On Monday night, I came home from work to find a long-awaited package from the publisher Tin House Books sitting on the doorstep. I knew it was coming, but seeing it just sitting there was still thrilling. I grabbed it, ran to the closet studio, dropped it on the drawing table, and took a deep breath. Here is what it was like to open the package. First, the box sitting on my table...
Carefully slicing it open, I found...an awful lot of packing material...
I couldn't get that stuff pulled out and thrown away fast enough, it seemed. Finally though, I got to the contents all carefully stacked and rubber banded together complete with a detailed letter from the folks at Tin House Books...
And here, my friends, is everything there was in the package, carefully removed and spread out on the table waiting for me to dive in. I'll explain each in detail, but here's the rundown. On the far left, you can see the letter. The upper left corner is a bundle of text with illustration titles. The upper right is 2-page spread studies. The far right is a giant mailing envelope with the entire book printed out (no covers yet). Back to the lower left are some tint studies. And finally on the lower right are some promo postcards Tin House is printing up.
First, the tint studies. The art book will actually be printed on a nice, thick, matte-finish paper with a lovely creamy off-white color. It looks really exquisite. One of the issues Tin House ran into was that some of my illustrations were so close to the paper color that the borders of the art were lost. You can actually kind of see what I mean in this photo. The illustration just kind of bled into the page and got lost. Somehow, through digital magic completely beyond me, the art people at Tin House found a way to put down what they called a layer of tint that nicely defines the art without really changing any of the colors in the illustration. They sent me a handful of illustrations printed with and without the tint layer to see which I preferred. The tinted pieces look fantastic.
Here are the text corrections. Lots and lots and lots of red proofreader marks. I've got to go through all 552 very carefully and make sure the text, punctuation, media, dimensions and dates are correct. I'll probably be working on this at S.P.A.C.E. this weekend.
These are the studies for the 2-page spreads. I apologize, I didn't actually take pictures of the spreads. The Tin House people mentioned that the illustrations for page 258 and page 299 were extremely large, yet because of their dimensions they would actually end up being the smallest illustrations in the book. They suggested taht for these two pieces only, the book contain a two page spread. They do look fantastic at this large size. I am concerned that a bit too much of the art may be lost in the gutter between the pages, but we'll see.
The bundle of postcards. These too look really great, and Tin House even did an amazing job designing the back of each. I hope to be able to get some of these myself, and if I can get a decent number I'll post something about sending a bunch of them out to you all.
And finally, the most exciting part by far. Each and every one of the 52 illustrations printed exactly as they will appear in the book. My job is to carefully look at each one and make sure there are no obvious errors or problems as well as to carefully check that the colors are as close to the originals as the printing process will allow. I can't even put into words how incredibly exciting it is to see the whole thing get this much closer to actual publication.
The people at Tin House have just done an astounding job with this book. Everything from the paper to the font choices to the layout is just stellar. The book is really shaping up to be a beautiful object, and I am thrilled beyond words right now. I can't wait to see the final thing and share it with you all!