Welcome (back) to Ohio
I spent this week in Blue Ash, Ohio working with my editor Kristy and photographer Christine on my upcoming (yet to be titled) collage process book with North Light Books. Last year I met Tonia Jenny, acquisitions and senior editor for art books, in California when I was teaching with Art is… YOU mixed media retreats in Petaluma. It was Tonia who asked me to write the book, and got the ball rolling. Tonia later introduced me to Kristy, who would be my editor.
F&W Publications is the mother ship of North Light Books, which publishes about 70 art books per year, and they employ seven editors and one photographer in the process.
Enjoying the Process
Kristy guided me through the initial stages of writing the book and submitting the page layout. She talked me off a few ledges, provided insight into the book writing process, and a timeline. Kristy booked my travel to coordinate with my Dancing Machine’s trip to Staten Island (thank you) and brought me here this week (from New York) to meet the team, shoot the photos, firm up the content, brainstorm some new ideas, shoot some videos, paint some paper, create two collages from sketch to completion, and to transfer giant pterodactyl sized art files to the Drop Box.
Wow, I’m tired. But it was one heck of a great time!
Christine has been with the company for 17 years, we swapped stories of slide film and scanning, the old days of photography and graphic design we both remembered well. She is an amazing photographer to work with, she’s funny, kind, accommodating, patient, and talented. She was shooting and editing photos at the same time. Every time Christine had a break from shooting, in order to let me set up or get further along on the project, she would sit at her desk and start editing the photos she had shot. Her camera had a direct line-in to her computer, it was exciting to see the images that will be in the book immediately on her monitor.
Kristy used a copy of North Light’s Incite 2: Color Passions to show the staff some images of my artwork. It was my submission to this book that caught the eye of Tonia Jenny, the editor who ultimately approached me to write my book. After Tonia selected my work, I worked with Amy Jones to get the files and information to F&W, this week I got to meet Amy in person too!
Working for the Camera
The first two days were shots of me making hand-painted paper. Since the paper, the raw material of my collage artwork, is created with so many different techniques, we needed two full days to get it all covered. I hand-carved stamps, created a hot glue stencil from scratch, did crayon rubbings of the bottom of everyone’s shoes, played with soap bubbles, dispersed rubbing alcohol from eye droppers, painted paper doilies, spritzed, brushed, dabbed, sponged, and finger painted.
And I didn’t want to stop.
Day three and four we photographed two collages in progress, start to finish. I worked in two different sizes, on two different substrates, to demonstrate the different materials and formats that I take advantage of. I’m probably guilty of overworking both collages, to some degree. I just wanted them to be perfect.
I joked with Christine and told her that the last thing I wanted was for the in-progress collage to be unimpressive. She laughed and said that she didn’t think that was going to be a problem.
All-in-all I think Christine must have shot a million photos while Kristy asked questions, made notes, suggested photos, and promised to email me the notes. I forget everything. We were all pretty confident, as the end of the week approached, that we would have everything we needed to populate the book.
I uploaded several files that demonstrate techniques that I talk about in the process section of the book, tips and tricks. Kristy will do some call-outs and zoom-ins on those images. The book also talks about composition, design, under-painting, signing and finishing the work. It’s going to be the complete how-to guide for Paper Paintings!
We did take the time to visit Plaza Art Supply early in the week to grab some supplies for the painting paper part of the photo shoot. I also grabbed stamp carving supplies and a substrate for a work in progress to be featured. Although I didn’t purchase any papers, I sure did linger at the paper rack and even touched a few pieces…. I am an addict.
Meeting the Team
F&W publishes many art magazines and books. Over the years I have been published in The Artists Magazine several times. The very first time that I won an award with them for my collage “Out To Pasture” the editor, Maureen Bloomfield, called me personally to let me know. She said she had thought about emailing me, but she really wanted to tell me in person that I had won first place. I can’t tell you how much this meant to me and how thrilled I was to have earned such an honor.
This week we had a pizza lunch in the studio and I got to meet Maureen and her team, Cherie and McKenzie, in real life! OH MY GOSH MAUREEN! I hopped up and hugged her. I did.
I was also fortunate enough to meet Mona Clugh, art books content director. Mona and I were in the same hotel. We shared some hummus and a glass of wine one night, talking about how she made her way to F&W Publications and how I ended up making my living as a full time fine artist. Mona gave me some tomatoes from her backyard garden that were delicious and she even picked up sushi for me last night.
Everyone here has been amazing, absolutely amazing, to work with.
Brianna is the graphic designer who will work on my book, today we had lunch and talked about any vision I had for the look and feel of the page layout. She told me that she would narrow down cover image choices and send them to me in a few months. Christine shot some wonderful painted paper shots for Brianna to use in backgrounds, title pages, and inside front and back cover sheets. Brianna and I agreed that we both appreciated clean and neat design with an emphasis on well designed typography. I guess you could say we are on the same page! (that was bad)
I can’t wait to see what she comes up with.
In the video studio this week was Annie Gonzales O’Brien, who was filming her how-to instructional art DVDs. She stopped in to say hello and see what I was up to and tell me little bit about what she was up to. The format of her instructional DVD is one where she’s actually teaching someone (Amy Jones!) her process, versus just talking to the camera. Pretty neat.
So far here is what I know about the book:
The title is yet to be determined…suggestions? The book will be available at Barnes and Noble and smaller book stores, as well as online, next August 3rd, 2016. There will also be pre-order options on Amazon.com. The first printing will be about 6,000 books which will be available in the US, Canada, and the UK. Right now the book is slated to be a hard cover with a very convenient concealed spiral binding, (this means it opens and lays flat nicely) this could change… but it’s pretty darn exciting.
Stay tuned for more information and updates as we go. I should be looking at the full layout on or about January 25, 2016. The book will then go into the graphic design stage in early February and I’ll have a chance to review that design in the end of March. We are set to print on May 3rd!
for being a part of
My Art Journey,
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