What the Dickens: Victorian England in the A.M. Todd Rare Book Room

Somehow, I forgot to post the design I created for What the Dickens: Victorian England in the A.M. Todd Rare Book Room, the fall 2013 exhibit for the A.M. Todd Rare Book Room at Kalamazoo College.  The exhibit ran from September 16-November 26, 2013, and participated in October 4th Art Hop.

The illustration featured in publicity was Leslie Ward’s Caricature of Dickens (1870).  Leslie Ward was a British caricaturist, who was about 19 years old when he made this drawing.

What the Dickens: Victorian England in the A.M. Todd Rare Book Room postcard 6"x4"
What the Dickens: Victorian England in the A.M. Todd Rare Book Room
postcard 6″x4″
What the Dickens: Victorian England in the A.M. Todd Rare Book Room poster 24"x32"
What the Dickens: Victorian England in the A.M. Todd Rare Book Room
poster 24″x32″

Generations: My Grandparents

Generations, Cover 2013
Generations, Cover 2013

Over the past 10 years, I’ve been writing a book on my maternal grandparents and their ancestors.  I thought I finished it in 2012, but after reviewing the proof ordered from  Blurb.com, revisions were definitely needed. After reworking some material, I’m finally done!

The book began as a labor of love for my grandmother since family history was extremely important to her. Unfortunately, Grandma died before she saw the finished product.  When I showed it to her, I had completed approximately 40 to 50 pages.  The finished book is 219 pages.

I’ve spent more than a thousand hours working on this book in my spare time. Researching, writing, designing, layout, graphic creation, image scanning, photography, etc…, it all takes an amazing amount of time and energy.

I’m sharing a few pages from the chapter about my grandparents, my grandfather’s first wife, and the children from both marriages.

 Generations, pages 14 – 31

K 180: Celebrating Kalamazoo College’s 180th Birthday

I recently finished designing the postcard and exhibit poster for K 180: Celebrating Kalamazoo College’s 180th Birthday. It features gems from the A.M. Todd Rare Book Room collection. The exhibit runs from April 1 – June 13, 2013, at Kalamazoo College, and is closed between May 8 – May 19.  The exhibit will be featured in three Art Hops sponsored by the Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo.  Art Hop occurs the first Friday of the month in downtown Kalamazoo, and this exhibit shows in April, May and June.

The artwork I chose to feature on the publicity materials is from an illuminated manuscript copy of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven,”  which was a birthday gift in 1920 to Albert May Todd from his wife Augusta. As usual, I photographed the artwork using a Canon EOS Rebel T2i.

K 180 Postcard
K 180 Celebrating Kalamazoo College’s 180th Birthday: Gems from the A.M. Todd Rare Book Room Collection
postcard 6″ x 4″
K 180 Exhibit Poster
K 180 Celebrating Kalamazoo College’s 180th Birthday: Gems from the A.M. Todd Rare Book Room Collection
poster 24″ x 32″

Religious Reflections

Religious Reflections: Selections from the A.M. Todd Rare Book Room Collection features Giclée prints from The Saint John’s Bible along with other religious selections. Exhibit in the A.M. Todd Rare Book Room at Kalamazoo College, January 7 – March 14, 2013, and will be part of Art Hop, a program of the Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo, on the first Friday in February and March.

The exhibit poster and postcard I designed features the artwork Birth of Christ, Donald Jackson, Copyright 2002, The Saint John’s Bible, Saint John’s University, Collegeville, Minnesota USA. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.SaintJohnsBible.org

Interestingly, I could not submit Birth of Christ artwork for use for the Art Hop brochure. The Saint John’s Bible has very strict use guidelines, so another religious selection is featured in that brochure. I also needed approval from The Saint John’s Bible before sending the artwork to print.

The following guideline made me pause when I first read it: “No modification of the image is allowed including writing, logos or printing of any sort placed on, around, or under the image, including decorative borders.”  I wondered how strict an interpretation would be taken, but the designs (after a small revision) were approved so all went well!

The Saint John’s Bible’s calligraphy and illuminations are amazing, and I encourage everyone to learn more.

Religious Reflections Postcard, front
Religious Reflections: Selections from the A.M. Todd Rare Book Room Collection
postcard 6″x4″
Religious Reflections exhibit poster
Religious Reflections: Selections from the A.M. Todd Rare Book Room Collection
poster 24″x32″

Generations

I’ve been working on a family history book on the family of my maternal grandparents, Stanley Davis and Marian Bohnsack.  I write a genealogy blog, ForgottenHistory.net, which shares my research.

I finally finished the book which I’m publishing the book through Blurb.com.  I ordered a proof a few days ago and should receive it by September 13 .  I purchased the swatch set in July and I’m glad I did.  For the book, I chose ProLine Pearl photo paper, the ProLine White end sheets, and the ProLine Oatmeal hardcover linen.  It cost about US$110 for the 220-page proof.  Considering it’s 49¢ per page for plain color printing at Kinkos, it seems a reasonable price.

Here’s the cover and a few pages from the book:

Book Designing using BookSmart

Back in 2004 or 2005, I started working on a family history book that I decided to publish through Blurb.com. Genealogy is one of my favorite hobbies and I thought it would be the best way to share the information with interested family members.

At the time, there was no Adobe InDesign plug-in offered, only the BookSmart software.  Of course, as what happens with personal projects, it got put on the back burner because other matters took precedence.  Jump ahead seven years, and I decided I HAD to finish this project.  I still had the original BookSmart document and – miracle of miracles – the latest BookSmart software recognized the saved document and opened it up!

Blurb.com
Blurb.com

Today, there is a InDesign plug-in so I had a decision to make.  I debated – do I continue using the BookSmart software or start over in InDesign?  I decided to stick with the BookSmart software since I was too lazy to start over. Of course, I didn’t think my targeted 50-page book would balloon to 220 pages!   If I knew then what I know now, I would have made a completely different choice.

Honestly, I think the software is perfectly acceptable and appropriate for the vast majority of users.  Overall, a good free software.  My #1 complaint is the control over fonts and text – unfortunately there is very little.

Font selection is minimal and I understand why end-user fonts are not supported.  But there are basic font capabilities that are missing and/or severely limited in this program.

  • No Leading!
  • No Kerning!
  • Character and Paragraph styles and the ability to name styles.  (the standard styles offered do not even begin to fill the void.)
  • Better auto text flow.  The current auto text flow is NOT good, especially if you need to change things.
  • No superscript or subscript option

Better font control – that’s what this software needs.

Here’s a not-so basic complaint of the software:

  • EPS is not supported.  Using PNGs in place of EPS is does not provide the same result – quality suffers.

Also, I can’t tell you how many times the software crashed while I was using it.  It’s funny, I can run – at the same time – Photoshop CS5.5, Illustrator CS5.5, InDesign CS5.5, a couple of different browsers, and Outlook on my laptop with no problems. If I want to use BookSmart, I have to close everything otherwise the software crashes.  Of course it crashes anyway, just not as often.

While I will never use the software again, I think it’s appropriate for those who know little or nothing about design.

Fortunately, I’m in the final proof stage.  Once I get that done, I’ll submit it. I can’t wait to see the final printed piece.

William Morris & Kelmscott

William Morris & Kelmscott features the work of 19th century British artist, writer, and textile designer William Morris who founded the Kelmscott Press. Exhibit in the A.M. Todd Rare Book Room at Kalamazoo College, September 10 – November 15, 2012, and will be part of the Art Hop, a program of the Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo, October and November. Read brochure for October Art Hop.

This is the first Rare Book Room poster that I’ve designed with the new branding. LOVE the fonts!

As usual, I photographed the artwork I wanted to showcase for the exhibit. I fell in love with this tapestry, which is probably about 4′ height.

William Morris and Kelmscott
William Morris and Kelmscott exhibit poster
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