With the advent of computer layout and design came a blending of two very different training paths for those who work with published words. I have been a writer long enough to remember when writers wrote and the graphic designers created all the visuals and did all the layout of the text blocks and their graphics.
As I began using desktop publishing software to layout the pages for print, I began not only writing or editing the text, but found myself responsible for producing the graphics as well. Suddenly, I was crossing the old line between the writer and editor and the graphic designer.
The blending of these two roles has happened relatively quickly as software makes it possible for one person to do more and more of the design and production of everything, from book publishing to movies, not to mention the creation of web pages. Sometimes we lose sight of where we came from.
I came to book design and layout from the writer's side, with no real training in creating visual images. Like many others today, I have learned much about document design, but I do not wear the credentials of the trained graphic artist. Yet in practice I have become one, as have many of us who started out as writers.
Along the way, I discovered that the vintage etchings I have collected for years provide wonderful elements for book layout and design projects. What's more, these vintage etchings can often become the basis for exquisite rubber stamps .
So where's the art in using vintage etchings for design work?
There's a certain something lost in the conversion of lines to pixels, a loss which the graphic artist needs to adjust for in preparing an etching for use somewhere besides the yellowed pages of an old book. Perhaps a piece of the image has been lost to the chomp of a mouse. Perhaps a blob of ink from the tip of a quill pen sits squarely in the middle of the magnificent rendering of a face. There's an art to the conversion, but articulating that process sometimes goes beyond words. Doing is the key. Trying. Experimenting. And over time the "knowing" of just what needs to be done evolves. Art, by nature, is beyond words.
There are five subjects covered on my web site:
Enjoy your visit! I welcome comments or suggestions.
Whiskey Creek Document Design
You will find examples of my book design work here, information about the books I have written, and my proposals for the books I am yet writing.
I have long been interested in where the words of writers come from, and that leads to the whole issue of the mind-brain connection. You will find book reviews here of my favorite authors on the subject of the mind-brain connection, from Talbot to Wilber, from Goleman to Hawking.
You will also find reviews of books here which relate to document design. Some of these books are no longer in print, but with easy access to used books online, there is still a place for reviews of older books.
Whiskey Creek Stamps
Four years ago I began using my knowledge of the printing process to create finely detailed stamps of many of the vintage etchings in my old books. Numerous companies are making stamps from old images, including etchings. None, in my humbly prejudiced opinion, match the intricate detail of Whiskey Creek Stamps. The stamped impression of a Whiskey Creek Stamp looks like a real etching, at least to my prejudiced eye.
Banana Republics in the Heartland
I think I mentioned my web site was an eclectic mix of interests. You may be wondering how populism in the midwest and the lack of civil rights found a home here with rubber stamps and book design.
Much is made of the lifestyle of what is euphemistically called The Heartland in midwestern states. The state government of many of these states appears to believe that the United States is a pure democracy, where mob rule, even if unlawful, is accepted. The notion that the United States is, by design, a republic, with protection of individual civil rights, escapes many of the state legislators. Unbelievable? Read on.
Document Design Online Journal
I began posting my prejudiced opinions about the brave new world of computer-produced documents when some of us were still using Pagemaker 3. Of course, that was eons ago in this industry, and Pagemaker has been gobbled up by Adobe to resurrect as InDesign.
As I am still using Pagemaker 5, I no longer add much to this online journal. There are still a large number of us who have refused to join the feeding frenzy towards the latest and greatest page layout software, so there's not much new to add here. Of course, the time will come when our computer operating systems will no longer work with Pagemaker, but so far there are a fairly loyal group of us who keep plugging along with what we know, what's stable, and what doesn't constantly create extension conflicts and crashes for us.
The books I have reviewed here, especially the computer-related books, are mostly out of print, but now that Amazon has so nicely linked to sources of used and out-of-print books, the reviews are still valuable and often the books can be turned up.