I turned in the Spectrum Fantastic Art Live 2 commemorative art book to the printer last week. It feels good to have it wrapped up and on schedule to arrive with plenty of time before the event. It will premiere at the show in Kansas City, Missouri on May 17-19. It features the six special guests: Jon Foster, Peter de Sève, Tara McPherson, Charles Vess, Michael Whelan and Terryl Whitlatch.
The first volume features the five guests from 2012 and is 64 pages. Since there is on additional guest for 2013 I expanded the book to 80 pages. This also allowed me to increase the gallery of each artist from 10 to 12 pages. I’ll have the cover and all of the details posted on the Flesk website by next week. At that time you will be able to place a pre-order if you feel so inclined. This is an exclusive Flesk book that is not available to the book trade with a limitation of 2000 copies. It’s a 9 x 12 inch hardbound with jacket. The cover price is $29.95.
At the moment I’m working closely with Brom to finalize his art book. A few days ago, for instance, I printed out the book on 11 x 17 inch paper. This allows me to view the 9 x 12 inch pages at full size and have room around the edges to make notes. Then I began to read the book doing my best to approach it as if I do not have a clue who Brom is, and have no context about the artist names, companies or general references that he makes. There will be a lot of people buying this book who are familiar with Brom and his history, but there will also be those who aren’t. It’s important to not assume that everyone has a full knowledge about Brom or the topics he covers. The goal is that the book is as enlightening to those new people as well as to those who are familiar.
I continued yesterday by spending six hours looking for text errors, inconsistencies and marking any pages which I felt had a design issue that I should bring to Brom’s attention. Afterward I called Brom to go over my findings and suggestions. He has done a remarkable job; just stunning work. We spoke for an hour and a half going over all sorts of details. In an example of a talking point that we had, I pointed out two pages that I felt the design could improve. In these two cases my eye could not rest easily on the page and I didn’t know where to look. I communicated this to Brom and he went to work to adjust them. I don’t tell artists what they need to do to “fix” something, but instead I let them know why I don’t feel it is working. Then, I leave it to them to make any adjustments. I feel a good editor should leave the artists alone as much as possible—and that includes keeping your ego out of the book and not muscling your way into the book. Brom is an exceptional designer. I intend to make sure he does not compromise his vision. Brom is perhaps the only person I have ever worked with who is as particular as I am about all of the fine details.
We’re looking to have the book ready for the printer by March 1st. It’s quite exciting to be focused on the final stages of the book. I’ll be doing a second proofing pass on the book in a few days, followed by a third pass the day before it goes to the printer. I make a fourth and final pass when the printer sends a full set of proofs shortly after we turn it in. The first time I proof a book I read it from page 1 to the end. The second time I go from the last page to the first. The third time I grab random pages and read them one at a time. The fourth time, with the printer proofs, I focus mostly on the colors and reproduction, and then read random pages to double check for errors. Actually, there is an early text review that I do when the text is first supplied by the author. It then goes to Martin Timins for copy edits, then I review all of his notes before sending it back to the author. So, on average I read the text in a book five full times before it is printed. I still miss stuff, and it drives me insane when I do, but I give it my full attention and do my best.
After the Brom book goes to the printer I will be working with Mark Schultz to design his new art book. He’s wrapping up the coloring on the cover now. It should be done soon! I can’t wait to see it.
Text and photographs copyright © 2013 John Fleskes. All rights reserved.
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