The Artful Storybook by Terry Taylor – a book review

I have a few books that I’ve been meaning to write about for a while now. First out is this fun how to-book called The Artful Storybook: Mixed-Media Artists Create Handmade Tales by artist Terry Taylor.

Artful storybook bookThis is a inspiring book about how mixed-media artists (yes, that includes you and me!) can start to make our own storybooks. Fun, huh?

You can decide to retell your favorite Grimm fairy tail for example or a TV-show or any episode from your own rich life; a childhood memory or a blog party you’ve hosted… When you have decided on a story, you write down the plot and a sketch the pages you want to create. Then you can start making that handmade storybook and let your imagination go wild. Will you doodle, collage, draw, decoupage or cut out silhouettes to tell your story?

You can work in a blank book you already own(or buy or make one), or in alter an existing text book found at a thrift shop. It’s like having a theme for your book, but instead of making up the pages as you go along you will have decided what your page will show in forehand. Each page needs to carry the story on to the next spread.

The plot is of course what sets this adventure apart from any old art journal. I haven’t tried making one, but I think this can be both a fun new adventure and a real challenge! You need to make a plan and then find a style that fits your story. I think your pages should strive for a cohesive look. And to find inspiration I think you need to find this book and have a look. It’s for you if you’re interested in storytelling.

From The Artful Storybook (copyright Hanna Andersson) Terry Taylor talks about how to choose your story, what methods you could use and the examples are plentiful. With the help of many other great artists the author shows several handmade storybooks created in many different styles. There is a ring binder book with photos of a dog at his birthday party, a more scrapbook style thing that could inspire you to tell your own stories with photos, collage or ephemera. You could also retell a story of something that you are interested in, like a myth or the history of a country you’ve visited.

There is a pamphlet accordion book made from vintage postcards that is about a fishing trip. a faked sketchbook of a bird watcher (that spots a real gryphon!) and an altered board book made to look like a Chinese theater.

The book projects range from easy to very artsy and advanced. There are no how to-images or full instructions, but you can follow the loos directions that are included for all featured books, including the extremely beautiful cover art by Catherine Moore who made the Marie Antoinette book called The Queen of Tarts! I think everything is inspiring and beautiful to look at with lots to read too.

How fun would it be to be reinterpreting the picture books we read as children!? Wouldn’t it be fun to retell your favorite childhood story in your own way, maybe picturing yourself as the hero or princess? What was your favorite story? How would you illustrate it? Modern? Humorous? With collages, photos, childrens drawings… Anything goes!

From The Artful Storybook (copyright Hanna Andersson) At Catherine’s blog I also read about a new book that looks like it could be friend with Taylors as it also is about mixed media and storytelling. It’s coming this spring and is called In This Garden: Exploration in Mixed-Media Narrative by Angela Cartwright and Sarah Fishburn, who also wrote In This House: A Collection of Altered Art Imagery and Collage Techniques. I haven’t read it but the concept seams very interesting. A book that looks like a house and has “rooms” in it! I would love to make something like that…

Next on my wish list by Mr. Terry Taylor would be Artful Paper Dolls: New Ways to Play with a Traditional Form and The Altered Object: Techniques, Projects, Inspiration! Both looks like something I’d really be interested in reading.

More on inspiring books on my book review page!

8 Responses

  1. Doing this is so much fun – I made a mixed media book for my cousin using a Halloween poem. It was so much fun to make. I must go looking for this book.

  2. Amongst the many projects on my to-do list, there is an idea for a children’s book. I know what the story is about but I don’t know yet how to write it down. I know what the illustrations will look like but I haven’t achieved that look yet. When I’m ready to create my book, I’ll certainly look into this one for inspiration and help. Thanks for letting us know about this book.


  3. Hanna, thanks for that review. I was so intrigued with the idea behind the book that it just fell into my amazon shopping basket………oh dear!!!

  4. I love terry taylor but have only read the first one. This one looks amazing. I just can’t buy all the books I want to have! I will check it out in a store some time and lend myself some moments with it!
    Great review.

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