Book Ideas: Artistic Examples

Tom Philips

Tom Philips is an artist who works with a rich variety of materials including textiles, painting, sculpture and collage.  Following his studies in renaissance art and theatre, Phillips began his career with great success; he currently works as a critic, curator and teacher and also holds the role of Committee Chairman of the Royal Academy.  His works have featured in many galleries across the UK including the National Portrait Gallery and the Tate modern.  He is currently represented by the Flowers gallery based in London.

Phillip’s collage works are particularly influential in generating various methods of displaying text and images in a book format.  Various works in this category feature printed imagery in which Phillips paints directly onto book pages, often using vibrant colour but also other materials for black and white imagery.  Phillips singles out particular pieces of text or single words from the pages, highlighting them in bubble like forms that cast a continuous flow throughout the page.  He also links words together that appear on different lines and also uses other paper materials for further experimentation with texture, usually with oil paint.  Phillips is playful with narrative using typographical methods where he re-structures text within imagery and uses this as a guide to exploring hidden messages.

I find Phillips creatively transforms the book as a sequence of text displayed within colourful, abstract subject forms that presents new ways of reading a text by rearranging the visual typography altogether.  This is influential towards my creative practice toward my ideas of narrative sequence as this brings further conceptual developments of visual presentation that could potentially merge images and words as one visual display.


Laurence Sterne

Laurence Sterne was an English novelist who is famously known for his works in poetry and narrative comics.  Following his scholarship, Sterne took the role as a Vicar and began his first writings in politics for a newspaper run by a relative.  In 1759, Sterne published one of his most famous writings ‘The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman‘ which gained him high recognition in the city of London.

In this book publishment, Sterne is experimental with text where the content features markings in support of Sterne’s written essays.  One various pages, Sterne visually represents his narratives through visual forms such as line diagrams and also uses letters to mark and express his then current thinking.   Sterne cleverly gives the reader something to visually read as well as using a scripted text format and this changes the readers approach towards reading.  Sterne almost presents a visual diary to us that allows us to re-interpret text as a guide.

I find this type of book art expresses well of the various ways text can be used in showing one’s state of mind.  This is influential towards my practice as it demonstrates another style of typography that integrates other text forms to translate an understanding of a narrative.



Tom Phillips RA – Jennings. D (2016) ‘Collage-Biography’ [Online] Available from: (Accessed 20/11/2015)

Cash. A. H (2014) ‘Laurence Sterne-British Writer’ [Online] Available from: (Accessed 05/08/2014)


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