Back in January, when artists from all corners of the internet began to launch shiny new year-long projects on their blogs, the extremely talented Swedish artist Malin Walkeby wanted to come up with a project all her own.  Her goal was to make more art, more consistently – but the question was how.  Despite many efforts to keep an art journal, she’d never been able to make regular, consistent entries, so she reluctantly ruled out an art journaling project.  Like many of us, she also lives in a fairly contained space, making piles of canvases impractical.  Finally, it hit her.  Already stored on her bookshelves she has a series of 47 books she loves to read but doesn’t like to see.  “I hate the covers,” she says.


Original Books


And thus her book project was born!

Three months into the year, Malin is painting roughly one book cover a week , although “some take longer, and some are real quickies.”  She still makes time for ATCs and the “occasional canvas,” but this project has proven successful at “mak[ing] art a regular thing.”

Malin was kind enough to share her process, in case this sounds like it might be a good project for you, too!


1. First I cover the book cover with a layer of gesso, both for grip, and to have a white canvas to paint on.


Book with Gesso


2. Then I chose the colours for the first layer.  This time I went with yellow/green gold/burnt sienna. The colours is what inspires my motif.


Book w ith Paint


3. Then it´s time for a background.  The burnt sienna at the bottom of the cover made me go for more burnt sienna, and more browns, and it turned into some kind of landscape, with little houses in the background.




4. It looked a bit bare, so I needed a focal point. I always love painting girls, so that´s what I did this time too.



 Focal Point


5. And when I finished the cover, it´s time for the title on the side. This is number 8 in the series, and the Swedish title “Bödelns dotter” means “The hangman´s daughter”.




Malin doesn’t have the space to display all of her covers, so she keeps them on the shelf, where they can easily be accessed and admired.


 Full Shelf


What a brilliant way to live with art – and make the books you love even more special!

If you want to follow Malin’s progress as she works her way through the book series, check out her blog:



Ann D'Angelo is a dedicated drinker of diet Coke who has never spotted a thrift store she didn't want to visit or an item she didn't want to alter. Check out Ann's shop.


sarah · March 28, 2014 at 2:16 pm

OHHHHHHHHH sweet Malin, what an awesome idea!! They look fantastic!

Anita Mistry · March 28, 2014 at 4:55 pm

Never thought to do that to books – they look fantastic.

morentin1326 · March 28, 2014 at 7:09 pm

oh, i am going to do this… i have always shelved my books because i think to myself the covers are always so boring and mostly ugly…lol, but now i see i can do whatever i want to them, they are afterall mine… brilliant…

malin · March 29, 2014 at 5:46 am

thank you, very nice people 🙂 can´t wait to see the internet flooded with altered book covers!

SalScheibe · March 29, 2014 at 1:14 pm

Cool project, Malin! What a great idea!

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