PBS has a great new documentary-short series out with the latest installments focusing on a handful of book artists. This video is under six minutes long. The film starts with a paper engineer who has helped make some of the world’s best pop-up books as well as a paper sculptor (timecode 2:08) who cuts books and images into “book tunnels”. They also talk to an artist (timecode 3:37) that tears, glues, weaves and re-molds books into new collages and forms, in an effort to make her artistic point. It’s all very fascinating. PBS posted the documentary to YouTube and I have embedded it here:
There is a TON of information online about books and the ever-shifting landscape of publishing. It just takes so long to sift through everything to find something of worth, that you could actually use. But there are four conversations I always check in on, via Twitter. Sometimes I look back through the conversations, days after it’s over to see what I miss and often learn tons I didn’t know. If you are interested in publishing, fire up search.twitter.com and plug-in these hashtags:
#dbw – Digital Book World – this is one GREAT conversation by folks involved in helping change the landscape of publishing. Digital Book World is a new annual conference (the one I wish I had gone to), that focuses more on the how-to and strategy rather than the crystal-ball gazing and the “where will we be in 10 years” like some conferences. It’s well worth your time to follow this hashtag daily. It’s maintained through @DigiBookWorld and @glecharles feeds. (BTW, Guy Charles has a personal blog worth checking out, too.)
#followreader – Follow the Reader – this is a weekly chat covering a specific topic each week. I’m constantly surprised by the quality and depth of the topics. Not too mention the techincal knowledge of the folks who chime in. This hashtag and site are sponsored by NetGalley and maintained by @charabbott and @katmeyer.
#ISBNHour - ISBN Hour – @ljndawson runs this weekly chat, every Friday at noon Eastern. It’s worth checking in on during the week to see if the slant of the current chat is of interest. This is one of the more open threads, as the conversation is really built on sussing out ideas and possible solutions for future problems. Lots of good talk of ISBN, categories, libraries and indexes here. Smart people trying to solve the issues facing the publishing industry before they become crippling problems.
#ePrdctn – eProduction – this is a recent add for me, but is the only one of these four that has earned a permanent column in TweetDeck. If you follow this hashtag you’ll find people chiming in and helping each other from all over the eBook production workflow. Full of solid advice and help regarding Adobe products, indexes and lots of “has anyone dealt with this before” kind of camaraderie. This is an ongoing conversation by lots of people actually doing the production work that so many in the industry and media try to analyze. There have been some weekly topic-focused chats organized by @crych.
Think of those as four separate cocktail parties attended by just publishing-industry folks and we can walk from party to party listening in on conversations from publishing insiders in New York City, Los Angeles and maybe even Birmingham, AL. Yes, they can get a tad technical (which is sorely needed) and we could think of these as four different publishing workshops, but I promise you this will be a lot more fun if you read through all the conversations with a cocktail in hand.
I know that there are lots more conversations out there. Please, plug your favorite in the comments so I can check it out, if I’m not already.
I recently ran across this video of Chip Kidd and James Ellroy. Though the video centers mostly on James Ellroy’s style and writing (he is one intense dude, no doubt) there are some spots where they discuss how the writing influences Kidd’s approach to designing a cover for the same author over and over. (Sidenote: Chip Kidd is also on Twitter as @chipkidd)
The folks over at the Abebooks blog have published their picks for 30 Books Worth Buying For the Cover Alone. Only seven of the 30 use photographs. So illustration seems to be the way to go if you want to get noticed in the cover design crowd (of course, these are all fiction titles).
I REALLY like these two:
But have to wonder about this choice:
The image just seems to literal and obvious to be chosen as worth “buying for the cover alone”.
The Book Design Review Blog has a good post on Chip Kidd’s Bat-Manga!, which features Batman as he’s been portrayed in Japan since the 60′s. The post also has videos as well as shots of the covers. I don’t speak Japanese, but I love the way that the characters in the Bat-symbol have the cowl points on them. Very cool stuff!
Matt Taylor won the Penguin cover design competition we mentioned last week, for Sam Taylor’s The Island at the End of the World. Congratulations to him! It is, no doubt, one of the cleanest and well executed designs submitted, with some very complex imagery…
It’s almost too much. The synopsis just seemed to call for a simpler more representative image. But then my skills as an illustrator are often challenged by sitting in the floor coloring with my two-year-old.
Thanks to BDR for spilling the beans on the winners (because I sure couldn’t find any updates online). Click through to see the runners-up and such, too.
Penguin has shared the top 25 designs (out of 300+ submissions) for Sam Taylor’s The Island at the End of the World. To be honest, I didn’t know what to expect when I clicked through, but these are some GREAT designs.
Though I liked #6 & #7 (I’m a sucker for die cut), my favorite is this one by Justin Walsh. The bleeding watercolor effect is almost too much, but I think the rest of it is executed wonderfully! It certainly stands out from the group.
The winner will be announced at a New York event on September 25th.
Out of the 50+ book covers I was in on last year, only one required the hire of a real-life pencil smudging sketch artist. In these days, everything is done super-quick with a dash of Illustrator, a big stir with PhotoShop (sprinkled with some stock pics) and baked up in InDesign. All that techno-solutions can get dry… and stale feeling… which is why I L-O-V-E cruising through Scamp, every so often.
It’s a blog staffed by professional illustrators over in Ireland. Some of it is weird. But some, like this post from Monday which chronicles the illustration of a book cover, are very cool. If you skim through that post you’ll see that even the pencilers use PS. Enjoy! Let me know if any of you know that free ghost filter he mentions…. I’m looking for it.
BookPatrol mentioned a cool archive this weekend that features 100 Years of Alphabet Books. I wish I had all the time in the world to go through and look at these. Some of the lettering is worthy of framing.
Over on BibliOdyssey, this weekend, a collection of over-the-top “holy smokes how long did it take them to make that back then” ornate letters and folios were posted. Some of the letters are so ornate that I wouldn’t know what letter it was if not for the tag line. I’ll remember this is how they used to do it, the next time I’m cussin’ a font designer for not setting the kerning correctly on a new display font and maybe it won’t seem so bad.
Blogs I Like
- B’ham Public Library
- Book Chase
- Book Patrol
- Bookshelf Porn
- Exile Bibliophile
- Fine Books Blog
- Loud poet
- Nathalie Foy
- Oh My Godwin!
- Reed Next’s Next Read
- Turn the Page
- AL.com Books
- AL.com Books Forum
- Alabama Center for the Book
- Alabama Writers' Forum
- Bham Wiki
- Book TV
- Menasha Ridge Press
- The Literacy Council
- Book Art
- Book Collecting
- Book Column
- Book Covers
- Book Design
- Book Reviews
- Book Sale
- Book Talk
- Bookstore Ideas
- Digital Publishing
- Free Books
- Friday Finds
- Gifts for Book People
- New Releases
- On the TV
- On the Web
- Publishing Industry News
- Site News
- Tools for Readers
- Upcoming Titles