Last summer it occurred to me that in this whole make-a-book thing, it might be best to get some experience and start a bit less ambitious than a full-color book that might get buried without distribution and just not be something I’d be proud of. The paintings that will eventually be in it will probably never be printed in another book like it again in my lifetime, so it seemed worth it to get it right. However, the book idea is still going full-bore. What I’m working on for release early summer (fingers crossed) is a book of drawings and sketches. It will require a lot of the things a color book would need, and would be more ideally suited to a smaller print-run.
Starting about the end of 2003, I began focusing on tighter preliminary drawings, and almost every painting now has a fairly tight drawing accompanying it, if not more than one. These vary from tight indications of central figures with no background to very rendered full-image drawings. I’ve taken these around to conventions and have sold them well the past few years. Going earlier than that there are a few sketches here and there that might qualify, but in many cases the drawings were done on the board itself and painted over. Only in a few cases did I have the presence of mind to scan the drawing before covering it in paint. If you’ve seen some of these prior posts you’ll get an idea for what these drawings I’m talking about look like. I think all the ones in those posts are in the “in” pile, many will be reproduced at or near original size.
So the plan is to have this ready for summer conventions which typically start for me in July for San Diego Comic-Con. I’d like to have it available on my website maybe a month or so earlier still if possible.
So a lot of work has been done on this front now—a raft of scanned drawings have been pulled out and are being cleaned up digitally so the whites are nice and white and the details crisp (I’m not altering the drawings digitally). They’re being proofed and the final selection chosen. I’m checking with clients to see what drawings will be moved to a potential future volume: for instance, my work in Magic’s Core 10th Edition set won’t release til the week before Comic-Con or thereabouts. So, if I want the book to release any earlier than that, I have to not have those drawings in the book (they’ve been moved to a folder called “Potential vol.2”). There are a couple other projects this might be an issue for as well.
After finalizing the list of drawings I’m now doing some final cleanup, then will begin laying it out. All sorts of considerations are involved: bar coding, ISBN, deciding or producing a cover image, having a small initial run made then soliciting distribution. Should I produce a limited-edition hardcover version? It’s going to be a thinner book, 64 pages, somewhere around 100 drawings. What should I call it?
In the meantime, I continue painting anyway and improving the content of the postponed color book.