Concertina Books and Muted Tones

So this week another first for me.  After trying lino cut I wanted to find something else I hadn’t tried before.  I spotted a few posts on Instagram of concertina sketchbooks and thought I’d see what I could do working in a different format. 

I didn’t have a concertina format sketchbook to hand so thought a ‘make do’ was needed. Long strips of watercolour paper which could be folded seemed to fit the bill. 

Concertina Sketchbooks

It’s a different format but I liked the idea of playing with structure to create a sense of a journey. They would make fantastic little treasure maps or maybe vertically, represent buildings or towers stretch up into the sky.

I was drawn to this format because I recently completed my inspiration board for CVP (Creative Visionary Programme). It seems to have sparked a load of memories.

One that came flooding back was of my brother and I doing little treasure hunts around the house. My parents would write a hide little clues and we’d rush round trying to find them. The concertina format seemed very fitting.

The Process

To create a feeling of continuous movement, like a walk along a pathway, I started out with ink and a splashy brush made from driftwood and embroidery thread that allowed me to drag ink across the page.  It’s liberating in that you have little control of the ink. But it does create some really interesting marks.  I built up different layers of ink over a few days. This means you get different levels of intensity of colour from pale greys to pitch black.  I also played around with stains created with cold tea.  I love the subtle colour you get from tea when it dries, as it has a very natural feel.

I did consider adding bursts of blue to the piece but I wanted to stick with a limited colour palette.  The black ink against the white paper offers high value contrast. The marks were quite busy – I thought sticking to a limited palette would help avoid the piece becoming too loud.

Once completely dry, I folded the paper. This was not an easy task given its thickness. I finished off with more mark making (charcoal, pencil, granite) and some small pieces of collage. 

As a first time effort they are ok.  I think I could have been bolder with the collage and colours but I do find the format intriguing.  As a viewer it offers you choice. Stand back and you get a sense of a whole piece. Zoom in and you can frame very distinct compositions. 

Limited Colour Palette

I found the experiment so enjoyable I thought I’d try them on more conventional formats.

I do love the unpredictability of ink and the energetic movement it gives. I wish I could achieve this with paint – definitely something to work on.

Leave a Reply