Basic bookbinding techniques.

Books come in all types, shapes and sizes.


Paper Sizes-A
This chart shows the different measurements of various A format paper sizes.

When a sheet of paper is folded in half once, it becomes a folio. When folded in half again, it is called a Quarto and if folded again, this is known as an Octavo. These could be any size paper from A0 to A5.



When two or more folios are joined together, it is known as a ‘Section’.

The books i am going to be explaining are, Slit Sheet, Concertina, Stab Stitch, Pamphlets and Perfect Bind Books/ Journals.

Slit sheet binding

This type of binding is often used by charities or organisations who need a quick turn around in order to share whatever information they want their book to hold.

It is very simple to make. All you will need is a sheet of A4 paper (or bigger if you wish), scissors (or a paper cutting knife, a bone folder and perhaps a ruler.

1. To start with, position the paper in a portrait format. Fold your flat piece of paper through the centre lengthways and then equally four times width ways (so you end up with four equal sized square folds.

2. From the end of the first quarter to the beginning of the fourth cut a slit in the paper (lengthways).

3. After this, hold the top and bottom of the paper and push together.

4. Finally pull around the sides to create the book. You may want to sharpen the folds using a bone folder throughout the process of making this book.

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Snake book.

For this book you will need the same equipment as above.

  1. Place the paper landscape and fold lengthways in half and in half again so you have four columns.
  2. Fold width ways into thirds. This will result in 12 equal sized squares.
  3. From the top of the bottom third cut above three of the squares from left to right. Repeat this from the bottom of the top third above free squares from right to left.
  4. Collect the paper together to form a book and attach the covers.


For the next book binding techniques I’m going to discuss, you will need a needle and thread. When using a needle and thread, there is a way to thread it so that it doesn’t come unfastened whilst you are working.

  1. Thread the needle and pierce it through the thread.
  2. Pull it all the way through


Pamphlet Stitch.


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Perfect binding. 


  1. Using crocodile clips, hold together 20 sheets of paper (12cmx15cm)
  2. Brush 4 layers of PVA over the spine (allowing time to dry in between each coat)
  3. For the cover, measure (12cmx15cm) x2 from a piece of card.
  4. Add an extra 0.6 mm in the middle to cover the spine
  5. To the left of that, mark off 15mm and fold evenly through the width.
  6. Glue the card cover to the section and hold together again with bulldog clips

Back stitch. 

  1. Cut a piece of A1 card width way to 21cm and fold in half using a bone folder.
  2. Place your punch guide in the middle of the card and continue punch holes into the cover.
  3. Combine the inside pages with the cover and sew them together using back stitch (shown below)
  4. Fold the back cover into position and use bone folder to flatten the fold.
  5. Measure 10cm out from the fold like and cut. Seal it with double-sided tape to create a pocket.
  6. Round the corners using a corner punch.

Backstitch 2

Concertina/ Accordian bind

Screen Shot 2016-04-20 at 10.16.45Screen Shot 2016-04-20 at 10.17.00Stab stitch (4 hole).

  1. French fold a paper block.
  2. Place card on the paper you are using as a cover and draw around it. (Do this twice for front and back.
  3.  Cut around the mark and glue the first board in line with inner marks.
  4. Cut covers corned (leaving 3mm gap on each corner.
  5. Using a piece of card, glue opposite ends in turn and fold over
  6. Place end paper accurately on board and allow 3mm between edges and cut.
  7. Glue to board and use bone folder to remove any creases.
  8. For the second board, cut a 2mm gap in the board (this will be the hinge). Measure 1.5 cm from the foredge and additional 2mm. Cut between the lines.
  9. Glue the small strip to outside of the lines marked on the cover material. Glue the larger board to opposite outside edge of the marks on the cover material.
  10. Glue and before and use bone folder.
  11. Place end paper in position on covered boad and allow 3mm between edges, mark and cut end paper.
  12. Position paper, cut side flush with the left hand edge and 3mm gap top and bottom.
  13. Position from board in line and secure with bulldog clips.
  14. Divide the width of hinge strup by 2 and lightly make a vertical line.
  15. Measure 0.75cm from the left edge and the same from the right edge.  Measure the difference between and divide by 3. Make total of 4 holes using japanese hole punch.

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Lesley Lees – I travelled lonely as an empty dream.

‘Alone, I couldn’t smile as I passed through immigration. Maybe that’s why I got pulled aside and taken to a room for a closer inspection. Would they find the immeasurable hollow inside me, or discover my tormented heart – despite everything it kept contracting and pumping blood to the fragmented bits of self I seemed to be. Eventually I was deemed wholesome enough and granted entry into the country. I laid down the dollars and asked for a ticket to match that amount, an open ticket to anywhere, valid for three months. I was on my way to somewhere at last. I smiled as I looked in my bag, for there, next to mine, was your passport, your car keys and your loaded wallet.’

When I first looked at this piece of writing, i had a few ideas come to mind. So to gather my thoughts and prevent any ideas from getting lost, I wrote everything down. From photographic set ups, to phrases, words i thought were relevant and general shoot ideas.


Instead of capturing a literal interpretation of this piece of writing, I wanted to give an essence of the feeling. I get feelings of chaos, dizziness, confusion, upset, a lost person when i read it so tried to portray that in my image.

Here are some examples from my final shoot.

I think these images show that life was moving fast around this person and she had little control of it.

I chose this as my final image as I think this is my strongest image, which presents this idea best. The background is clear and still whilst the slow shutter speed made the swing out of focus, giving the impression of chaos. I also shows loneliness as there is no one in sight in this image.


When researching this idea, I searched for photographers that showed movement in their images. For example, Christopher Martin focuses a lot on motion blur in traffic (focusing on one subject whilst everything around it is moving) Here are a couple of his images –

Although these are similar to the effect I wanted, I specifically wanted the object of focus to be blurred. It was then that I found Camil Tulcan.

I was influenced by these images, and used the effect in my final image.

Sally Wilson – Who killed the world?


Who flew on a plane?

Who made acid rain?

Who was it tained

What nature painted?

Who killed the world?

You did.

You did.

You did.

Who built the power lines?

Who dropped the landmines?

Who devastated

What nature created?

Who killed the world?

You did.

You did.

You did.

Who chopped down the trees?

Who poisoned the seas?

There’s no solution

To your pollution.

Who killed the world?

You did.

You did.

You did.

Who knew it was wrong?

Who still carried on?

Now each child counts the cost

Of a future they lost.

Who killed their world?

You did.

You did.

You did.


When I was deciding how to approach the image to go with this piece of writing, I had many ideas but none of them felt like enough. Here are the images I took whilst figuring it all out.

test shootDSC07897DSC07888DSC07965DSC07941DSC07937DSC07929DSC07927DSC07965DSC07941DSC07937DSC07929DSC07927

For my final image, I decided to stick with the glass world globe as I felt it shows the world to be delicate and fragile. It also reflects beauty in light and I felt it helped me to create my strongest image. I felt that my final image needed the human influence in it to show that it is us that has ‘killed the world’. I also kept the background black to show darkness and the state the world is in. I wanted the hand to hold the globe carefully to enhance the idea that the world is fragile and I think the fact that the globe is smaller than the hand shows how much control and power we have over the world and its condition. I like how in this image, the setting I was in reflected trees from the surroundings onto the globe as this is mentioned in the piece of writing too.




Studio based Author Portrait.

For this module, I have been given a description of an Author from Ocean City Writers (a Plymouth-based creative writing group)

‘If Catherine Zeta Jones and Jabba the Hut had a lovechild, it would resemble me. Although, to my shame Papa Jabbas genepool would have to be stronger than Catherine’s to get the mix right. As jack of all trades and master of none I have surrendered to my failings. The misguided titles of domestic goddess, cupcake queen and Photographer extraordinaire long forgotten dreams as I now attempt my lifelong ambition of becoming a mistress of the written word. As I am to writing what Frank Spencer was to D.I.Y please bear with me, this might take some time.’ – Cassy Trew.


To start with, I did some practice shoots. I experimented with the rembrandt lighting technique.

My equipment list was

  • Bx kit
  • 2×21 cm dishes
  • Soft box
  • Reflector
  • Sky port
  • Beauty dish
  • Light meter
  • Extension lead
  • Nikon 7200 Digital SLR Camera with 18-55mm lens
  • Honeycomb

I took the following images in my university studio using a white backdrop.

As you can see, it took some experimenting to reach something i was happy with and that i thought represented the rembrandt lighting technique well. I began, making the images over exposed and out of focus but once i slowed down and used the light meter I slowly got better images. I then moved around the lights around to create the effect typical of rembrandt (one side of the face in shadow with a triangle of light under the eye).

The is my favourite image because i think it depicts rembrandt. As well as this, the sitter is looking very thoughtful which is what i want for the author description image. Cassy describes herself as having ‘long forgotten dreams’ and i would like my image to show this.


At this point, I felt confident in a studio setting. I knew how to get the light effect I wanted and had a good idea of the feeling I wanted to put across in my author portrait image. For my final author portrait image, I wanted to recreate this using a few props and taking the studio to a home environment.

The equipment I used –

  • Arri 800W Open Face Light
  • Hasselblad 500 6×6 medium format camera
  • Large lighting stand
  • Reflector x 2

I knew that I wanted to use the line regarding misguided titles of long forgotten dreams and chose to have a camera in the final image. This piece of writing doesn’t tell me too much about the writers physical appearance but I felt that it gives an idea that she doesn’t think very highly of her appearance and may have low self esteem, so i tried to capture this too.

When it came to using the hasselblad, I felt confident in doing so and began planning how I would like to present the portrait. I looked at the different styles of portrait photography – traditional portrait, environmental, candid, glamour, lifestyle, surreal, conceptual and abstract. I came to the conclusion that the styles environmental, candid, lifestyle and conceptual could all represent the author in the best possible way. I felt that the environmental style would complement the description of the author’s character by showing her in her daily setting as a writer. I also felt that shooting this in a candid way would mean that the viewer would have more empathy for the writer and more of an understanding of her. Using the lifestyle style means that it could evoke emotions for the reader, maybe of familiarity. This leads me on to the conceptual aspect. I wanted the image to have a hidden meaning which wasn’t totally obvious but the viewer could speculate over. This being that she had finally settled on a career path which she loved, instead of focusing on others which did not bring her as much joy. I wanted her to seem calm, at peace and comfortable in that environment but also like it was something she loved doing, that she couldn’t help but stay up into the early hours of the morning working on written pieces. It was because of this that I used a desk lamp and a mug of coffee.  Also, although I hadn’t intended on my final portrait being out of focus, (and it is because of the poor lighting) I am actually quite pleased that it is. I think it adds a hazy feeling to the image which may not have been there otherwise.

Lighting techniques.

Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn was a Dutch Painter and Etcher. The ‘Rembrandt lighting technique’ was named after and influenced by him.

His portraits showed the subject not necessarily at a head on angle, with half of their face lit and the other half of the face in shadow. This half of their face was to have a small triangle of light on the subjects cheek. The triangle is often no longer that their nose and no wider that their eye. It seems to give more feeling and mystery to the portrait as well as adding definition.

A bearded man in a cap, late 1650’s.

Now, Photographers are using this technique in their portraits. John Rankin Waddell (commonly known as Rankin), a fashion and portrait photographer uses this technique in many of his images.

Charlie Simpson.
Daniel Craig.
Idris Elba.
Adam Lambert.
Hannah Murray.

The Rembrandt lighting technique requires the sitter to sit or look at an angle (not necessarily looking down the camera lens). The lighting should be quite natural and uses minimal equipment, usually a key light will will be lighting from above to one side of the sitter and results in the same effect where the sitter is half lit and half in shadow with a triangle under their eye. A reflector can be used to adjust the shadow to create that triangle under their eye. To keep the depth in the image, the sitter should not sit too close to the background and the image should be taken quite close up.


Example of Rembrandt lighting setup.

This can be added to take the image to the next level. A light can be used to bounce and cast light off the background and another light (hair light) can be used behind the sitter to light up their hair and show more detail as well as adding more feeling to the image.

rembrandt lighting with hair light.jpg
Example of Rembrandt lighting (with hair light and background light).

This is the outcome of a shoot I did, in the studio to practise the rembrandt lighting technique. I am very pleased with the outcome and now feel confident that I can achieve this effect again.