire front and back end, papers and put it inside the cover, with pieces of wax paper between them so I don't glue the pages together. After making sure everything is aligned properly, I put it under some weight (a big stack of heavy books) so it can dry.

That's all for now. The book isn't finished yet! It has a new cover, but that's not enough. It needs some extra stuff, but that's for the next time!

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