Endless book pages, digitally


This question came up mere moments ago on UKS and I spent a little bit of time sorting it out and finding links so I could answer, and as I had already done the work, and as non-members can’t see the attachments, I thought I would pop it on to my blog as well.  I have used Alice In Wonderland as an example, but there are lots of books out there available in electronic form.

I started with what I thought was the easiest way to access the TEXT, in a way that can be manipulated easily – that meant Project Gutenberg, which does have Alice In Wonderland available as an e-book.

The problem with e-books is they look like your computer screen.  The fonts are selected for readability, not cause they are nice to look at.  Just grabbing the text from the page online gives you something that just isn’t pretty.


But, if you copy and past the boring screen shot into some program or another (PSE should work, but I use Intaglio.  I imagine WordArt would work on a PC) then change the text, you can get something that approaches usable.  I think this version is best where you may want to use a bit of the actual TEXT, like to add it as a sentiment on a card, or text on an ATC or an art journal page.  One problem I am always having is going to a page in my dictionary, the French/English one that I use when I need book paper words, only to find that I tore it out cut up the word I am looking for!  This gives you an endless supply and lets you change the font a bit.  But to be fair, it’s just a time saver – you get the same thing by typing the text into your program and manipulating it.


I think I would play a bit more with the baseline and kerning of the text, to spread out the words and space the lines more like the original, and make words or phrases easier to cut out.

I have a pack of old paper that Alison passed on to me at crop that works great for printing.  You won’t be able to see if from the photo, but this paper was stored for a long time, and has a nice, ivory/yellowed look to it that makes it look like actual book paper, albeit slightly thicker. A newsprint pad or sketch book might work as well.  I wonder if shops are missing out on selling OLD, yellowed pads at a premium, cause who has time to let one moulder in the sunlight for a month or two?


Good, but nothing like the original if you want to be able to use it in a more decorative way. For that, look for the actual book pages in something like Google books.  Using whatever sort of screen shot capture program you have, and for me on my Mac that’s GRAB, you can take that and print it.


The advantage there is you get the illustrations too!

Now I would warn that this is probably fine for using on your own art, but I would research it before you used it to make things to sell.  Although I believe Alice is in the public domain, I and not sure  that sort of use, on items to sell, is OK. Some of the pages clearly have COPYRIGHT on them so be careful how you use them!

Anyway, I think this opens up a huge world of possibilities.  And the thought of having an endless supply is appealing.  This is an image I rather stumbled on, but doesn’t it look a bit like a headless dancer?? Can you see it? The area marked 1 at the top is the “neck”, the 4’s are the arms, the lower 1 and 13 the “legs”…



I think it needs a Stampotique head on it, don’t you?


2 thoughts on “Endless book pages, digitally

  1. Thank you very much for this idea. I love to see the work done by everyone using book pages & parts of pages – but I just cannot do it myself. I was brought up to respect books & my parents would turn in their graves if I did that. I know that if not used they will just be thrown & burnt – but stil!!! This gives me the opportunity to join in & as you say you can use the same words over & over.
    Love receiving your updates – thank you MaryAnne

    • Yep, like you, I love the look of book paper but it’s always hard to actually tear out and cut up a page. It’s the ex-librarian in me, I think 🙂 I’ve always grabbed quotes and manipulated them digitally, but it’s just not the same. Granted, you are pretty limited in to the actual pages that are available, and obviously older editions (or newer reprints of old editions) are best for getting the “look” you want, but for things in the public domain, like Alice, it is a good alternative. I haven’t stumbled on the exact right search-word combo to get to the Google book style shots of the book pages, and not just the e-book text version, but I’m still playing 🙂
      Glad it was of use, and thanks for taking the time to let me know. Posts like this I just never know if anyone finds them useful at all until someone says it was!


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