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Crossword Puzzle Books

Artist Book with Gouache Paint, Anushka Srinivasan

Prompt

Create an artist book which visually integrates all of the clues in a New York Times Mini Crossword Puzzle without using text. 

Supplies

The supply list for lotus & meandering books is here, and a supply list for gouache is here, + tracing paper & colored pencils.

Process

Brainstorming Sketches, Anushka Srinivasan

2.
Brainstorm images that visually represent each clue in the crossword puzzle.

Handmade Artist Book, Lotus Book Fold

3.
Create an artist book using either the lotus fold or make up your own meandering fold.

Watch this video to see how to do these book folds.

Artist Book Thumbnail Sketches, Roye Zhang

4.
Sketch with a pencil on paper to create the layout of your artist book.  Be sure that the paper matches the exact shape of your artist book.

Visually integrate the crossword puzzle clues to create a cohesive composition.

Artist Book Colored Pencil Sketches, Anushka Srinivasan

5.
Place tracing paper over your pencil sketch. Draw a color scheme by filling in the shapes with colored pencil.

Create 3 color schemes.  Make sure the color schemes are very different from each other.

Cut out the tracing paper so that it is the exact same shape as your artist book.

Artist Book with Gouache Paint, Roye Zhang

6.
Lightly sketch your layout in pencil on your artist book. Use gouache paint to fill in the colors.

For tips on gouache, watch this tutorial. 

Artist Book with Gouache Paint, Roye Zhang
Artist Book with Gouache Paint, Roye Zhang

Examples

Artist Book with Gouache Paint, Anushka Srinivasan

Anushka Srinivasan
High School Student

“Once I learned how to assemble the book, I enjoyed the process of making the front and back covers and putting the whole thing together. In terms of the prompt itself, I approached it by first separating each word and thinking of a unique display of it, by considering what emotions, places, and ideas each word branched off to.

So I made a a rough draft of my idea, with three different color schemes to help visualize the final product. I brought this to my class for critique, and I received many suggestions that would help me improve my piece. The biggest change was taking the dress out of the composition, and focusing on the patchwork/quilt aspect of it.

I also changed a few of the patterns to make them more detailed or more representative of the word. As I started the final product, I practiced using gouache. I learned the importance of color combinations in class- thinking about complementary colors and the color wheel. Gouache was the perfect medium to make my idea stand out as well as focus on relationships between colors.

I spent a long time mixing the colors and thinking about what shades to use where; I found the color schemes that I made with my rough draft very useful during this process. Overall, I am very happy with how the piece turned out. It came a very long way from my initial idea, and in many areas, stepping out of my comfort zone paid off.”

Artist Book with Gouache Paint, Sol Bourdeau
Artist Book with Gouache Paint, Sol Bourdeau

Sol Bourdeau
High School Student

“This project taught me a lot about the design process. I began by brainstorming, we had to create a design that included words from a cross word puzzle. I thought this project was going to be extremely easy since the assignment was so broad, but it was very difficult to think of ideas.

I created a garden scene and created plants influenced by the words from the puzzle. I was much more proud of this idea and I felt like it was very creative because no one in my class did anything like it. I began by folding my paper with an intricate fold we learned in class. Then, I knew I wanted to make my project as neat as possible so I took the time to use different sizes of Micron pens to draw each individual leaf and stem on the plants.”

Artist Book with Gouache Paint, Ruyi Xu
Artist Book with Gouache Paint, Ruyi Xu

Ruyi Xu
High School Student

“The first idea I thought about is a tornado. I wanted to use tornado as an element that can connect all the objects together. The symbols and crab on the top represented ‘San Francisco’. I used the drunk crab to represent phrases ‘Said no one ever’ and ‘All in.’

The three men sitting around the dinner table wearing brainwash helmet are ‘serf for love’ because they are feeding themselves hearts. The spotlight and dinner table represented ‘diner.’ And all the flowing gas come out of a nerf gun, which is the word ‘nerf.’ The pointy patterns in the background represented ‘aloe.'”

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