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Katerina Husar Lazarova


Crafting a Mysterious World Beyond the Wall

In the last part of my studies at UCSD, I learned about a class called Art and Text. I got inquisitive and decided to join it right away. In the first lesson, when we discussed the course content, I knew I was in the right place. Not only were we supposed to deal with the text as an art form rather than a recording one, but our final product was a book. I have always dreamed of creating a book, but I have never thought that I would be able to make one. Now, I had the opportunity not to write a book but rather to render it graphically and artistically.

During the first part of the course, the professor opened the door to the world of art books and unconventional processing of formats. He offered us many examples that are physically stored in the archive of the school library and recommended interesting literature. My favorite book for this quarter was The Book as Art.

To start our book project, we had to pick a format. My favorite became the accordion book, which is composed of a continuously folded sheet of paper that you can also stand up to view all the pages simultaneously. I saw an example of this format on page 178 of the previously mentioned book. This artistic book by Claire Van Vliet also had excellent pop-up parts, giving me the idea to add some three-dimensional things to my book.

Next, I needed ideas for what my book would be about. I got inspired by Květa Pacovská and Jiří Trnka, Czech authors of books from my childhood, which I will probably never grow out of. Jiří Trnka also planted the seed of the topic where the secret world hides behind the wall. 

Now, all that was left was to create sketches and choose a medium. My experimentation with digital painting determined the direction, and I decided not to use traditional painting or drawing for the first time. Instead, I created the illustrations entirely on my computer using the drawing program Rebelle 5. I admit that on this project, I spent hours and hours not only drawing but also measuring and figuring out how the pop-up elements should actually work. Not all of these hours were fun or adventurous. Sometimes, I had to erase everything and start entirely from scratch as I gradually learned to master this new medium. Sometimes, I thought it would be easier to pick up a brush and pencil and completely forget about digital painting. That was the time when it was better to put everything aside and do homework for other classes. Then, when I opened the image again, I was amazed at how interesting it looked. I got curious about what would happen when I added another element, which made me continue until the finale.

Finally, it was time to print and glue the individual parts together. It was the most exciting and scary time to see if everything fit together. It did! The time spent precisely measuring everything paid off, and as I opened and closed the finished piece in my hand, feelings of joy, satisfaction, achievement, and triumph spread through my body. I became the creator of my first book!


Even though this book does not contain text, it can support the creation of one's own story, not only of the entire scene but also of individual characters from the book. Everyone who picks it up can be the creator of their own original story.


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