Thursday, April 4, 2013


OMG!  I almost gave these books away and I am sooooo glad that I didn't!!!   
They will make wonderful altered book journals.  

I usually start an altered book by gessoing or paining over the entire page...leaving just a hint of the text showing through but these books are different...they have beautiful watercolor paintings of potpourri, dishes, bottles and such.  I couldn't bear to cover up these little gems so I got the idea to alter them by doodling around the existing paintings and turning them into my own art.  For the text portion of the page I will apply gesso or paint and then add my own hand lettering.  Usually a verse or quote of some kind.

I got the inspiration for the paint over from a book that I am currently reading, Drawing and Painting Imaginary Animals by Carla Sonheim.  In her book, Carla explains how to look at cracks and stains in sidewalks in order to find imaginary animals.  Well....when I looked at the paintings of the dishes surrounded by potpourri I began to see something else.  I saw birdhouses, big flowers, ladies with long flowing hair, hearts with wings...something other than what the artist had in mind.  Funny how inspiration comes from so many different places.  It is all around us...if we only pay attention.

This is a sample of what the pages looked like before I added my mark.

 I added a doodled border.  I wanted to keep it fresh so each page has a different design.

I doodled over the existing watercolor painting.  This particular page looked like it needed to be a big flower.  I wonder what you would have seen?

I added tinted gesso to the text side of the page.  For the tinted gesso, I mixed acrylic craft paint with white gesso.

I completed the page by adding lettering, and shading using watercolor, alcohol marker, and pan pastels.

Taa Daaa!  A finished page.  I have only finished two pages and have just about completed the doodling for the remaining pages.  Once I started doodling the ideas just kept coming and I couldn't stop!  I sometimes become obsessed that way!  Ughhh!  My OCD kicking in?  lol!

Here is a peek at some of the incomplete pages (there are 30 in all) to give you an idea of what fun I have been having!  This, in my opinion, is so much more fun than buying one of those journals with the prompts and incomplete drawings that invites you to finish the page with your own doodles.

I will post the completed pages as I finish them.  Keep your eyes open!  Oh....and in case you would like to make an altered journal similar to this one...I found several used Potpourri books by Gail Duff on

Is this giving you any ideas????

Until next time!


  1. WOW - these are so cool. I have a couple of books I've been hanging on to , not knowing what to do with them. Thanks for the inspiration!
    I don't have any drawing skills, but maybe I can do the doodle!

    1. Thank you Deb! If you can doodle, you can enhance an existing drawing and make it even more beautiful! You can also collage. I messed up part of the original drawing with my doodle and pasted a shape cut out of newspaper over it. I actually liked it better. It added a different texture to the mix.

  2. Really neat idea! What a difference your doodles make! Thanks for sharing ! :)

    1. Thank you Colleen for your comment! This is really a fun project!

  3. This is amazing!!! I love this idea!!! I've seen books altered for journals but usually it's gesso'd over the whole page(s) but I like your idea of using the existing artwork and adding to it. Thanks for sharing!!! (I found your blog thru FB Doodle Arts and letters. Love it!

    1. Thanks Robin! I was lucky to find just the right book. Now if I could only finish it...too many other priorities and now with Joanne's class starting soon...well, you know how that goes....See you in Doodle Art class!