Book Arts Improv Book #1: DOs and DON’Ts for Not Being a Dumbass

I just finished (11:55 p.m.) my first book for this year’s Book Arts Improv.

I’m not sure how it happened, but somehow it did. Even though I had my concept all set, finding the time to get into the studio proved difficult. Wiggum, my new puppy, does not like my studio yet. Clearly I’ll be working on that with him.

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

  • An embarrassing injury: Knocking out your two front teeth
  • A circus act: Guy shot out of a cannon
  • A dog trick you wish you could do: Roll over

Here’s the finished product – a book entitled DOs and DON’Ts for Not Being a Dumbass:

Handmade artist book by Elissa Campbell - "DOs and DON'Ts for Not Being a Dumbass"

The covers are covered in peperoni Duo bookcloth – the weave has both red and green threads. I printed the text pages using Book Antiqua on Speckletone True White cover stock.

The form of the book is known as a panel book, which was developed by Hedi Kyle. I find the form interesting because you can display it open, so that one can walk around it and look at both sides, or you can close it up and read it like a conventional book. The experience of the content is different based on which approach you take.

Handmade artist book by Elissa Campbell - "DOs and DON'Ts for Not Being a Dumbass"

Front page spread – the DON’Ts

Handmade artist book by Elissa Campbell - "DOs and DON'Ts for Not Being a Dumbass"

Back page spread – the DOs

The red circle and green square/check images were created using a linoleum cutter and Speedball Speedy-Carve. I didn’t like my ink pad colors, so I tried stamping using watercolor paints. I painted directly on the stamp using a brush and it worked pretty well.

Each panel has a DON’T on one side and its corresponding DO on the reverse.

Here’s the complete text of the book:

DOs and DON’Ts for Not Being a Dumbass

DON’T roll over in your sleep when you’re camping on the edge of a cliff or you’ll ruin your vintage unicorn pajamas.
DO roll over your 401(k) into an IRA when you quit a job or you’ll just continue paying administrative fees to those freaking bastards.

DON’T get shot out of a cannon just because your friend dared you to and you want to look cool.
DO get shot with a  snazzy Canon PowerShot camera when  think you’re having a wicked awesome hair day.

DON’T knock out your two front teeth because you didn’t have the correct tools on hand for creating an ice sculpture.
DO knock two times on your dentist’s front door before opening it because he might be pulling out someone’s teeth.

DON’T try to catch a flying Frisbee in your mouth because you might knock out your two front teeth.
DO leave the frizzy bees alone whenever you encounter them on a walk – they need lots of beauty rest.

DON’T chase the tail end of a parade because that tuba player is an angry son of a bitch.
DO chase your own tail and not someone else’s because you never know where it’s been.

I don’t know how large this edition will be, so I haven’t yet written the colophon. I incorporated a pocket in the back of the book to hold the colophon when it’s completed.

Handmade artist book by Elissa Campbell - "DOs and DON'Ts for Not Being a Dumbass"

Inside back cover

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

I look forward to next week’s challenge!

FYI – You’ll get a good laugh if you Google the word dumbass. 🙂

7 Responses to “Book Arts Improv Book #1: DOs and DON’Ts for Not Being a Dumbass

By Louis J. Cassorla - 8 January 2012 Reply

You are brilliant. I love the pocket for the colophon! And the end paper is beautiful. And the stamps look terrific.

One question: Frizzy bees…you really come across sleeping frizzy bees on your walks?

By Elissa - 22 January 2012 Reply

Louis –

I knew that one was a stretch – it was the only thing I could think of that sounded like frisbee.

We don’t have frizzy bees now because it’s too cold. In the spring we do…well, I guess I should admit that they’re more fuzzy than frizzy.


By Holly - 8 January 2012 Reply

Love it! Am amazed at how you turned those prompts into such a fantastic book. Love the structure, stamps, and the content is priceless! Yes, you inspire me and thanks for the great pics. Absolutely love it!

By Kris - 8 January 2012 Reply

This is awesome! You are a creative genius!

By Yasmin - 8 January 2012 Reply

This is amazing!! Love it. I too love the colophon pocket – and now know what a colophon is!

By Jill A. - 9 January 2012 Reply

I can only echo the delight and awe of previous commenteers. Long live creative genius!

By Elissa - 22 January 2012 Reply

I’m so glad that all of you like it!

I am definitely using the colophon pocket idea again. It enables to you add content without having it distract from the rest of book – you can take it out for display.


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

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