Books: Done.

I knew from the start that I wanted to make a traditional book with texture and naturalistic elements that do not necessarily represent the content, but emphasize specific imagery that I felt important or significant to the content, which is a six sectioned poem about various stages of my life told through a specific scene or idea- the common thread being the phrase “not today” (the title of the book). I wouldn’t say my concept is original as in “outside the box” or doing something unheard of or seen; I was more interested in doing something I genuinely wanted to do, which was to make a simple, pretty book that contained an important (and still evolving) piece of work to me.  Of course, not to say that I had a simple time making this simple book.  First, it took me a long time to just finalize the idea by toying with the various possibilities of construction, and even when I agreed upon an idea, I was still revising and changing my “expanded” element, and I’m still not even sure if I succeeded in doing that, but I’m still pretty proud of my end result.  This was definitely creatively challenging in that I don’t have any artsy experience whatsoever (besides writing) and I think that contributed to my indecisiveness.  And structurally, I’m not that great with making things in general (hence why I don’t cook, draw, design, whatever else requires graceful handiwork), so I knew I would have that against me.  As for failures, there’s a list.  Printers hate me, and I hate them.  I still don’t know what I was doing wrong but I just could not get my margins to line up when turning the paper over to print on the other side.  I literally went through SO much paper, which dwindled my supply and my spirit.  I first went to the lab, printed there and it came out fine.  Then I went home to print on the paper I wanted to use and so I could have color for one of my text images, went through a ridiculous amount of paper, and failed miserably.  I ended up just going back to the lab so my book isn’t printed on the best paper, it’s just b/w, and only pamphlet style, but I’m still happy with it.  Another failure: my original sewing technique.  I tried to do coptic, but ended up either too loose or too tight for my limited number of pages and it looked stupid; then I couldn’t print signatures, so I ended up improvising a regular pamphlet stitch.  I actually like the final sewing result, the bow looks cute and I wanted to the thread to be really visible or draw attention, and I think it does that. The only true success story is my original choice of artist paper to use for my front and back covers.  I LOVE that paper.  It’s beautiful, easy to work with, and it actually contains nature with leaves, rose buds, and grass- wonderful colors.  I even got lucky with my end papers- choosing which color to go for that best complimented the natural colors of the covers was time consuming, but worth it.  I’m pretty happy with the light blue I chose.  The end papers  were important because my cover opens to another cover on which I drew pine needle bunches.  I toyed with various ideas for that too, but really just ended up running out of time with all my printing issues.  I tried some mock-up covers with actual pine needles, but they failed to maintain shape and looked weird in the end, so I compromised with my own sketches, but I’m ok with how that turned out too.  I’m also proud of my indesign layout, which was a pleasant surprise considering my limited abilities.  I chose Garamond for my font because I like how “literary” it seems to me, its versatility in different sizes, and its simple, clean design, all of which I thought fit well with the concept and feel I was going for.   If I had to do this project over again, assuming I had ample time, money, and tools, I would make a book in the shape of a cat with a couple poems I’ve recently written on the gang of cats that hang out on our roof/my windows.  See?  A completely different idea, and one that is probably more conceptually appealing I’m sure, but that’s kind of my downfall- ideas only come when they come.  Hopefully I’ll make this cat book this summer 🙂  

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