My first physical prototype for my comic book room was a whiskey glass. As I conceived the process I would use to create this paper facsimile, my thinking was mostly sound. It didn’t take long for me to realise I’d overlooked something rather obvious: the whiskey glass is round. Round objects, especially transparent ones filled with liquids, change dramatically based on the eye level of the viewer. I had come up with a representation of the glass from the top and from only one eye level. As a result, unless this whiskey glass was placed at the very back of my room in a position where you could only see it from one angle, it was going to need to be revised.
This setback made me reflect on the validity of the entire notion of representing real objects in such a rudimentary fashion. I decided to take the easiest shape to cover in paper and see if I could achieve my desired results. There was a copy of Crime and Punishment by Dostoyevsky sitting in my house and since the book could conceivably be found in the office of detective, and being a book, it is a comprised of nothing but flat surfaces, I decided this book would become my new prototype.
After covering the book in some newsprint I had lying around, I illustrated the front cover in black ink and added black lines to every edge of the book. It was a little rough around the edges, literally, but the finished article matched the idea in my head. To truly do justice to the book, it would have to actually be a rebound so that the black-and-white cover wasn’t just a dust jacket, but an integral part of the book as it was produced.
Using newsprint made it easier to manipulate the paper when applying it to the book cover. It allowed me to show that the idea was possible. However, using something stiffer would make it easier to prevent wrinkling over time but might increase the difficulty of covering the object in the first place. Such negotiations are an inevitable part of working with real materials. It is in understanding those negotiations that you develop experience and knowledge of your craft.