The Start of My Altered Book – Explained

Altered Book SpreadHere’s the start of my altered book so I can explain what I did & why. Most of the why is because I felt like it. I do a lot of my art by the way I feel instead of thinking out the process too much. I’m not a planner I just do stuff.

This helps a lot with the perfectionist in me. When it comes to my art I see everything that could be better and I compare my stuff with other people’s fantastic art. It has taken effort, practice, and learning to be compassionate with myself to just accept what I do and love it. I’m a lot better at loving what I do now because I’ve practiced telling myself that what I do is perfect for me. It takes time but you’ll get better!

I’d love it if with this altered book, you’d practice going with your gut & practicing self compassion. Loving what you make takes you closer to loving yourself and vice versa. This is your private love story to yourself – go deep and fall head over heels in love with the most important person in your life: YOU!

My most favorite technique is collage so I’m going to have a lot my my pages with a background, collage, and then some writing. The above picture is the title page that I wanted to keep so I just used colored pencils and I’ll doodle more. I dug in my stash of collage elements and the two hearts felt right to me (this book is all about love) so I glued those down. I used stickers with definitions of some of my favorite words to add. Watercolor pencils around the outside to make everything pink. This is the first time I’ve really used pink.

imageimageAltered Book 18 (1 of 1)Altered Book 13 (1 of 1)I used scrapbook paper in a lot of backgrounds – it’s fast and easy. Use a liquid glue and scrape a thin layer on the paper – get all the edges. Place it in your book. I have a large scrap paper that I do my gluing on. I’m using a lighter background that isn’t very “busy”. I got a pad of scrapbook paper on sale that I used for the above pages. You just want an interesting background with your first layer on the page.

imageimageAltered Book 4 (1 of 1)When I used the gesso, there were pages that I wanted to cover all the text. In the first photo I wanted to save the title & quote so I gessoed around that spot. When you’re looking at the pages, you can do a found word poem. Circle words or phrases that resonate with you and then cover the text around it.

Altered Book 2016Here’s an example of one of my found word poems. Pick words from all over the page. You can doodle lines or arrows connecting the words in the order you want.




Basic Directions for Altered BookimageAltered Book 14 (1 of 1)Altered Book 15 (1 of 1)Scrape painting! OMG I love doing this! The first photo is scraped paint right on the page without gesso so you can see the text. The second photo is with a layer of gesso & then paint. It’s more opaque. I used iridescent paint on this page – you can use glitter paint or glue too (the glitter doesn’t get every where). The next two photos are gesso with a stencil. Lay a stencil on the page and use a pallet knife to scrape the gesso over the stencil. Let that dry and paint on top.

For the background pages, I randomly pick pages and do what I feel like. One morning I did the gesso on pages & let that dry. The next morning I did paint scraping on the gesso & plain pages. If I wanted to save some of the text I painted (or collaged) around it. This is a “grab & go” project. Check in with yourself and feel what you want to do. I would love it if you were able to identify that desire in yourself easily when this book is done. Your gut is your compass for your truth & right path. 

Altered BookimageimageimageimageI do a lot of collage. I’ve collected images from magazines (Somerset Studios, Cloth Paper Scissors, art magazines, O, National Geographic, comic books, and picture books). I go through a magazine and rip out the photos & words that interest me – don’t think when you do this. Let your inner self guide you because she has a message for you that you may not understand just yet. I think of my collages as oracle cards – after I do one then I sit back and meditate on what I’m suppose learn about myself. There is mystery here and sometimes the answers are just out of reach but you know there’s a deeper something for you. Rest in your mystery and know that some part of you came out and expressed itself. We understand symbols & images better than words so go back to your pages and see what else is there.

collage directionsHere’s a simple how to for collage. Background that is a more “simple” pattern, Middle ground images (1 -3), and Accents that are smaller.

You can use the rule of thirds for a page layout.

rule of thirds








  • Don’t worry about what you get done – we’ll be in this book for a year. If you finish one and do another great but this is not about finishing – it’s about the time you spend with yourself while you’re doing the book.
  • Get some pages started when you have bigger blocks of time so when you have a few minutes you can pick up your book and doodle to relax from the day.
  • I still have a lot of pages with nothing done to them so I have work space for later.
  • DO follow your creative desire and create whatever you want. If a theme or a prompt brings up strong emotions then dig deeper. If you aren’t feeling inspired or neutral you don’t have to pursue that prompt.
  • DO follow your energy. If you are out of steam, rest and relax. I’ve found if I’m just not feeling it and try to do art it becomes frustrating.
  • DO create when you want to celebrate or rant your negative crap out. Expressing your emotions helps you process them. You’ll find you have a different relationship with your feelings when you get them out & look at them.
  • DON’T force yourself. Leave your “I should” at the door with your creativity. If you follow your desires here, it will be easier to follow your heart in other areas of your life. This is your safe zone to practice trying on your personal truth. It takes a lot of bravery to be fully who you are.
  • DON’T judge your work. Practice focusing on the parts you like first and compliment yourself. If there is a part that you aren’t at peace with, then it’s just asking you to spend more time with it. Try more layers or 1 more color. Cover a part of a page with collage if you really don’t like it or gesso over it. When I’m not comfortable with one of my pieces (and I’m not until it’s done) then I just do more with it. When it’s done I have a knowing down deep and I’m satisfied. It took me many years to be in tune with my work so don’t get frustrated if you can’t “feel” stuff (or identify what it means) when you begin.
  • REMEMBER it’s the process not the product.

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