Book Arts Improv Book #2: Honorable Melvin

I just barely met my deadline for this week’s Book Arts Improv. Bwah!

I was really in over my head with this book. I had too many labor-intensive ideas going on at once. I’m going to try to simplify my approach with the remaining two books – the timing is too tight to get complicated.

Oh, and did I mention that the entire book is made up of pop-up/movable components? Which I never did before? And that I created content?

Yeah, that was hard.

My bookbinding studio worktable

Welcome to my week.

Just to remind you, here are the themes I was working with this week:

  • Texture: Ice
  • A verb that relates to an action movie: Jump
  • A job/profession that you’d never want to have: Public restroom cleaner

Here’s the finished product – another miniature book entitled Honorable Melvin:

Handmade artist book by Elissa Campbell - "Honorable Melvin"

The basic structure is a meander book – the pages are created from one continuous piece of paper. All of the images in the book were created using a linoleum cutter and Speedball Speedy-Carve. Carving the stamps was my favorite part of the process – I love the way the linoleum cutter feels on the rubber block.

I used embossing powder on the stamped images to give them some oomph. I hand painted the images and backgrounds using watercolor paints. I found that when I used the watercolors, the paper got all warpy – it wasn’t really meant for that type of paint.

Didn’t care. Book is warpy.

Here’s the inside of the book:

Handmade artist book by Elissa Campbell - "Honorable Melvin"

Handmade artist book by Elissa Campbell - "Honorable Melvin"

Handmade artist book by Elissa Campbell - "Honorable Melvin"

Handmade artist book by Elissa Campbell - "Honorable Melvin"

The steam is made of laser vellum.

Handmade artist book by Elissa Campbell - "Honorable Melvin"

Melvin down...

Handmade artist book by Elissa Campbell - "Honorable Melvin"

...Melvin up.

Handmade artist book by Elissa Campbell - "Honorable Melvin"


Handmade artist book by Elissa Campbell - "Honorable Melvin"

When you move the book, the mop sweeps back & forth.

Handmade artist book by Elissa Campbell - "Honorable Melvin"

Here’s a video so you can see the book in action (pardon my sad, sick voice):


I know that the text in the images is small, so here it is:

Honorable Melvin

If there’s one thing you can say about Melvin, it’s that he’s an honorable guy.

He always said that he’d only become a public restroom cleaner when Hell froze over.

One morning, he turned on the TV to watch the news over his morning coffee.

“…Hell has frozen over…

…story at eleven…”

As I said…

…he’s an honorable guy.

This book is part of an edition of three – I worked on all three books at once.

Yeah, that was hard.

I printed the text pages using Book Antiqua on French Paper Company Speckletone cover stock. I discovered that this wasn’t necessarily the best choice because I had problems with cracking folds and fraying edges. I did abuse it pretty hard with the watercolors though…

I’ll be posting the new Improv themes tomorrow, so be sure to come back if you’d like to enter the weekly drawing.

Bring on the next challenge!

13 Responses to “Book Arts Improv Book #2: Honorable Melvin

By Mags Bonham - 16 January 2011 Reply


By Felicitas Sloves - 16 January 2011 Reply

Well done!

By Paula B K - 16 January 2011 Reply

What a fun little book! I especially like the images and the mechanism on the mop page.

By Elissa - 17 January 2011 Reply

Paula –

I love that too. The fact that the mop moves is kinda baffling to me – the mechanism was so simple to make.


By Ellen - 16 January 2011 Reply

That brings a smile. A popup was definitely the right choice.

By Elissa - 17 January 2011 Reply

Ellen –

It was the “jump” suggestion that made me think of making a pop-up.


By eli - 17 January 2011 Reply

really nice!!!!!

By Elissa - 17 January 2011 Reply

Eli –

I’m glad you like it, because you’re getting one! I just sent you an Email to get your mailing address.


[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Elissa Campbell. Elissa Campbell said: @thiafinart Here's the blog post I wrote about my pop-up book: Lots of pics & a video of the book in action! […]

By Carol - 18 January 2011 Reply

Very clever, simple but full of character. Love it!

By Jill A. - 18 January 2011 Reply

WOW!!! I love how your creative spirit finds expression in stories that make me smile, housed in truly unique and inspired books.

Oh – and did I mention – You Rock! 😀

By Elissa - 9 February 2011 Reply

Jill –

Seriously, you make me feel so darn good about myself!


By buechertiger - 26 January 2011 Reply

Wonderful! Gave me a big smile today 😀

So what do you think? I'd love to know!

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