Thursday, August 8, 2013

Journals and Spellbooks

I watched a couple of episodes of ‘Gravity Falls’ the other day, I’m an animator and illustrator, so watching cartoons might not be quite as immature as it sounds, but honestly I really like this show. Aside from having a silly paranormal twist in every episode, there’s hidden messages everywhere, codes for watchers to break (though the codes can be really hard because they’re usually really short. That is, provided you don’t already know which three common ciphers are being used), and some pretty cool books.


(This image is a scaled-down screenshot from ‘Gravity Falls’ a series owned and produced by Disney, it is used as an example of the books in the series only, and does not represent any agreement or arrangement with Disney.)

These books, and the scrapbook like spellbook from ‘Practical Magic’ look far more like what I’d expect a spellbook or home-made version of a witch’s hammer to look like (The Witch’s Hammer is an archaic book once used to identify and persecute witches and creatures such as werewolves. The books in ‘Gravity Falls’ are basically used the same way… most of the time).

They’ve got wear and tear, personal notes, inserts from other sources, and most of all, mystery. The big leather tomes you see in most movies and series usually look more like pre-Gutenberg bibles or mass produced text books. Don’t get me wrong, the Hogwarts library is a wondrous place, and the one-of-a-kind spellbook made for ‘Sabrina’ was pretty cool, and I know a lot of work went into making it, but neither look like generations of knowledge passed down through a witching family.

The books I’m talking about are very scrapbook/smashbook/journal like, which looks cool, and means anyone can make their own version filled with what interests them for fairly cheap. My travel journals and pocket notebooks often end up looking kind of like this, as I take notes at whatever angle is convenient (sometimes in whatever language or code I like) and paste in mementos. 

You can view some pictures of the original Practical Magic spellbook on the current owner’s blog (as well as some spell book and scrapbook making tips):  
http://octoberfarm.blogspot.com/2010/09/otiginal-practical-magic-spellbook.html

You can even venture into the realm of making your own notebooks if you feel adventurous (you should be able to find binding instructions online), though the less crafty may wish to purchase one from a local artist in order to avoid the difficulty and still have a unique tome.

Another reason I like ‘Gravity Falls’ is that Dipper kind of reminds me of my childhood. Not that I lived in some crazy place, but when the other kids got scared, they sent me in to investigate. Because I was the brave one.

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