Category: Broken narratives (Berta’s project)

Broken narratives


                                                                                       Staircase illustration


On Monday, we have been assigned to create a book cover that will narrate the story of the book. I have chosen the “Staircase” as my theme for the book cover.It was a story about a man who was barely sick and placed at the 7th floor, however as the time passes by he is moved to the ground level. Even though he wasn’t very ill, he ends up being on the ground floor and therefore, in the grave.

As, the story began at the top floor of the  hospital, and I drew a staircase that started from the title of the book (upper floor) and ended with a photo of a man hugging Death (last floor-grave).The idea behind the picture is , man led himself into the death. I drew a black mantle and a scythe over the   woman to represent her as a death. I  used a black marker to make an illustration of  the staircase and Death, as it looked more dramatic.


I had chosen the theme of obsession. In this theme, tells a story of a woman frantically looking for a rat in a room. This leads to her dismantling the bookshelves piece by piece, stripping the wood off the wallks and the carper off the floor.

In my project, I wanted to get across the point that the rat was the torment of the woman in the story, as this was the way i had depicted the story.  Therefore, I included the silhouette of a rat behind a disfigured, frantic woman. The idea was that this placement of the rat figure towering over the woman would symbolise the power the rat holds over her. This influence is evidential when the woman ‘dismantles the bookshelved piece by piece’.


Light at the end of the tunnel

My chosen theme was labyrinth , in order to emulate that theme, i drove to make my book appear as if it has travelled through a vortex, a journey that can be seen throughout the layers of the book itself. To create texture i shaved down the sides of the  pages and carved a whole all the way through to the other side . Furthermore, i singed and burned pages to represent the journey the characters of the book go through . It is distressed with a sense of hope , as there is light at the end of the tunnel i created with a torch , this is able to shine through the book as a whole as creates an interesting aesthetic . I would like to make some altercations such as removing the text of the book from the front cover to create more ambiguity  .

‘Bookception’. Like Inception but not as big of a budget…

For todays brief, we were asked to find an unwanted book to manipulate. We were then given a sample of different blurbs that we had to choose from. With the blurbs we had to identify interesting features in it, so that we could manipulate our books to visually interpret them. I decided to go with the theme of ‘Loop’. its blurb depicted a man getting sucked into a book to witness a murder. I started to highlight interesting words, so I could see what I could recreate from the blurb. I decided that I wanted to play with the man originally getting sucked into the book, and the victim reading a book before he’s murdered. I realised that they are both reading books which I could use to link them. I had researched some examples of artists manipulating books and found ‘A Passage’ by Buzz Spector (1994). I liked how he had ripped each page out, creating a ragged and warp line for each page. The pages also descend in hight, creating  a landscape in the book. I thought I could create this effect but cut out a ragged whole in each page, so it would create a portal like effect. I decided to respond with this idea as it suggested whoever picks up the book, takes on the role as the man (in the blurb) who gets sucked into the story, to watch the murder take place, they would then get sucked into the victims book, taking them back to the initial stage, thus creating a loop. I did this by sketching out a distorted shape on the first page, slipping the cutting matt under it and then cutting it out. I then slipped then next page onto of the matt so I could use the first cut out as a template for cutting the second page. for each page I used the one prior as a template, slowly cutting smaller and smaller shapes to create a sloped effect. I also played around with distorting the shapes more by weaving in and around the previous cut out, creating a wave like effect which looks like a portal.


For todays task we were given the freedom to let our creativity flow in this Broken narratives activity. We were given the choice of four themes. I chose the theme ‘stairs’. As stated in the brief a man has been hospitalised for an unnamed disease, the hospital has 7 floors for people like himself, the lower floors are for the more ill patients. He is moved the lower floors as the day goes by he moves further down along the way he reaches a state of hysteric and therefore begins to hallucinate. He eventually reaches the lowest level and therefore death.

Throughout my work I wanted to portray images of illness, death and doubt. I think I did this pretty well and I really enjoyed this task. I wanted to tell the story through a series of different ways and techniques and feel like I achieved this relatively well considering the short time frame.

Some of my techniques failed but it was all about the creative experience. I tried to create stairs going deeper and deeper as every page turned but I couldn’t seem to get it. However i do think the stairs on the front cover are effective. I did the painting of the Earth because i wanted to try and make it as if he was moving further and further away from earth as mentioned in the brief but i didn’t end up finishing this. The black pages with the cut out lines is what i imagined the man would’ve been thinking in the dark times during the storyline because i wanted to make it more emotionally evoking.



‘Original’ book
Clean slate









What is a book? Why are we so scared to damage them? Why is this format invincible?

This mini brief required us to question the ‘concept’ of books, alongside with their composition, layout, binding etc. True enough, I had never thought or even considered the importance of visual dimension within books. We have all become so accustomed to flipping the pages in a certain pace, holding the spine in a particular manner and feeling the repetitive texture of paper, that all of these aspects are almost ‘forgotten’ by our conscious self. And bringing in this element of ‘connection’ to a reader, can help to create powerful and immersive experience.

With ‘loop’ as my chosen theme, I decided to narrow down some factors aside from the provided storyline/narrative (which is based on a female, that hired to kill her partner, with the help of an assassin, who is reading a book about, female, that hired to kill her partner, with the help of an assassin, in reality).

The creation of loop sits on-top of the temporal dimension: time. Without the fourth dimension, a loop wouldn’t exist (whether it may be in the narrative or in reality). Instantly, I knew that alongside with the murder narrative, the blend of time could add in an interesting imagery.

The cover of the book, focusing on repetitive days and time variations, alongside with texture
Striking red acrylic paint, with haphazard brush strokes to portray the ‘soon to be’ murder scene

I have always been extremely interested with texture and the sensations it can provide, therefore I wanted to draw severe attention towards it. But the material couldn’t just be anything. It also had a make a connection with loop or the narrative of murder. After some quick research, fabrics, especially threads seem to have a portrayal of ‘loops.’ With their never ending entwining threads curling each other, they almost seem to reflect some aspects of loops and temporal dimension. Thus, the need to experiment with threads seemed very important. Whether they may be glued on or stitched into the texts.

The introduction page stripped down to important words, with a layout change, to slow down the pace of turning pages
A combination of materials and techniques

For one the ‘main’ concept page, I decided to create a collage based on the predator (who is a female and hired to kill her partner, with the help of an assassin, in the book he is reading, in reality) before linking it with the prey (who is the man). Of course, I also wanted to created some repetition from the cover, so I brought in the element of time (and day) to mimic the loop of reality and fiction. Lastly, I paired it with some sewn in lines, to support the madness, that a loop in time could create, especially with a murder.

A close up look at the texture
The texture representing the madness

The ‘taboo’ of not destroying books. The page flipping pace. The feel of paper.

These ideologies can easily be altered through movement, sound, pace, time, involvement, shape, space, 3d, scale, texture etc and in return, they can make the reader more connected with books physically and realise that we have all been missing out a lot on the ‘experience’ of reading.

Broken Narratives- a staircase story

For the project ‘Broken Narratives’ I chose the theme of ‘Staircase’. As the brief stated, the man had an unknown disease. I wanted to create a book that looked as if it was also diseased. To create this, I used glue and tissue to make a 3D textured effect to look damaged and cut open. I then used acrylic paints to show the colours of decay.

On the inside of the book, following the brief of the man being moved downstairs, I wanted to create the effect of stairs falling into an abyss, where that man was lying. To do this, I used my craft knife to cut out a series of different sized squares to look like stairs. I then drew the man at the bottom floor. I also painted the pages black to represent a feeling of hopelessness and painted some stairs that didn’t lead to any particular direction to represent no way out. I enjoyed creating this project and felt that it encourage out of the box thinking.

something was there…



 I choose obsession , the story was about a girl who was sitting alone in the library when she hears a voice and she gets scared. she sees a shadow of a mouse and then she looks under the furniture and rips out all the books and she finds nothing. After reading the story I had decided to create at least 5 pages to show each stage the library, the girl sitting on the table scared , the mouse and the a last page where she goes crazy when she  finds nothing. I have used sharpies and fine pens to create illustrations.



I chose the narrative about the man who starts at the top of the Sanatorium but as the days go by he is slowly moved to the bottom floor where he dies. I tried to capture the idea of travelling down through the sanatorium, I did this by cutting descending stairs into my book so like the protagonist in the narrative you too move down through the floors, each page being a step closer to your inevitable doom. On the last page I was going to write ‘death’ however I was concentrating so much on making the word look pretty I actually spelled death incorrectly so i just scribbled over it and drew skeletons, graves and other visuals you correspond with being dead.