Thursday, October 01, 2009

How to make books

This book by Esther K. Smith was not what I expected but I ended up liking it anyway. With a title like "How to make books" you would expect a manual consisting of basic how-to information with excellent photos and step by step instructions. After all, this book was published in 2007. Someone needs to do an update with basic how-to instructions like the A. W. Lewis book, an excellent reference but it only has line drawings.

Nope, this book is geared to the book arts where the book becomes the basis of the art. No inherent emphasis on basic technical skills, precision, accuracy, or required tools. There is a general overview of some of those things. Instead the author prefers to explore the artistic side of the craft by utilizing some basic book structures.

Even though I expected one thing and was temporarily disappointed, I ended up liking the author's artistic style. For someone like me, I tend to get hung up on the technical aspects of creating a book. This kind of book helped nudge me into a freer direction, almost giving me permission to just play with paper and book styles. The idea is still a challenge for me, but this book provided plenty of inspiration. (Some of the how-to illustrations still left me scratching my head and could have not been so artsy).

The book itself is an example of what it tries to depict. It has a unique design sense and composition. Should this be a required book on a book artist shelf? I don't know as that is a personal choice. I liked the book, but I probably won't buy it. It is possible to get this book through many public libraries, so that is where I will leave it.

Book rating: 3 stars.

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