Tag Archives: water colors

Using Old Book Pages as Backgrounds


I often use pieces or parts of old books as the backgrounds for my ATCs. Some people don’t like the idea of tearing up perfectly good books, but the books I use are hardly perfect! I like to go to yard sales and thrift stores and find books that are falling apart. The oldest books with pages torn are perfect for my artwork. One of my greatest finds was an old, old nursing, manual. I got it for $3 at an estate sale. The cover was falling off and the pages were so crisp they would crumble, but the content is so great and the faded color so rich that I loved it.

Sometimes I find children’s books that have been scribbled in or pages torn out. They are no longer fit for a child’s library, but I can still salvage some great illustrations from them for ATCs.
When swapping internationally, I have received some fantastic pages from books printed in a language other than English. I have no idea what they have written on them, but I love the look of it nonetheless.

I recently joined a swap in which we were asked to draw or paint a bird onto a book page. When drawing on pages, the medium you choose will determine how much text shows. In this first ATC, I drew a black stork using Copic markers. The text is not visible behind the bird.


Since this text appears to be Arabic, I decided I wanted to paint a bird that would be present in the Middle East. That is why I chose to draw the stork. I like to let the book page dictate the art that goes on it.

In the other ATC, I used Copic multi liners to draw most of the picture, and just used some lighter Copic markers to color the birds. Most of the text is still visible on this one. Since this is obviously Asian text, I tried to create the style of traditional art of the Orient.


On both ATCs, I used watercolor paints to just add color and highlights to the backgrounds. The watercolors allow the text of the book page to show through.

Before tossing those old books, decide if there are parts that can be reclaimed from them to use in your art. You may be surprised at the direction the book pages take you!