Technical Issues to Consider When Working with an Illustrator

artist at workYesterday’s post about finding and working with an illustrator focused on the soft stuff: art, personality, style.

Today, let’s chat about bits and formats and whatnot.

Once you’ve settled on a visual collaborator for your book, neither of you should assume the other knows all the technical stuff. Assume a blank slate. Talk about everything. Much of it is a collaborative artistic conversation, not simply a technical or printing issue.

For instance:

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Interior Design: An Invisible Art, Until It’s Not

photo http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1331104/ by Faith LaFazia http://www.sxc.hu/profile/flafaziaSome functions are hygienic: just as you don’t notice when someone has taken a shower, you don’t notice if windows are clean, you don’t notice if a musical instrument is in tune, and you don’t notice if a book’s interior is properly designed.

The opposites are also true.

If you’re a music-lover, a shop-owner, or an elevator-sharer, you’ll notice all right.

And if you’re a bibliophile, a poorly designed book is painful. It, well, stinks.

I just finished reading a book which could have been marvelous. Fascinating stories from inside an industry I appreciate.
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Discovering Book Design: One Small Step

I asked the talented Dave Bricker for recommendations on book design, especially interior layout. He recommended Richard Hendel’s On Book Design.

And for the first time in a very long time, I’m completely sucked into a new discipline.

It’s a hygiene sort of art; when you’re done, it should be invisible. Most readers know nothing about book design. Most people I’ve talked to, voracious readers, never thought about what goes into the layout of the interior of a book until I mentioned it.

The exploration has just begun. I’ll be taking it slow, not wanting to derail the rewrite of anodyne. Besides, these books are semi-rare and not cheap.

I’ll keep you posted.