DIY art publishing links

September 1, 2007 at 8:11 pm (art, culture, drawing, interesting, life, painting, thoughts)

For a few years now, I’ve been making little homemade books to give away at art fairs and other occasions, and it has been a really great experience. With September starting, I’m just gearing up to make some more of these projects and I’m constantly astounded at all the great new possibilities that are becoming available through publishing on the web. Time was, if you wanted to get postcards (for example) printed up, you needed to get at least a 1,000 of them. Now it’s possible to only order a hundred or to even order a pack where each card is different. And you can now get just about anything printed on… well, just about anything, in any quantity. The possibilities are unlimited for artists to do really cool things with these services. Here are some cool ones that I have found:

Self-published books: For an incredibly small investment, you can publish your own catalog of works! I’ve worked with Lulu before, when I did a run of photobooks which featured my drawings (I also just ordered a “proof” of a new book a few days ago). I’ll be perfectly blunt: The quality is not incredible (good by not amazing, if you get my drift) but Lulu is VERY cheap. To get a 40 page catalog of full-color reproductions will cost you around $10 a book and, since this is print-on-demand, you can order as many as you want whenever you want. Yes, that means you can order one book, wait a year, and then order ten more. You couldn’t ask for more flexibility.

Blurb is rumored to have incredible quality, but they are slightly more expensive (not that much more, but I am counting every penny and like to make my projects cheap enough that I can just give them away half the time, so a couple of dollars makes a pretty big difference to me). I haven’t tried MyPublisher yet, but I did take the leap to download their software and it’s very easy to use; prices are comparable to Blurb. AsukaBook is very expensive and you have to prove that you’re a professional artist (it was easy to do even if I can’t exactly recall how I did that – a link to my website, perhaps?) but their quality is said to be the absolute best in the field.

Fun stuff: By far the most obsessed-over new printed product out there is the fabulous Moo card – little mini photocards with your pictures on them; $20 gets you 100 cards (and each one can have a different picture on it!) with contact info on the back. I’ve made these and the quality is really good – akin to what you’d get for a well-reproduced postcard image of your work. And now, Moo has introduced possibly the coolest addition to this whole field… get ready… STICKERS!!! Oh yes! I can’t wait til I order some! You can make perfectly amazingly cool stickers of your photos/drawings/paintings and get 90 of them for $10! Very exciting indeed.

Qoop (yes, I’ve shouted them out before) makes really great minibooks and I notice that they now offer stickers as well – along with puzzles, posters, calendars, cards, you name it. But it’s their minibooks that I think are really special and cool – tiny little books with full-bleed images and the print quality is good too. What’s not so great is the covers – which is a complaint of mine for all the book printers I’ve mentioned here (I just find that their covers are, overall, clunky and unattractive). But hey: You’re an artist, come up with a great solution! I’m making handmade bookcovers for my latest Lulu book. There’s other solutions available too. Don’t be deterred by the covers, because once you open them up the books themselves are good. Maybe you can cover your covers with some photostickers?

And that’s really the point of this whole post: Not that you should necessarily be running out and buying a gazillion reproductions of your work, but what can you do with this new technology that’s really incredible? Moo cards and Qoop’s minibooks are just really cool objects to have around. Dumping your images into their templates is the easy part; coming up with really new innovative ways to wring the most out of the possibilities presented by them is actually the fun part.

So woo! Go make stuff! And let me know when you do!

2 Comments

  1. rachelcreative said,

    It’s your fault. You motivated me to making some moo mini cards finally. This could become quite addictive!

    Now … I just need some people to give my cards too … watch out random strangers!

    Thanks for sharing your ‘reviews’ Amy šŸ™‚

  2. amywilson said,

    awesome!! looking forward to seeing your projects!

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