8/30/2008

Artists' Books





When my last book publisher went out of business I looked into the possibility of publishing my own books. I own the rights to several titles, mainly children's picture books which I have written and illustrated myself and often get requests from customers who wish to purchase new copies of old favourites. I was cautioned against doing this by several people who told horror stories of people who had houses filled with unsold books! My house is very small and already over full and although it doesn't cost too much to print a book, warehousing and distribution costs can be high.

I had so much enjoyed the business of illustrating and designing books and was reluctant to give up on the idea altogether so I decided to learn as much as I could about desk top publishing and other related computer skills. As an author/illustrator of children's books and being married to a teacher, I was often invited into schools to give talks and run workshops. It soon became clear to me that I needed to know something about book binding in order assist children to make their own books. This led me onto a whole new adventure as I joined The Society of Bookbinders and was introduced to the world of artists' books and the private press. I am a great believer in the adage "as one door closes another opens" and now I look back I can see that I would never have found this new interest without the loss of my publisher - which leads me onto Zybooks and Gandha Key.

Gandha owns and curates a site dedicated to the book arts called Zybooks artists' books online. She showcases the work of artists' books from around the world as well as providing space for information about events. mail art projects, exhibitions etc. I have been very impressed with Gandha's work and asked her how she came to create her site, here is her reply;

"I studied art and design and printmaking many years ago in the UK and was fortunate to have found some great people at Farnham who taught us to make artist's books, so I developed an interest in them then. In 1999 I visited the London Artist's Book Fair and saw so many wonderful artists' books that I decided to promote them online. I had just got my first computer and had gone online so it was one of my first internet projects. I contacted people I met at the fair and asked them if they wanted to show their work online"

That was ten years ago and in that time the website has gone from strength to strength and is archived by The British Library. I think she deserves a special thank you for her services to the book arts as she showcases the books free of charge.

Gandha has very kindly agreed to show two of my miniature "Little Leperello" books and I have been delighted by the response as I recently sold a copy of an A-Z of Flora to a British University Library. If you are interested in artists' books I am sure you will love her site, it is well worth a visit.

7 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for the info..I am working on a childrens book,writing and illustrating.There is interest from a publisher,but i want to know as much as possible about this "new world" of publishing Great what you are doing...

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  2. The book looks lovely, thank you for posting these pictures! How nice to have sold a copy to a British University Library.

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  3. I am so happy for you! The book looks just lovely and I know there are many who will adore it. Thanks so much for the information about Zybooks. I look forward to visiting their site!

    Congratulations and Happy weekend to you!

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  4. This is so interesting.
    Thankyou for the link to zybooks.
    It has some wonderful art work.

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  5. Congratulations.Thanks for visiting recently and adding me to your Blogrol. Charles van Sandwyk has been very successful at self publishing and has been doing so for many years. I wish you well & Thank you for this information. I will add you to my favs too.
    Stephen

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  6. Thank you for the info and links, and it is very timely as I have ben recently thinking of small editions of hand-bound art books. My first one will be only about 12 copies and all hand-bound by me, and given as Christmas gifts to those who will appreciate it. I will definitely look into these two links as I grow a little confidence in this small edition book idea.

    Now as to my green grass. I live in a hot climate and my grass is a special hybrid variety of bermuda, called Tiffway. Does this make you think golf greens? It should as it is used on golf courses. We also had two very wet springs in a row, so it has a good deep root system. And we mow it weekly. The photo you saw is about 5 days past a mowing which is when it looks the best. And I do have it fertilized professionally 4 times a year during growing season and then have pre-emergent weed control applied in the fall and spring. I have very few weeds, and only have them spot treated as they appear. On the down side, it does not grow well in cool climates or in the shade. As my trees mature, I will have to fill in with a zoysia grass. I live where it can easily reach 100 degrees in the summer and about 5 (f) in the coldest part of winter.

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  7. Dana,

    I am "Green with envy" re. your lawn!

    I think that your artist's books will be much appreciated by those lucky enough to receive them.

    Dutchess, I wish you luck in your publishing venture.

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