He who cannot paint must grind the colors!
A curious tid-bit; paints, dyes and stains were originally derived from natural pigments in plants and minerals. Tinctures of this fashion are created by crushing certain combines of organic materials and suffusing them with vinegar of one form or another.
What you see pictured below, is a pure extract of the exotic plant, Tainter's brush.
Tainter's brush is a flowering thistle indigenous to the moorlands. This thistle is much in the way of quad-leafed clover, which is often found in patches surrounding swaths of the hearty Tainter's brush. The hard to spot plant is often shrouded in Bramblethorn, as it grows very near the prickly cousin, which does not lend to its visibility. The other peculiar, defensive function of the plant is what botanists refer to as a "diminishing field". A diminishing field is a transparent, fog-like secretion which is emitted by the species stamin, and produces a blurring effect surrounding the entirety of the plant. This protective guise makes harvesting the Tainter's brush nearly impossible, and requires a specially tuned set of spectacles to find. Because each plant provides a mere .076 Milliliters of colorant oil, there is needed 14 bushels (that's 1,111 stalks) of Tainter's brush to complete a single books cover.
One might ask why anyone would choose such an obscure specimen, which is so ridiculously difficult to cultivate; and to that I proclaim...
I have no idea a'tall! In fact it seems absolutely ludicrous to me.
Alas, I do admire its dangerously intoxicating aroma, and its rich and decadent staining oil. In my mind, there simply is no alternative to the Tainter's Brush.
Once gathered, the highly toxic stalks of Tainter's Brush, must be squeezed in a very delicate manner, as not to trigger the very noxious secretion which would produce the diminishing field. We take every precaution at my shoppe to ensure that this terribly disfiguring event does not occur.
You see, the diminishing field of this particular plant creates a sort of vacuum not unlike a black hole, and those who so much as whiff the alluring wisp become immediately untraceable. This event has long occupied the studies of many prolific scientists, including the likes of Copernicus, who is said to have begun his earliest theories after losing his dear Aunt to the pernicious void.
Once the oil of the thistle has been distilled, it is mixed in a 1/1 ratio with pulverized moss. (I do this largely because; of all the additives I've experimented with to date, I am liken this result the most).
And then finally, each cover is slathered graciously with the virile solution, and left to cure.
But please remember, my fiends.... As a cure can heal, a heal is never quite cured!