My writing week: art and books

Years ago, I met a woman who made altered books – she used mixed media to transform old books into a work of art. The idea fascinated me. On the one hand, I was reluctant to destroy a book; on the other, I could see the possibilities of creating a new work of art. These days, I suppose we’d call it upcycling.

I was studing an “Art in Books” subject at university when I finally decided to give it a try. The object was to keep a journal that highlighted what I’d learnt in the course of studying the subject. I chose to present my findings in an artistic form. Bear in mind, that this was the first time I’d attempted something like this.

I’d found an old, tattered copy of Peter Pan at a garage sale. The illustrations were beautiful and I saved as many as I could.


The inside cover has clock arms, representing the quote: “Why can’t you remain like this forever?” At the time that quote had significance for me (it still does) – my sons were then nine and seven, and growing up so fast.


Journal entries were hidden in pages, sometimes mimicking methods I had read about in my study.

IMG_4197  See the “illumination” below?



Back when I made this, I never thought I’d be collaborating with an illustrator on my own picture book. Working on My Silly Mum with Veronica has reminded me about how text, illustration and font style work together to tell a story – all are important factors, dependent on each other as much as they enhance each other. The pictures are more than just decorations: they extend the plot, develop characters, set the scene and more.

 I can’t wait to share the story behind the process with you.



Monique Mulligan

Monique Mulligan

0 Responses

    1. Thank you, Rae. I remember making it in 2004. I was working on it when I got a call that a beloved family member had died suddenly. I remember I had to pack it up then and there.

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