This is my 600th post since I began this blog, and this week I reached (and surpassed) the total number of views I had for last year. In recognition of those milestones, it’s time for another giveaway. Since many of my readers live in countries with immanent elections, I thought some clowns might be suitable.
If you live in Canada, you will recognize the faces on the three thaumatropes above as the leaders of the three major political parties. The thaumatropes are stick-mounted which makes them a little easier to operate than the string type.
If you wish to make a Canadian clown, first print out clowns 2019 on some card stock. You will also need one (or more) straight bamboo skewers and some adhesive. I used glue stick for mine, but starch paste or white glue would be fine. Use something that does not set too quickly as it may take a moment or two to position the stick accurately.
Assembly of your clown takes a few simple steps. Cut out your clown, removing the black outline and keeping the two circles connected. Next, apply your adhesive to the backs of both circles and to the end of your skewer where it will sit inside the finished thaumatrope. Position your skewer in the middle of the clown nose side. There are little red dots at the top and bottom to assist in this. Fold the circles together, matching the edges as closely as possible.
Test your thaumatrope by holding the skewer between flat palms and rubbing your hands back and forth to spin it. You may need to adjust the position of the skewer slightly to make the clown nose appear in the correct position. I have found that the thaumatrope’s blended image ‘reads’ most clearly when you have bright light on the thaumatrope but are viewing it against a dark background.
If you do not live in Canada and would like to make a more locally appropriate clown, here are the steps to make your own image.
Start with an image that shows the subject as full face as possible.
Change the image to grey scale.
Increase the contrast.
You may want to fade out the nose area to make the clown nose show more clearly. You will also need to remove the background behind the figure.
(I used the Photoshop Cutout filter on my Canadian clowns to simplify the image further.)
Place your image on the left hand circle. You may need to re-size it. Try to keep the tip of the nose as close to the centre of the circle as possible. Erase any parts of the image that lie outside the circle.
Place the clown nose in the same position on the right-hand circle as the tip of the nose on the left-hand circle. You may need to flip the nose horizontally so that the highlight matches the light direction in your photograph.
There are spaces for two other clowns if you wish to make more than one. Print, cut out, assemble, and spin.
In other book arts news:
There are a number of events on or coming soon related to Kitty Maryatt’s re-creation of La Prose du Transsibérien.
If you are interested in woodblock prints or fairy tales, a recent article from The Public Domain Review features both.
Lavishly illustrated, Woodblocks in Wonderland: The Japanese Fairy Tale Series by Christopher DeCou traces the history of a publishing venture that brought Japanese stories and prints to the rest of the world. You can find the full article here.