Zucchini flower drawing becomes a concertina

The set of six drawings on separate panels making up one large drawing based on a zucchini flower has finally been resolved. A lot of thinking and decisions made, which were then rescinded for new approaches, have resulted in a concertina book.

It’s not a conventional book, no words and really no pages, but it seems the best way to describe it. The original post about it is here, so you can see the way it was at that stage. One panel had been completely worked with colour all over, and one decision was to keep to minimal colour with plenty of white left, so that panel was started again. More work was done on all the panels, and an element of red brought in to help link them. The completed one has been put aside, maybe it will have a new life too. Clearly, since the drawing has gone from the six panels arranged in three rows of two, to a single row, I had to decide which went where. The final layout has them running in pairs, with the centre pair beginning from the left, followed by the bottom pair, then ending with the top pair. I did add a few more lines in order to make the connections smooth, but really they worked neatly this way.

The drawings have been repeated on the back in pen, mirror fashion, but with no added colour, so when light is on the book from the front the colours glow gently on the back. Joining the panels together caused a major hold-up as I tested and thought through numerous ideas. In the end I decided to make the joins a feature rather than trying to blend them in, so used red paper, which I then painted with red acrylic to avoid the paper quickly fading. I used red paper, rather than white paper painted red to avoid the white edges.

It is pen and ink with pastel pencils, finished with Prismacolor pencils on heavy, cold pressed watercolour paper.

Zuc_book1web Zuc_book2web Zuc_book3web Zuc_book4web

Author: anna warren portfolio

I draw, I paint, I am a printmaker. Always searching for the interesting detail in the world around me.

33 thoughts

  1. You’re a clever and original thinker, Anna. I enjoy the way you turn 2D into 3D works of art. The mirror drawing on the back is a lovely resolution to the piece. I’m wondering if you are going to do anything to protect the paper since there is no glass involved…like varnishing it? The way light (and shadow) falls on the panels adds to the poetry of the whole.


  2. Thank you Julie – there certainly was a lot of thought involved, so its very nice of you to say that! I must admit I hadn’t really thought about protecting it. There are several coats of fixative, but obviously that isn’t really enough. I do have a can of matte varnish, which I used on a lino cut I did on canvas once, so maybe that is the answer. I love shadows, I think there is a lot that can be done with them to enhance a piece.


    1. Well – I was only thinking of flies landing on the paper and leaving their marks – that kind of thing – or splashes. But I wouldn’t want you to spray the paper and then have it buckle. Heaven forbid! You’d have to experiment first on spare paper.
      I love shadows too – and reflections. This series would also make a gorgeous set of ceramic tiles.


      1. Yes, you are absolutely right, it does need protection of some kind. I will experiment! Ceramic tiles – well, that is probably not my forte, but I do think it could translate into an etching or lino cut …


  3. This is my very favourite piece you have done so far. I am so impressed by how far you have taken the original idea and I think this is such an elegant resolution. The red joins are fab and the reverse being black and white is magic. In regards to protecting the work, I have just been hunting around on the internet for solutions as I do not want to frame my work and I found Ester Roi’s blog on glass less framing was the best. She gave great instructions on how to protect the work, hers is mounted on board so yours would be trickier but well worth a read. Karen


    1. Thank you so much Karen, I’m delighted by your response! I really did enjoy working my way through this. There could have been many solutions, but I am happy with this one. The colour glowing through to the back was a surprise, and its always good to be surprised! Thanks for the suggestion, I will check out Ester Roi’s blog.


  4. What a wonderful solution to your amazing panels. I like Karen McR’s suggestion of a bell jar, for protection. πŸ™‚


        1. I probably spent more time trying to decide on the binding than anything else – at one point decided on red leather, but it was too thick, then transparent drafting film, but it looked like sticky tape … I think my daughter suggested the red paper. Then I used the wrong glue and it all separated! Proper bookbinding cloth would actually have been the best choice, but I didn’t think of it! Next time! I love the concept of hand made books, so there will be more.


  5. Congratulations this is beautiful work. I may have missed something. Are you trying to protect the drawings? Why? I think white gloves nearby is the best way for artists books and anything that happens in between, fingerprints etc just have to be accepted.


  6. I actually hadn’t thought of protecting the work until it was brought to my attention, but there is sense in making it possible to wipe dust etc off it. I have been doing some research, and I think a light coat of spray varnish could be sufficient to help it stay clean, and repel fingerprints to a certain extent. White gloves are a useful thing to keep nearby too. I like the idea of have it handled, so prefer not to encase it in any way. Thanks Anne!


  7. Really lovely Anna . So much thought and experimenting has been a success … each painting seems to flow off the edge of the page and beyond .. or is that my imagination πŸ˜‰


    1. Thanks Poppy – I do enjoy the process, it’s like a journey with all sorts of interesting byways, but it is still good to get to the destination! It certainly does flow off in all directions – probably invading the next bed in the kitchen garden!


  8. Fabulous! I’ve long (no pun intended) had it in mind to do a concertina book, but it’s still on my list. Seeing how beautiful this piece of yours is, I don’t know but that I might be too intimidated to try my ownβ€”or would I be inspired? Both?! πŸ˜‰


  9. Oh Kathryn don’t be intimidated by it, I would much rather inspire you! This was the result of a long journey. I promise it is worth it if you embark on the journey. I had no idea the drawings would end up as a concertina, but I am a little bit addicted to the technique now – I am working on a miniature one right now, and have no idea how this will end up either! Thank you so much for your comment – I look forward to seeing your concertina!


  10. So lovely. I love all your choices.

    Paper of that quality might handle a coat front and back of acrylic matte medium without permanently buckling? That would provide serious grime protection– the result would be downright wet-wipable. If the paper would go back to flat.

    It would make the piece heavier which could be a plus for display (less worry about stray breezes). Time to experiment.


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