How the cow went over the moon, a dragon and got books that were banned

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In my last post I shared my methods of making the original artist books “How The Cow Went Over The Moon” and “Tiny Notes”.  The handmade original one-of-a-kind books are the basis for a printed version, newly released, titled “How The Cow Went Over The Moon and Tiny Note To The Sun” (

Almost exclusively I used to do unique books as art objects that were displayed in art gallery exhibits. My one-of-a-kind books were then sold and that was that. Well, in 2020 after the pandemic began the galleries closed to the public and I began publishing my artist books in an on-demand way. My book is printed at the time it is ordered and mailed to the buyer. I did this so I could still share my visual stories and they could still be fairly unique i.e. not printed in large quantities. And as my portfolio page attests that’s the way I’ve now done twelve different artist book projects. As the galleries have adapted to the pandemic since March 2020 allowing the public to handle one-of-a-kind books, wisely I think, hasn’t come back into vogue.

When making a printed version of my original artist books I try as best I can to maintain the look of the original work. I do very little – or ideally absolutely no – digital manipulation of my content. At most some text is typed. I even prefer to handwrite as much as possible. It’s important to me that people – especially kids – get to have a wide variety of homemade or handmade comforts whether it’s dinners, cookies, fine art or books.

Anyway, in the case of my new “How the cow…” book I typed the about the book and the dedication page text. But those pages and the covers are the only typed text. (I’ve learned the hard way that having these pages typed rather than handwritten helps the book be found via a search.)

I also scanned the handmade pattern I used for the cow book slipcase and the found sheet music I used for the tiny notes book cover. I scanned my handwritten text summary for the cow story. I did digitally “erase” the page number marks on my handwritten text because those numbers did not apply to the printed book. Other than erasing the pages numbers the handwritten page is the same in the printed book as it is in the original.

With those very few digital documents in my 28 page book layout I created end papers of a sort to flank or wrap each story within the printed book. The original artist books are themselves covered with these patterns.

The scanned blue bubble pattern was the basis for the printed book cover.

As you can see the covers of both the original book and the printed version are similar.

The artwork in the cow story is just a bit smaller in the printed version than the original. But as you can see the colors are a very close match! Also the printed book is conventionally bound so I set up my layout like a comic book rather than in the folded concertina form of the original. I don’t yet know of any printer who prints and mails concertina style books. The two illustrations per page layout allowed me to fill the seven inch square printed pages. (In the photos below the original handmade book is at the top)

The “Tiny Notes” original artwork is reproduced at a much larger size in the printed book. The original book is 2.25 inches square. The printed book is 7 inches square. Again the colors printed are pretty close to what’s in the original!

So you can see the scales of the books in relation to a human. My spouse took these photos of me and the books…

The original concertina format cow book unfolds to four feet long. Almost as tall as me!

The original concertina tiny notes book is only 20 inches long unfolded.

You can see more of these book pages and details on my portfolio site. I’ve no idea if these original artist books will someday go to an art gallery even for display under glass.

For now I’m having fun making books intentionally for printing and mailing directly to people. It may sound odd to say this but this new way of sharing my books feels more personal and I feel like many more people are able to see and own my work this way.

And adding to my fun is that will distribute, next week, free ebook versions of “How The Cow Went Over The Moon” and “Tiny Notes To The Sun“. More details in my next blog post.

This week my coloring book poem “How To Draw A Dragon” was read aloud on Kidz Stories And More !!! You can see it here When we were discussing the creation of this video Kidz Stories and I decided to make my book pages so they could be downloaded for free so kids could color along with the video! The download is available here and the directions are also in the video link. I’m seeing this as possibly another fun new way to share my artist books!

Kidz Stories And More

Speaking of interactive downloads: This weeks homemade yumminess was from the recipe by  @indianeskitchen called Budget Friendly Beef Stroganoff. Both my spouse and I liked it!! I didn’t have long flat pasta on hand so I used short pasta and…Yum!!

Also this week someone shared this photo saying how happy they are with a portrait I painted of their cat and how it has been framed by the Aurora Gallery!! That makes me happy!!!!!

“The King Of Hearts” by Clancy – 3.5 x 2.5 inches – ink, gouache and color pencil on board

My spouse mentioned the current news about book banning and that one of the titles banned is “A Light in the Attic” by Shel Silverstein. We have that book in our dining room poetry collection. It’s a favorite! Hearing that news led to both of us looking up what other books we have on our shelves that are banned. It was a fun scavenger hunt of sorts! 🤣 Turns out we have a large number of banned titles throughout our book collection. Two shelves in our dining room alone yield 4 books/authors who have been banned… even as recently as 2022.

Here’s one of the articles we read about banned books. Naturally we got online and ordered more banned books from our local independent bookstore. 😁 One of the banned books I tried to order was Maus by Art Spiegelman (here’s an article about that book) but all of my usual indy bookstores were sold out! But there were other banned books available which we happily bought.

I’ll leave some memes about book banning here just in case someone wants one.

I hope your week is similarly filled with subversive literary delights and some homemade comforts.

See you next Monday.

21 thoughts on “How the cow went over the moon, a dragon and got books that were banned

    1. I’m with you!!! The American Library Association has a list of banned books going back several years. I think all of the books from my high school English classes and my college freshman year comp classes are on the banned book lists. 🤯 There are some new-to me titles that are on my TBR list now. 🤣 So yes, I’m fully signed up for subversive literary delights!!

        1. Yes!!! That’s what bothers me too!! It’s like refusing to try an ice cream flavor just because some other kid says it’s not good. 🤦‍♀️

  1. Wow, those bans seem crazy to me. I think they’re banning my entire generation. This is the first time I’ve had that feeling. My brother and I were discussing by email, just last week how ideas and influence of generations immediately prior to those coming into power and coming up as teens and children are very blatantly being pushed aside and/or discredited. We’re the last sticky defense against youth being swallowed by media culture and consumerism, and those powers that be don’t like us and our open-minded and thoughtful discourse at all. Thanks for bringing the bans to our attention, Sue!!
    I’m so happy you’ve found ways to share your incredibly uplifting and fun artwork with others during the pandemic. It uplifts us all, and I thank you for your intensive effort to find, not only alternate but, expanding and life-enriching ways to do so.

    1. Yes!! These bans seem totally bonkers to me too. In reading the lists of banned books I’m seeing the books that were required reading in my high school English classes as well as my college freshman comp classes! You stated it so very well – they want to ban entire generations! Ugh! I’m hopeful that we’ll all get creative about sharing these ideas that they want to ban. I take lessons from what happened in other countries and how banned works still got into people’s hands. Of course some of those books that tell how people fought censorship (like Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi) are currently being banned… so we’re just going to find creative ways to read and talk and share anyway!

      1. Yes, talking and sharing are great ways to make sure ideas stay alive, and of course by example. The tricky part is being connected enough to younger folks where they might take note, listen and understand.

        1. Yes, that’s definitely the tricky part…but isn’t it tricky to connect with anyone of any age? Sometimes I marvel how it can be possible that any two humans understand each other at all. Other times I marvel at all humans have in common and find it amazing that we ever have misunderstandings. Other times I prefer dogs and cats 😁

    2. And I’m very glad my work is uplifting! That is how we will all survive and even thrive by helping lift each other’s spirits. Thank you for all the lifting you do of my spirits!

  2. I think it’s fantastic that something as bleak as this pandemic, when we’ve all felt closed off from each other at times, has inspired you to reach out into the world through your creative output and to find new ways to make your art and your books accessible to a wider audience.

    1. Thank you. It hasn’t always been easy during this pandemic to do this reaching out but I’d rather have an artistic challenge than not – so I reach. It really has helped me keep going creatively to go ahead and share and interact with people like you. Thanks for being there.

    1. Aw thank you for your kind words about my books! So glad you hot Maus for your students and that they liked it!! I’ve read the library copy of Maus… and I did manage to buy copies from a local bookstore!!!

Thank you for reading and sharing encouragements!