What should I read next?

This book themed page has been in my mind for quite a while and that little open book stamp on the right side of the spread pushed me to make it happen. All the stamps are from Darkroom Door; I used ‘mini open book’ once, ‘book spines’ several times and the ‘scratches’ background stamp for the wall behind the books.

I have three art journals on the go and this one has a literary theme. I’ve done pages inspired by books and others inspired by quotes. I have a few started but not finished and several in my head.

I taped the edges of the double page spread before doing anything; it really helps keep the book open and stable while I work, it protects the other pages from paint and ink and I think it frames the finished design really nicely.

I embossed all the books on hot pressed watercolour paper in either gold or copper powder then coloured them with markers, distress stains and distress inks smooshed on my glass mat. I really just played with techniques until I had a good selection of colours and patterns. I stuck to jewel tones featuring dark green, bright blue, red and aqua. I’ve listed all the distress inks below. I also painted over the inking on a few books with Coliro pearlescent paints so they have a bit of shimmer.

I painted the background with ‘absorbant ground’ as I usually do when I want to work with liquid inks and water then I smooshed some ‘peacock feathers and ground espresso inks on a piece of acetate, spritzed it and dragged it across the page multiple times. That gave me some abstract colour but not enough so I used distress stain sprays in the same colours. After it dried I stamped the scratches background stamp a few times in ground espresso stain. When that dried I used a piece of tape to mask edges to sponge vertical lines across the pages.

Arranging the books on the page took a little while. I cut them all out first then cut some of the groups into smaller groups to play with the layout. Once I had it settled I glued them down and started adding titles and decoration with gel pens, embossing pens and embossing powder. I wrote quite a few of my favourites on the spines, nothing particularly new even though I have read some great new books lately. I guess they just haven’t stood my test of time yet. I have some empty spines left that I will probably fill another day.

I finished by balancing that open book on one of the piles and added the name of my favourite podcast, ‘What Should I Read Next?’ I get a large chunk of my book recommendations from Anne Bogel, the host of WSIRN. I could talk about books for several more paragraphs but if you’ve made it this far you’re a champion so I’ll save the book chat for another book themed project. I think there will be a spin off card from this journal page.

Oh, and one more thing, please feel free to leave book recommendations in the comments; I’d love to hear your favourites.


21 Comments on “What should I read next?”

  1. Maria Zanin says:

    I m completely in love with this journal page. The design – journal page – colors – stupendous! It must have taken ages to complete. Thank you for sharing !

  2. Elizabeth Jones says:

    What a lovely entre! As a book lover, I scanned your nicely lettered titles, most of my favorites, too, and thought they were stamped. Will be looking into absorbent ground as well as ‘The Dawn Treader’. Just finished ‘Cutting for Stone’, and started ‘Don Quixote’, (finally), both wonderful reads.

    • Heather says:

      The ‘absorbant ground doesn’t turn the surface into watercolour paper but it gives a base to allow a bit of blending and splattering. The Dawn Treader is part of the Chronicles of Narnia but CS Lewis, I love the whole series but the Dawn Treader was the one that made it on the page. Thank you for your recommendations.

  3. Elizabeth Jones says:

    P.S. Also, love your photography presentation with the vintage books !

  4. nancystiz says:

    WOW! This one captured my attention. Your attention to detail on this is just amazing. I too am a book lover and studied this for quite a while. It’s amazing. As many incredible things as you’ve done I think this will be one of my all time favorites. The art work is fabulous and so is your lettering! Just WOW!!

  5. Leslie says:

    Fantastic! Loving all the detail!

  6. creatingincolors says:

    This is fabulous! It pulled me in and I couldn’t stop looking at all the details! Love this journal entry, and I’m already trying to imagine adapting these images to cardmaking. So nicely done. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Patricia Rowe says:

    Your colors are out of this world. When you stamp, I am so drawn to buying the stamp.
    The idea to use the scratch stamp is unique.
    Thank you so much for the inspiration.

  8. Mary Ann Truscott says:

    So many of my favorite books, too! What an inspiring journal page – both artistically and literally! One of my favorites that I didn’t see, is “To Kill a Mockingbird” . A new book that I recently finished and enjoyed was, ” The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek” by Kim Michele Richardson about a pack horse librarian who delivers books in the hills of Kentucky. Thanks for the podcast recommendation also, I’ll be checking it out!
    Mary Ann

    • Heather says:

      Thank you Mary Ann, glad you like the page. I agree and will add ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’; I also enjoyed ‘The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek’, which was probably a recommendation from the podcast originally.

  9. Jane says:


  10. Lagene says:

    Fantastic journal pages!!! Pages/Books! Follow The River by James Alexander Thom.

  11. Pat says:

    This layout is fabulous Heather, and I don’t think I have seen anyone do anything quite like this before. I love the background made to look like old book covers with the crackle and then all the different piles of books with gold decoration and lettering. The attention to detail is phenomenal and the different textured looks you have made with just smooshed inks and a wonderful pearlescent shine also on some has given such a variety of looks to the piles of books. This must have taken you quite a while to achieve this detailed look and I absolutely adore it! x

    Books: CJ Sansom and Hilary Mantel for historical novels, mostly based around the time of Henry V111 and Hilary Mantel’s trilogy featuring Thomas Cromwell. Ken Follet’s Pillars of the Earth is the first in a trilogy about building a cathedral from medieval times to around the 17th century I think. I am not a crime novel fan but I do like thrillers. I’m afraid I used to read more classics but these days I don’t have the staying power because this hobby takes up a lot of my spare time..lol. I’m not sure that these will appeal to you but they are all good writers.

    • Heather says:

      Thank you Pat for your very kind comments. It did take me a while but I really enjoyed it, perhaps especially after a morning of filming which is never stress free! I have heard other recommendations of Ken Follet’s work but haven’t dipped into it yet. I will take a look at the other authors you mentioned also.

  12. Renée Walker says:

    Amazing. Love books too but this project is beyond me! Enjoyed reading and seeing it. What talent!!!!!!

  13. Geri S says:

    Absolutely fabulous! I love your book pages not only because of how thy look but because they are from my favorite books and I never thought to do a book journal. Have you read some of Porters’ other books? “Freckles” ties in with “Girl…” (I used to live in Indiana where the Limberlost was). Most recent read was digital – “No Pulling Back”. Now I have to try book journaling, thanks for the inspiration!

    • Heather says:

      Thank you Geri, I did read Freckles, in fact both Freckles and A Girl of the Limberlost are among my reread collection I enjoyed them so much. I have listened to many books during the quarantine as the libraries were not open for months.

  14. llothianb says:

    Heather this is phenomenal- absolutely love it! I hope all is well with you and yours and please stay safe!


  15. […] since I created a ‘what should I read next?‘ art journal page I’ve been wanting to do a similar design on a card featuring the […]

  16. […] in a bullet journal but I decided to record them on an art journal page as well. This is the second book filled spread in my art journal and who knows, there may be […]

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