Artists’ Books – Making Books by Hand

"Undertow", Karen Hardy

“Undertow,” Karen Hardy, 2015
TSCPL Permanent Collection

Artists’ books are handmade books created by an artist or group of artists. Making books by hand allows an artist to have complete creative control over their work.

In the initial concept phase, artists have decisions to make:

Will the book have text or be blank? Will the artist use already published text or write it themselves?

Prints are a good option if the book will be an edition of multiple copies. For a more unique book, an artist may choose to use original drawings, paintings or collage to help tell the story.

"Echoes", Islam Aly

“Echoes,” Islam Aly, 2014
TSCPL Permanent Collection

Artists can choose from a wide range of materials, from traditional leather and paper to more modern options like Tyvek.

A book can be as simple as a single-sheet folded accordion or as elaborate as a fine leather binding with gold tooling.

The only limits are the artist’s imagination!
We have a wonderful collection of artists’ books and you can view our art collection online any time. Just search for “artists’ books.”

Try it for yourself! The library has a great collection of books on bookmaking, as well as collage, printmaking, paper making and more. Check out this list to get started.

"Faces of Tajtania", Tatiana Potts

“Faces of Tajtania,” Tatiana Potts, 2016
TSCPL Permanent Collection

For even more book fun try my favorite online resource the Book Arts Web. With links to artist’s webpages, tutorials galore (more than 80!), and lots and lots of interesting blogs, the Book Arts Web is truly one-stop shopping.

Want to learn more about our artists’ book collection or bookmaking in general? Contact Brea Black, Art Librarian and Book Arts Curator, at

Brea Black is the Art Librarian and Book Arts Curator in the Alice C. Sabatini Gallery. Her favorite thing is to share the wonderful world of artists' books with the community. She also leads the Arts & Crafts team and teaches workshops on bookmaking, altered books, and a variety of crafty topics.