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zaterdag 22 maart 2014

Necronomicon Sketchbook

Here's another project I intend to sell. A while ago, I sold my handbound copy of The Whisperer In Darkness on Ebay. For this project, I tried something different. I used a regular, store-bought sketchbook and modified the original cover instead of removing it and making a new one. And I decided to use the Lovecraft-theme again!
It will be a classical Necronomicon-style book: a face protruding from the cover. Could it BE any more cliché (read this in Matthew Perry's voice)? Probably not, but I'm still a complete noob at this and I need simple projects to build up experience. So here we go!


  • A5-sized sketchbook (other size will also work)
  • Kraft paper
  • Wax paper
  • Air drying clay
  • Sculpting tools
  • Matte acrylic medium
  • Glue
  • Drawing paper
  • Paint
  • Matte varnish
Creating the cover
Before applying the kraft paper faux leather, I sculpted a face on the cover. Nothing too difficult, just an angry face. The original cover had a rough texture, wich made the clay adhere pretty well. Let the clay dry and procede to the next step.

I've thought about creating a mold so I could easily reproduce the face several times, but I decided not to. Sculpting it by hand didn't take long, and if I would create more books like these, each one would be unique if made by hand.

Creating the faux leather
For creating the faux leather effect, I used the crumpled kraft paper technique I have used before. I first thought I wouldn't be able to cover the entire book using a single piece of kraft paper, because of the sculpture. I assumed I was gonna need several small pieces, but to my surprise, I managed to cover everything using one piece! Crumple and flatten it again several times, and it becomes flexible enough to do this. Using matte acrylic medium I glued the paper on and folded it around the edges. The spine was a bit trickier, because I had to work small flaps of paper into it, but it turned out great.

Next step: painting. No matter what color it will end up, I always start with a black base coat. Because of all the wrinkles, you have to make sure everything is covered. After the black has dried, I applied the color of the leather itself. Use a sponge for this, to avoid brush strokes, and make sure the black shines through in some areas. First, a layer of burnt umber, followed by a lighter color (equal parts burnt umber/yellow ochre).
The wrinkled paper should start to look really leathery by now.

There's one finishing touch left: drybrushing some gold or silver over it. Both colors work, I decided to use silver for this one. Work slowly and definitely don't try to rush things, because using too much paint will more or less force you to paint all over everything. The idea is that the wrinkles pick up a little bit of paint, making them stand out. Finally, a layer of varnish over the entire cover.

There's one more thing I needed to do to finish the book. Because I put the new cover over the existing cover, the turned in edges are still visible on the inside. I simply glued a sheet of paper over it and voila, a Necronomicon-styled sketchbook!
And as I said in the beginning of this post, this book will be for sale. I'm working on several other projects that will be for sale as well, when those are finished I will announce it.

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