Book Beautiful at the National Library

First year illustration students recently exhibited new hand printed work at the National Library of Scotland.

The artist books on display here were inspired by a visit to the Library where students viewed a number of original items being prepared for the Book Beautiful treasures display. This experience was important, the opportunity to touch, smell and to feel the weight of the original book has a completely different effect to using a facsimile or to seeing the artefact reproduced on a screen.

eca illustration and book beautiful (5)

The students made notes and used drawings to reflect on details of the Book Beautiful treasures, such as the materials used, the composition of the page and the way narratives are presented

After their visit to the Library, the students returned to the ECA print workshop where they explored the medium of relief printing used to create the original illustrations in these artist books.

eca illustration and book beautiful (2)The students were encouraged to be playful with the process, combining a variety of marks and surfaces to form creative results. They were asked to respond to the artefacts they had seen by designing their own printed book illustrating one of Chaucer’s famous narratives, ‘The Canterbury Tales’.

eca illustration and book beautiful (4)Each print was set up in a way so that it could be folded to produce a simple book form from a single sheet of paper. The students were encouraged to consider the original items that they viewed in terms of their use of text, borders, pattern, use of composition and figures. They were not asked to replicate the style, but instead to consider its relevance.


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