Taking a short tour around the Abbey Maulbronn takes not much more than an hour with plenty of time to sketch and take photographs. Spring, Autumn and Winter are the best seasons as to light and colors for a visit to Maulbronn. The view on the quiet lake is beautiful at around 17.30 -18.00 h in the evening these days when the sun lights the trees in autumn colors. I did some quick sketches with ink on paper sheets I had cut from old monotype prints.
Recently Blurb announced their Ebook feature on their weblog.
Of course I had to try out immediately and tested my publication “How to draw a tree”. As per today the Blurb ebooks should be opened only with the free IBook application for Iphone and Ipad. Other readers like Stanza might not work. Also the email program of my Iphone crashed several times as I had send the book file via email to get it on the phone.
You better download Blurb Ebooks and move them into Itunes or download the file from the url that comes with the buying confirmation directly to your iphone or Ipad. Downloading an ebook to read it on the Iphone is pretty much useless, the screen is much to small. For the Ipad or PC,Mac these Ebooks make perfect sense.
My next publication a re-print of the forest diary is in the works, in fact I am waiting for my hard copy for final proof check. I did it as a colour pocket book in size 6×9 inches (15×23 centimeters). This is the cheapest printed colour version that Blurb offers at present. Nevertheless the hardcopy with 158 pages will cost around $25 plus shipping. The ebook version can be as low in price as $ 5-6 per copy even though Apple will take 30% of the profits.
The difference in price for black and white small paper backs and the ebook version is “marginal”. The 30% share that Apple takes and taxes that are deducted in case of shipments to foreign countries are the reason for that. For a German Buyer 30% go to Apple and 7% to German taxes, in total 37% of the book price are deducted. As a result authors have to charge a ca. 40% higher markup to get similar result as with hardcopy print.
However as I understand Blurb does not feature ebooks in the Apple store yet. That will come soon. I assume that this is the reason one has to accept the Apple store TOS before you can sell an Ebook in the Blurb store. As with the hardcover versions you have to buy your own book also as ebook before you can sell online. In other words publishing an ebook with Blurb costs you $1.99 as per today.
Unfortunately it seems that images files can be extracted from the Epub document format that Blurb is using fairly easy. Some photographers have voiced concerns about this, they fear that their work can be taken away in original resolution from the present book files. I commend to check for the discussion going on in the Blurb forum.
There is another technical issue that applies to books with double page image spreads. Blurb offers a double spread image layout in the book making software. However the trim in the book middle is not compensated. Therefore the image center is “damaged” or cropped in printed copies if one uses this option. The Ebook looks exactly like the book preview and that shows not that effect. As printed version and Ebook version are derived from the same book file data you will either have a mutilated print version or a not so professional looking EBook version if you compensate the trim in the middle of the book by placing your images in way that compensates the cut.
As with printed books Blurb seems to offer with their ebook option a way with very low barrier for authors. I would bet that many author artists will be attracted by the option to publish and sell in the Apple store.
A couple of days ago I went to the same place I started the forest diary sketchbook on a grey afternoon in January 2009. I started with a humble sketch in ink, black and white,which still reminds me of those insecure days when the financial crisis hit.
Now at beginning of autumn 2011 the scenery is much different with lots of leaves and the undergrowth developed and the general outlook is not that grim anymore, but life has changed a lot and permanent since 2008/2009 for many of us.
Until end of the year I hope to finish a paper back facsimile re-print of the entire sketchbook with some extra text and “technical” information on these sketches. As usual I will publish on Blurb (Editionh on Blurb)
The acorns were coming down almost like rain and hit my sketchbook and color trays. No wonder that the soil around me is disturbed by wild boars.
I proceeded in this sketch again from back to front of the scenery.
This gouache sketch was done rather quickly without building a background first. Instead I started with the tree trunks in black and added the other elements step by step and modifying colours by sketching wet in wet.
This sketch was done in two sessions starting as usual from the back and painting/sketching towards the foreground. Each state of the sketch could be seen as a kind of under painting for the next stage.
The sequence of images below documents some of the intermediate states of this sketch and the way it developed. Gouache is very suitable to work in colour layers, with a wet brush layers can be connected, with strongly thinned colour subtle colour changes can be achieved,
As the gouache is an opaque medium one can work from light to dark and back.