I was looking at those “Hey Girl” Ryan Gosling photos and having a little too much fun with the handmade ones, when I thought to drop by Etsy to find some soft cover book artists. Of course, I couldn’t pick just one.
Michael Holstein is from Ashland, Oregon. His books are small and he tends to favor the stab binding (ha! I know what that is now!). I think what I like in particular about his work, however, is that he chooses a variety of papers for his covers and they tend to have some sort of meaning (some more obvious than others). My favorite is this one of haiku:
Holstein says, “Here is a book of four seasons of original haiku. I use four distinctive calligraphed hands, one for each of the seasons, and I vary the seasons also with different hand made Japanese papers… The Japanese papers, collected before the earthquake and tsunami, vary in color, texture, and pattern according to the season. For each page of haiku, I include an original pen and ink illustration. The cover is a shimmering gold paper that the paper maker made using iridescent inks.” I think he intends for his books, in general, to become collectible heirlooms (which seems a little presumptuous to state to me, but whatever — if it helps him sell) so I assume he puts a lot of care into them. He has a box set of books which helps to give a better impression of the range of cover designs he does:
The other artist I particularly liked goes by the name Bel on her Etsy site and is from London. She does more than books/zines but a lot of the illustrations in the books are charming. She also has a couple travel-related books. Of course, with my history, I couldn’t pass this one up, but I like the texture of the paper on the cover — I wish I could touch it. There’s something very appealing about the colors as well.
One final image, which I found for Lauren. The artist is KathyKinsella (seller name on Etsy) and while I’m not sure this qualifies as soft cover, the fabric cover comes off which I think is very cool.