The book had to have the look and feel of a book from the old wild west. I thought that is really cool as the actual handwritten testimonies of the men involved in that gunfight are to be found on the internet, scanned at good resolution. The documents were recently found in a jail storage room.
The documents were yellowish with stains from old adhesive tape so I had to put them on a similar background so that when I'd cut the prints to size, there wouldn't be any white borders left or anything strange. I decided to print them in color, as if I were to print them in grayscale and then tan them they wouldn't look as good.
There were 8 testimonies and a cover sheet so I wanted to separate them somehow so I created some extra pages in between them, also on old paper background, using an old typewriter font to write which testimony that was.
It was lovely to discover details about the original files, like the type of paper used, the size of the documents and the binding type, all from little clues found in the pictures. I tried to stay as close as possible to the original.
Because of the size of the documents, I had to print A3 sheets that would contain two different pages on each side that I then folded in half. The hardest and most time consuming task was to figure out which page continues with which one, cause due to the binding would be like... page 37 continues with page 54 and so on.
Then, out in the town to find the best printer service - I made sample pages at about four different locations - one was too contrast, another made unequal borders that made the binding center offset compared to the other side of the sheet, another made the pages much too shiny, and finally I found one that printed them with a nice color and feel. I opted for thicker pages as if I were to print all the documents on normal paper, the book, which is quite large, almost letter size, would have the feel of a flimsy magazine.
After I trimmed the pages, found a distressed leather piece and sewed the pages in, the real fun begun - I folded the pages just a bit, then ironed them, to have these subtle creases that give it a nice look.
Then, I torn just a bit the edges and sanded the corners - now the page look much better and authentic.
I added a belt with a vintage buckle and distressed the leather even more, tanning it with sepia pigments.
The last part was painting the journal - my favorite part :)
Although making this book was a very difficult project, I love the outcome so much that I would keep it!
I just have to hope the customer likes it too :)