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My latest book is in the shops ...

Posted by Dave Bull at 7:53 AM, November 8, 2010 [Permalink]

... or to be more accurate, a book with a few illustrations of mine is now in the shops!

We're coming up to new year card time again, and here in Japan that's a big deal ... still. What isn't a big deal any more is the idea of a woodblock printed new year card, unfortunately, but that's progress!

Not so many years ago, quite literally hundreds of thousands of people each year would make their greeting card by woodblock, but that gradually eroded under the influence of more modern technologies. Going back a few decades, we saw the arrival of the 'Print Gocco', a kind of miniature silkscreen process, which swept the country to an astonishing degree. But that was completely blown away with the subsequent arrival of desktop colour printing, either inkjet or laser.

But the basic idea - sending a 'handmade' card to your acquaintances and friends - is still going strong. Decades ago, in the bookshops at about this time, you would have seen stacks of 'pattern books' filled with ideas for people to use for making their woodblock print cards. These days, such books are even more popular than ever, but nowadays they have no woodblock printing instructions, but come with a CD-R inside, along with directions on how to use the enclosed design clips to layout the cards on your computer, customize them, and print them out ready for mailing.

Here in early November, they are just getting started, and the local bookshop has a small display set up, with a couple of dozen different books/magazines:

I'm not exaggerating when I say a 'small' display. A month from now, when the 'panic' is setting in, these books will be stacked nearly as high as my shoulders ...

Anyway, looking closer at the display, we see this one:

And yes, I have a two-page spread inside:

I say 'I', but of course these are all examples of prints that I made based on designs from the Edo era, taking monochrome (or poorly coloured) originals and giving them a full-colour treatment.

This is the fourth year in a row that this particular company has asked me to be part of their book. Back home, I got the previous volumes off the shelf, along with one from a different publisher, in which I am also represented ...

I have no way to tell how many of the people who bought this book ended up using one of my contributions - there are about 50~60 illustrators represented in each volume, with a wide variety of styles - but these books sell in vast quantities every year, so I guess there must be a few here and there. It would be a hoot to receive a card one day that had been made that way ...


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