Today I received the proof prints of my new publication “Touring the residual landscape” which is now ready for purchase on Blurb.
Blurb has done a good job again. The print on the creme white uncoated paper imitates the original look of the ink drawings on handmade indian album paper with little specs of plant parts very well, much beyond my expectations. I like the booklet a lot, it’s kind of cool to have it in hands and leaf through the pages.
The layout is very simple, the same as in the original. Only the semi transparent silk kraft paper sheet between the pages is missing. The drawings are scaled to the format of the Blurb book using the maximum width. Those drawings that have been drawn in landscape format with the book turned by 90° are reprinted the same way.
My Blurb membership is growing old, a bit at least. The first book order I placed on Blurb.com goes back to August 2008. Blurb always has been a bit slow in development from my point of view, but development takes place and for the better. The book editing software is doing OK, there is PAYPAL integration, there is now an ebook option and you can generate a pdf-file from your book (at a bit of costs though) to name those changes that seem important to me.
End of last year to my surprise I got an invitation for an interview with some of the friendly Blurb staff. I was motivated by a 100$ coupon so I took the chance. Blurb wants to know what tools their customers use to make their Blurb publications. I requested them to keep the entry levels as low as possible, I use a version of photoshop elements to do very basic manipulations on images that are too dark or seem out of color balance. I write my text Microsoft word and that’s it. Then I transfer text and images into the book editing software.
I used the coupon to cover some of the costs for two private books in small square format (7X7 inch). One solely with images taken with the Hipstamatic app and an Iphone 3GS (square pics at the top), and a second one with images taken with a NIKON D90. Both books had the maximum page count of 240 for premium paper and 440 for standard paper,in total both books contain ca. 1000 images. Below you can see image examples. I find the results very satisfying, especially the results from the low tech phone camera.
The resolution of the images is not very high and dose not represent the original resolution as I took the images from the online book preview. What I want to show is that Blurb can print in excellent colors and they can print also difficult images, like the ones with a lot of black. I had taken a picture of a Gothic painting that is shown in a very dark room at the Hotel de Dieu, Beaune (Burgundy). Only some spotlight illuminate the paintings, the room is like a black chamber. I metered the light with the D90 spot meter and took some very nice pictures, which I cannot show here for copyright reasons. Those images were printed very well by Blurb.
I had to ask for a re-print unfortunately of the Hipstamatic book because some pages had some strange,foreign color spots outside of the image area. The reprint was delivered by FEDEX within a week or so. So this order was not 100% perfect, but close to perfect. I could see only very slight differences in print between the original print and the re-print. It seems that the contrast was not always the same, sometimes a bit stronger in the first print and sometimes in the second print, it is really hard to see.
The re-print of the entire forest diary sketchbook is now available as color paperback in the Blurb bookstore. The book preview shows the all 158 pages. The size of the book is 6X9 inches, it has more than 100 images,the book weight is 275 grams. 61 gouache sketches, done on site between January 2009 and October 2011 in the forests of Maulbronn,Germany, are re-printed on double pages. As the original sketchbook covers on front and back are re-printed too to book contains a mini version of the original sketchbook.
Apart from the images there is an introduction and notes on sketching gear. Seven image series that show sketches in intermediate state illustrate the sketching process. The book is for people who are interested in sketching and painting outdoors and nature diaries. Collectors of sketchbook art might be interested in the re-print of this sketchbook project dedicated to the forests.
At the seam, in the middle of the double pages, the layout was adjusted to compensate the loss that occurs by printing/binding in the middle of the book. This is visible in the online book preview,but will not show in the printed book.
I made some adjustments based on the proof print I had received recently from Blurb. The colour print in paperback is a new option for Blurb customers. The colored pages are printed “semi matte” on white coated paper, which is quite similar to the appearance of the original sketchbook paper. The image quality is remarkable, a real 4-colour picture print. From my point of view coloured paperback books are a great addition to Blurb books and worthwhile to check out.