I’ve been taking time to make some print on demand books as of late. I haven’t put any of them up for sale yet but I’m getting close to having them done. It’s been something I’ve wanted to do for a while since making books and other things for publication is what I know how to do and I have twenty five years worth of art that I can use. The question has always been how to use it. Books don’t just happen they need to be made and in order to be made there has to be an idea or a point behind them. That was my stumbling block but since I’ve gotten started the block has been removed.

I’ve also had to be satisfied in letting an art book be an art book. Since I am a writer and a cartoonist as well as an artist I tend to want to put writing into my art books. But I often don’t know what that writing should be. There is really not much need for it since the book is all about the pictures but somehow I think I need it and then I get stuck because I don’t have it. I don’t even have an idea for it. That was my trap. Why I couldn’t get any books made.

A couple of months ago I mentioned my “Painted Ladies” and “Swirl Women” drawings. Those were the key to me getting started. I saw on the print-on-demand website that they could print a twenty page magazine for six bucks or so. That inspired me to make a magazine. Twenty pages (it ended up being twenty four) of art without any writing needed except an introduction. The magazine would be all about the art. That’s what I needed to get started. The website (Blurb.com) comes with some software that works in conjunction with Adobe InDesign (which I am very familiar with) and though it took a few minutes to figure out I was soon using their templates to set up a book. The design of the book took a lot longer but once I had that notion that I needed some sort of writing idea gone from my head things started to

The second book I started working on was one called “Hey, I’m Talking To You!”. Once again I was leveraging work I already had done in order to make something new out of. I decided to use my cartoon art cards form my ‘Drifting and Dreaming” Sunday comic and put them into a new context. That context was a twenty page magazine. The strip they were in paired a couple of my talking head comics with a third art card drawing and a small bit go text along the bottom of them all. For some reason I didn’t want to make anything out of those “Drifting and Dreaming” strips but wanted parts of them. I ended up doing some design work on the pages and lining the cartoon art cards up three by three. This gave me nine talking heads per pages and the feeling of a wall of people talking to me. I liked that.

It was easy enough to make the “Hey, I’m Talking To You!” book but then I had to make a cover for it. Much like the rest of the book I decided to leverage some old art for it. I had a vague idea of yet another talking head saying “Hey, I’m Talking To You!” to the reader but what talking head I had no idea. Luckily I’ve drawn a lot of faces in my time and so had a lot of them to chose from. I picked one that fit the bill. It was a stylized graphic half-face that I re-drew to suit this purpose. Then I made a logo of the title in a word balloon. Finally I knocked out an introduction for it. All-in-all things went remarkably smoothly. That even surprised me a little.

The next thing I did was to move my “Ghost of Fifth Street” digital book over into the Blurb format. It was already in a print-ready InDesign document but there is no comic book size format on the Blurb site so I had to switch it over to a standard eight by ten book size. That took a bit of doing plus I added some design element since I had more space to play with and wanted to make this version a little bit different from the digital one. In other words I just couldn’t leave it well enough alone even though the book was already finished. Hey, but at least I wasn’t writing anything new for it.

I started yet another book today and that’s what I’m taking a break from working on as I write this. This time it’s a small book. A five by seven inch book to put my five by seven inch ASMR spontaneous marker drawings into. You can see every one of the forty eight drawings being made right before your eyes on my YouTube channel where I make live drawings. I think that’s a cool idea. A book where you can actually see every drawing in it being drawn.

Most books made up of images take formatting. That’s where a lot of the time goes. I had already scanned in all of the drawing I needed since I scan in my work as I make it but the forty eight drawing were made over two year’s time. I had to track all the scans down. After I had them in one place I then had to format all the files. Basically I had to make them all the same size so they would fit interchangeably into the design I was working on. That’s mostly how making an art book goes. Finding a place to put all the pictures. And it has to look good otherwise who is going to want to look at it?

Nothing is quite for sale yet on Blurb since only one of the books is finished. I decided to finish a few books all at once and post them at the same time because sometimes shipping from Blurb is about the cost of a book. I figure it’s better if people have some choices.