Making Clunk & Jam
Way Behind in uploading the making of Clunk & Jam but here's a pictorial start....
January 2018, the process of creating Clunk & Jam second edition began through the complete retyping, editing and redesign of the first edition published in 2012. And adding 6 new character series and 100 pages of new work to the original. All the text in the book is typed on an old typewriter.
Clunk & Jam gets its name from the sound of the old typewriter (and poem) -
Through the clunks and jams of the carriage returns of the dusty old beast that rides my desk. I slap silence with letters on waving arms. Clunking out truth on a black rubber roll. As jams slow the rush. And errors have a say.
To the question: "Why do you create and publish the book yourself?"
Creating a book is an artistic process of working towards creating an object that reflects its message and purpose. It's no accident that a book about difference looks so very different to most other books.
It was important that Clunk & Jam had a warm, nostalgic aesthetic - felt like 'home'. Space was important too. It's a commodity in the book and advertising world. It was more important to leave space for the reader than to fill it with 'information' about the book - or the name of the author etc.
The look and feel of the book is created through design, paper choice, weight and texture. Size, shape, weight. Depth of ink, type of ink (vegetable based because of its delicious smell). All are important aspects of creating the end object. How it sits and feels in hand (and mind) when someone comes to it.
To get the text, images and page numbers from the typewriter and drawings everything is scanned into the computer and converted into individual JPEG image files.
Then I begin to create the individual pages - like a jigsaw puzzle of images, text and numbers (as above). Some pages are made up of 20 or more pieces, image files. Even the lines around the Robin Small series have been typed on the old typewriter.
Old and new worlds.
Working out the order of the pages and chapters is the tricky bit because each page is a story in its own, so it's pieced together and often the order dictates itself - over time. To allow this process, imagine a crime scene type board. The pages are taped onto the windows using masking tape. This allows the book to be viewed as a whole and then pieces can be swapped around until the order makes sense and feels right.
In this picture I'm trying to work out the weight and shape of the book. I gradually slice sections off and weigh (important for postage and feel in the hand).
The book files are then saved to a USB and delivered to the printing company. From there the pre-press people do the formatting and set all the pages out on the large sheets.
Proof Sheets: Are printed in two formats. One is a 'dummy book' ie the large sheets folded into sections and clipped together. This is used to check the pages are in the correct order and goes into the printing stage so the guys doing the printing can also cross check.
Large proof sheets (above) are also printed. With section sewing, each sheet is designed to be folded into sections (above). Both the 'dummy book' and proof sheets are delivered for checking and making any final alterations before going to print.
Making Plates: Once the proof sheets are signed off on, the aluminium plates are made which are used in the printing process called, 'offset printing'.
Press Check: When the first plate is loaded into the press the printer calls me in for a 'press check'. This enables ink levels to be altered and set before printing begins. Once we've made any adjustments, the printing begins (below).
Offset Printing: There are two types of printing - offset (more traditional) and laser. Laser is where the ink powder is heat set onto the surface of the paper - like a photocopier. Offset press uses real, runny, vegetable based ink that soaks deep into the paper. It's a more expensive process than laser and aluminium plates need to be made. These are then recycled once printing has finished.
This is the huge offset printing machine. Because Clunk & Jam is printed in grey scale not all towers are used.
Paper Drying Time: Printed sheets are left to dry for a couple of days on pallets before going into the folding process.
Cover: I don't use a graphics program and I'm a bit of a dinosaur with technology so I work on the cover design using a hard copy which is given to the pre-press people to put everything in place.
The cover is the last thing to be printed. This is because once the text sheets are printed and folded (adding air and bulk), a 'dummy book' is then also put through the thread binder. After this is done can the width of the spine be determine and cover made to fit.
To reduce wasting any of the beautiful paper stock, we used the space either side of the cover to create mini postcards.
Next stage the folded pages are trucked to the bindery to be section sewn. This is the strongest and oldest binding method. PUR glue binding is the alternative, cheaper method used.
Beautiful 'section sewn' book block - before cover is wrapped and glued on. The first edition of Clunk & Jam in 2012, the spine was left unwrapped to show this process but it's a very expensive, labour intensive process - and some bookshops and school libraries preferred to have the title on the spine for when it sits in the shelf.
The sewn sections are then trucked to another bindery where the cover is glued on and the book undergoes a final trim before being boxed and send back to the printer.
The stitching is a beautiful, tactile part of the book.
Books arriving home from the printer.
Some of the books that influenced the art and stories in Clunk & Jam - and are referenced throughout.