A while back I tried my first altered book. I found an old book of William Blake poems and proceeded to "alter"( or change ) it into a work of art. When I was done I said "Never again."; and this is why.....
First of all: Never use a book, no matter how old, that matters to you. When I started to tear pages from this small old book I felt like I was killing my bantam chicken for dinner. I love books and this seemed almost sacrilegious. Being my first attempt at altering anything other than a hemline, I found the whole process painful.
Secondly: Have some idea what you want to do. Have a plan. I didn't and that my be what made the whole process so difficult. If I had thought about it ahead of time, I probably wouldn't have use "this" book. If I had thought about the guilt of tearing pages, I would have chosen something I didn't care about and the whole experience would have been so much better.
And last: Be fearless! I'm very new to "art". When I look at this altered book now, I think that it's not so bad. In fact, I'm kind of happy with the way it turned out. Maybe you have to suffer for your art; the way I suffer from arthritis and breathing after I clean and work on my gourds. I know that suffering teaches you appreciation, empathy and give you greater understanding of yourself; so maybe it makes you keep trying.... to be braver, better, and more creative too.
I keep hearing Blake saying;
" If you trap the moment before it's ripe.
The tears of repentance you'll certainly wipe;" Yes, I know I'm making a big deal out of this.
Just , please, use a book you don't care about or the author will haunt you.