Thursday, November 26, 2009

The problem with street signs

The problem with street signs is they are on the street. They are always getting bumped by vehicles. This sign for Lexington Parkway is a little worse for wear, but it's at least still readable.

Friday, November 13, 2009

A publisher for "Cornered!"

(Click image for a really close view.)

Big news! In December, Nodin Press of Minneapolis is going to publish my anthology of In This Corner comics. I self-published the book this summer and sent it around to a couple real publishers. And Norton Stillman at Nodin decided to go ahead with a new edition!

Having a new print run was an opportunity to critique my original design and make it better.

There are just a few tweaks inside -- I've added some new comics, an additional introduction page and a few more entries in the index. But the biggest change is the cover.

I felt that, while I liked the original design, it didn't address the origins of the comics. The comics were first published in the St. Paul Pioneer Press newspaper. On newsprint the pristine computer-drawn lines make a nice contrast with the textured paper. And and a nice contrast with the visible halftone dots. When the cover drawing is perfectly printed on glossy paper using very tiny halftone dots, the final result looks a little too perfect. So I decided to try to bring some of the newspaper roughness back.

I scanned some blank areas of the Pioneer Press -- hooray for white space! -- and used those as a basis for the front and the back covers. I took the color tint areas of the original drawing out of Illustrator and plopped them into Photoshop. I applied the Pixelate > Color halftone filter. (The document is 250 dpi and the dots are 15 pixels in diameter) I put the dots on top of the newsprint scan and set the layer to Multiply -- so the newsprint texture would soak through.

Then I brought that picture back into Illustrator to be used as the background for the black line drawings and the type.

Linda Koutsky also consulted on the design. Linda, among many other things, designs books for a living at Coffeehouse Press. She had a few suggestions. She said the book needed a subtitle. So I did one. She also said that it needed an author photo and short bio for the back of the book.

I did what she suggested and, doggone it, now it looks like a real book. (Pioneer Press co-worker Ben Garvin took the author photo.)

Look for "Cornered!" soon at your local bookstore!