Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Book Review - An AB Primer by Naumann and Dukes

How To Make Altered Books If You Think You Can't

How To Make Altered Books If You Think You Can't

by Sara Naumann and Paris Dukes
Oregon: Hot Off the Press (2003)
ISBN:1562318993; Paperback : 32 pages
Reviewed By Kim M. Bayne
Rating: ★★★★
If you've never created an altered book, this book should be your first purchase. In snippets of text written to motivate beginners, this book walks through the basics. One downside -- the overemphasis on Artsy Collage is a bit distracting, even though these products provide an almost turn-key solution to the craft. If you can overlook the sales pitch, you're home free.

For starters, the authors admit you won't see any painted pages here. Covering a page with paint is an accepted way of preparing a background, but it's not their way. Who can blame them? Part of the fun in trying a new art form is not having to wait. Altering book pages with paper, instead of paint, allows you to reduce, if not totally eliminate, that show-stopping drying time. This book shows you how it's done.

The page designs in this primer are a bit sterile, showcasing a rather tame -- spelled Hallmark -- version of this outsider art. The projects are devoid of the edginess that appeals to unconventional souls normally attracted to book altering. Perhaps that's not so bad -- the authors' emphasis is that you don't have to be an artiste to try your hand at this. If you want to create altered books with calm, cutesy charm, here's your bible. If, however, your style is more akin to graffiti, you'll be so bored you'll want to alter this book.

"How to Make Altered Books..." includes clear, detailed color photographs of a variety of layouts and techniques. Novices will appreciate the simple explanations of layering, niche cutting and playing with text. Designers Naumann and Dukes provide easy-to-understand help throughout to inspire the budding ABer.

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