Book Arts Improv Book #1: A Visitors Guide to Urban Sprawl National Park
Welcome to the reallllllly late result of the first week of the Book Arts Improv!
Here are the themes I was working with that week:
- A merit badge that only someone over the age of 40 can earn: I may never remember why I walked into this room merit badge
- The weirdest thing you’ve ever packed in a carry on bag: Taxidermied hamster
- A little-known, rejected National Park location: Urban Sprawl National Park
And here’s the finished product – the “first” Improv book for 2013, A Visitors Guide to Urban Sprawl National Park:
The book is based on the fact that I’m not such a big fan of where I grew up. The area is overly developed and commercialized and has very little open land left. There are lots of strip malls and big box stores. I kind of see it as the anti-Vermont.
This book was destined to be a pop-up. I knew pretty quickly that I wanted to include big box stores and that they had to jump out from the pages.
The first store is a parody of Target – I referred to it as the Tarpit region of the park. Many big box stores have birds that live in them – birds include sparrows, chickadees, owls, and even peregrine falcons. The birds peck at bags of birdseed for sustenance (little thieves). The booklet in the bottom left hand side of the left page is a removable guide to bird watching at the Tarpit region.
All of the birds were created with hand-carved rubber stamps and then painted with watercolors. Parking lot lines were all hand-drawn with white gel pen.
The next parody was of Petco – I call this one the PetBlo region. PetBlo’s specialty is its petrification services – if you have a stubborn pet that refuses to obey you, PetBlo will employ techniques that ultimately bring order to your household. Pulling the orange tab in the book reveals the shit that will be scared out of any obstinate pet.
The hamster and poop images were created using hand-carved rubber stamps and were painted with watercolors. The pull tab is cardstock wrapped in washi tape.
The last parody is of The Sharper Image, although I’m not sure they still exist in brick-and-mortar form. Way to go, economy!
The Not-that-Sharp region of the park tries to address the overwhelming selection of nonsense that they offer by providing you with pre-printed shopping lists at the door. It’s often hard to remember why you even went into the store in the first place, so their lists give you specific items to purchase while in the store, such as motion activated pet bowls and an MP3 BBQ grill.
The shopping list pop-up swirls were hand-printed on laser vellum. I love the translucent quality of this paper.
The colophon is also a pop-up.
I printed the text using my go-to font, Book Antiqua, on Speckletone and Frostone (sadly out of production) paper. The pages were made from Speckletone cover stock in both True White and Black, and Construction cover stock in Timber Green. The box stores were made with Construction cover stock in Cement Green. Yes, I’m a big fan of the French Paper Company.
This book was produced in an edition of five. I’ve already sold one of the extra copies, but there’s still one available for purchase. I’ll eventually put it up for sale on Etsy.
I hope you enjoyed the book!