Progress During the Pandemic

The pandemic has come with some unusual changes in routine that have had many benefits in terms of making progress on my first book project. While it has meant working with people online instead of in the print studio, without the long commuting and shuffling kids to and from school and activities, I have more time to work at home or in the studio.

Even though the Vandercook broke in May, as I’m working to fix it, I’ve been able to make a prototype of the binding for the book project.

I practiced sewing headbands, paring leather, and using the good ole Scharf-Fix.

I took a great online class on endsheets from my bookbinding teacher, Juliayn Coleman, with the SF Center for the Book. I had no idea there were so many options when it came to endsheets. My main take-away from the class: choosing the right endsheet needs to be part of the planning process for a book from the beginning of the project and will depend on a few factors, including how I want the book’s cover to transition to the printed text. Considering the endsheet as support for the structure of the book and how it is sewed is also important.


I have also been taking lessons in InDesign and Photoshop in order to design the layout of the book so that it can be made into a photopolymer plate for printing.

The number of factors that go into the design and planning for a full book project are numerous: the weight and texture of the paper, the size of the master sheet, the direction of the grain, the direction of the text across the cylinder of the press, the ink, margins and white space for binding and trimming, imposition, etc.

Many years ago I used PageMaker and a few other design programs when editing my college newspaper and while working at a public relations firm. Over the years, I have created my own advertising materials for my different professional projects using Adobe Creative Suites. My skills are rusty, and of course, the software has changed a lot since I last used it regularly. However, I’m enjoying the process of learning and remain determined to get the process down.

This first book project will be an experiment and full of screw-ups and lessons to learn. The next few projects may be like that too.


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