How to Make a One-Page Artist’s Book



One-page Artist’s Book

Recently people have been asking me how I make my one-page artist books. These are a simple way of taking a painted image and turning it into a fabulous looking handmade book.

Making a book

Firstly divide your painting into eight equal parts, each of these will be a separate page.

Starting from the second page from the left on the bottom, create your images in sequence. Turning the painting around when you reach the right-hand edge. These images will now be upside down in comparison to your first three pictures. 


Once the picture is turned around

Folding the pages


Once you’ve finished painting you cut a slit down the middle of the paper between the first and second pages. Then you fold the picture in half, lengthwise.

Taking the ends, you push the pages together, folding them over on themselves, finally folding the front and back pages over each other. Et voila, a one-page book.

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Now all that needs to be done is to cut out two pieces of thick card for boards, cover them with leather, cloth or paper and glue the book into the jacket.

Examples of One-page Books

Medieval Landscape

Of Good and Bad Governance

One-Page Book, Of Good and Bad Governance.


Of Good and Bad Governance – watercolour book

The one-page book “Of Good and Bad Governance” takes its inspiration from Ambrogio Lorenzetti’s famous fresco in the Palazzo Pubblicco in Sienna. This massive three-sided painting, completed in 1338/9, sits in the council chambers and serves as a reminder to the councillors of their duty to the people of the city.

Lorenzetti’s Sienna

lorenzetti-good-governmentThe original is a massive fresco and must be considered to be one of the first true landscape paintings. The perspective is somewhat off, the colours are too bright and the condition is poor in parts. However, it depicts Sienna in a particular time in history.

In the 14th century, the city was a rich, prosperous place. It could afford to commission the best of the time to decorate its buildings. Then suddenly the Black Death struck. It wreaked havoc with all aspects of society. Rich, poor, young and old all were killed by it. Amongst these were the artistic Lorenzetti brothers in 1348.


City Walls Layout

Design Layout

What this painting does is to draw on the analogy of sensible government for the people, building protection and keeping them safe. Or knocking down the walls of defence and so, leaving them exposed and vulnerable.


This is not a Lockdown painting. Although, created, as it is, during the Covid 19 period. Our modern-day, Black Death.

What it does is look at the genius and imagination of Ambrogio Lorenzetti’s fresco, his use of perspective and colour and then re-imagines them.

The landscape, while completely fictitious, draws on the Italian countryside through which I travel daily. It is a representation of this, using Lorenzetti’s style and colour. Nothing more.

Making the book


Folding the pages

It uses the format of the one-page book to create a different and interesting way of viewing a painting. This way, the artist leads you through a story. Each page tells a tale of your own imagination. Once viewed opened up, you have a simple landscape to observe.


Other art books –

One-Page Book – Medieval Trees


Medieval Tree Book -leather bound, watercolour plates. 15cm x 9cm

Making a one page booklet


Finished page

This format allows you to paint a picture on one piece of paper and by folding and citing it make an interesting book. It’s a very simple but fun way of making something that looks elegant and creative.

20200428_130517Book layout

By painting the trees in a particular order you are able to read your way across the landscape from left to right. A slit is cut in the middle and the piece of paper is folded over and pushed together to create the pages.

Assembling the book20200428_130601

The paste down page and boards are cut to shape and glued on and then the whole thing is covered in leather. This came from an old jacket I bought at the market for three euro. Tie strings are then fitted to secure the book and voila you’re finished.

Medieval trees

20200428_184038The watercolour follows the Medieval tree series, a larger, 24-page book, similarly leather bound. The landscape features differing styles of tree as they’re traditionally depicted in Medieval manuscripts.

Designing to please

To add some focal points there are stone wall surrounds, an old neal-winfield-book-treeswooden barrel and a cave. The background features a meandering hilly skyline .
This is a great way of taking a simple painting and turning it into something unusual and special. Although this book is covered in a piece of a leather jacket, you could just was easily use cloth, wood or plastic to make an interesting binding.

The SacriFruital Grove


20200417_131011 (2)

The SacriFruital Grove is a garden where, in order to keep the tribe safe, you can offer up fruits of the fields to the gods. Under times of great stress and danger, it is important to make sacrifices and pay tribute to ensure the harvest.

Celtic art


This Celtic inspired place of reverence and worship offers hope by giving the gods tasty titbits that might appeal to their tastes. Who doesn’t like strawberries and a little lemon, especially in a Spritz?

One end has a wooden platform, the idea for this comes from the film “Little Big Man” where Dustin Hoffman’s father decides it’s time to die and lays down, in the rain, on a raised structure, hoping his body will be picked clean by the birds.

Art outside

20200417_200704At the other end is a blazing fire pit, topped with an impressive stone cairn. Okay, it’s a tea light with some stones on top but you can use your imagination with it. The flickering candle lights up the terrace at night, casting a safe, comforting light around. We are protected here.

The desolate forest in between represents the abuse of nature by humans. Our constant craving for profit over care, wealth before support and concrete ahead of nature. Or it’s a couple of twigs in a plant pot. You decide.

Terrace sculpture

The ArmaGarddon Project looks at Coronavirus isolation from a person in an apartment dealing with the present. The garden is a series of sculptural plant pots on a terrace in the middle of Italy.

Due to the lockdown, there are no florists open so we’re unable to replace last years plants and this is the only space where you can get a little sunshine. Therefore, you turn the tubs into mini-gardens that reflect the time and enjoy the space.


The Great Sensory Machine


The Sensory Machine

The weird and wonderful Sensory Machine is part of the ArmaGarddon Project and represents the four senses, smell, sound, taste and sight. Due to fears of the Coronavirus and social distancing, the sense of touch had to be omitted.

20200413_121549Garden sculpture

The ArmaGarddon Project uses objects I find on my walks with my dogs, trinkets I’ve collected over the years and interesting junk retrieved from drawers and boxes around the house.

The starting point for the Sensory Machine was a rusty, old bike lamp and some miniature, air-freshener bottles that I’d kept for a rainy day. So the rain had arrived.

Art in the garden

20200417_092337(0)[1]The strange-looking machine was to resemble a series of interlinked collection points where the ambience of the terrace could be captured and processed. It was also to add a little colour and impact to what otherwise would be a dull, dank corner.

So the bicycle lamp represents sight, light and images, while the sounds of the countryside are collected via a tambourine device, cut from an old leather jacket.

20200417_092403[1]The sense of smell is an old lemon net bag, containing shells, while our taste buds are represented by a sponge and the air-freshener bottles. A large monolithic pebble powers the system and an old, corked bottle, store the results.

Art on the terrace

The design also takes inspiration from the drawings of Al Jazzari’s manual of everyday constructions from the 12th century.

Like the paintings, these sculptures use very simple shapes to convey the function of the machine, giving it a fun, playful aspect. Just what we need to take our mind off things, in these dark times.


The Armagarddon Project


20200414_133804[1]The Coronavirus has brought about many changes in people’s lives, some tragic, some heartwarming. All around the world, this has been a difficult time for many. As I live in Italy I’ve been under lockdown for five weeks and what has amazed me is the level of creativity that has been shown by the people to keep their spirits up.

Spring Art

As spring arrived and there were no florists or garden centres open, I decided to create the Armagarddon Project and make plant pots on my terrace a little more interesting. The winter had left them a little forlorn, weeds, dried twigs and rotten vegetation scattered around.

20200414_133657(0)[1]Garden worlds

So each planter and tub is gradually becoming a little world of its own.

The rules in Italy dictate that other than going to the shops and chemist, I can only stray 200 meters from my house. Each day, while walking my dogs, I look around for interesting stones, sticks and random objects that can be used to create an Armageddon garden.

Stone circles and henges

The early ones were simple constructions from the 20200404_182442stones leftover from a previous project that needed a prehistoric stone circle. However, things then started to get more complicated as I tied and glued objects together to make more interesting structures.

Along with the ancient stone monuments, there are now fire pits, a wooden altar and palisades. The basil plant now grows on top of a stone cairn and an unused ashtray lights up the evening sky.

The scarecrows, from last year’s work, will now become the “Guardians of the Garden” or some such nonsense. They just need a little tender care to bring them back to life but with a little added colour they should brighten up the terrace.

20200413_125021Art in the Garden

The latest piece, “The Sensory Machine”, combines sculptures that pay homage to the senses of sight, smell, sound and taste. Social distancing has meant touch is kept well away at present.

Future plant pots will include the Curearium, a series of bottles, candles and pipes that search for a vaccine and the Tub of Fools that will sail idiots away from the gardens.

The Orchard – Making Scarecrows


The orchard sketches

The next painting will be a continuation of the trees and woodland theme. However, this time I have decided on a fruit orchard.

The idea for this painting came about after a wonderful trip, earlier in the year, to the fabulous tree museum in Lerchi, Citta di Castello.

Here, on the terraced slopes above the town, they preserve rare, native Italian fruit trees. On this occasion I was the tutor with a visiting group of American students and loved the opportunity I was given to walk amongst the trees and hear about the history of the museum.

The old scarecrow

The old scarecrow

One thing that really stood out for me was the wonderful scarecrow they’d made. It was constructed around two concrete posts, over which, a once bright red dress had been placed. Time had not been kind to the garment and now it was a tattered remnant of its former self but still with a charm all of its own.

This was when I decided that a scarecrow would make a great focal point for a painting, along with an accompanying collection of trees scattered across the hillside.

Finding your inner scarecrow


Rather than simply draw a scarecrow I thought it would be fun to make a mini one from scratch. Whilst walking the dogs I started to look for things I could use for the idea growing in my head. I collected items that I thought would be useful and then hunted out some old shirts and the sewing box. With my rudimentary knowledge of a running stitch and a pair of nail scissors I set to work.

Well, I enjoyed myself so much making the first one that things got a little out of hand. I now have a terrace full of them, which does make it look interesting, if not a little scary to say the least.

Making scarecrows

20190821_072236-1[1]While my sewing skills are never going to make the Milan fashion show, the works rough and readiness does add to the scene and the scarecrows seem to have taken on a project of their own.

The idea now is to leave them outside, to the ravages of time and the seasons and see how they do. I think that over time they will start to take on individual characteristics as they weather.

Who knows, maybe there’s a market for bespoke, artistic mini-scarecrows in the window  box. If the idea appeals to you then let me know if you want one. 🙂