As another month comes to an end, here’s a look back at all the beautiful typefaces released during the month of June.
Monthly Archives: July 2014
Arthur Rackham was an illustrator in the late 19th and early 20th century. He was born in London in 1867. He began studying at the Lambeth School of Art at the age of 18, and soon found his passion and calling. The first of Rackham’s illustrations to be published in a book were in 1893, in The Dolly Dialogues. Rackham never looked back. From that first publication, illustration was his career until the day he died at age 72, of cancer.
In 1905, when Rackham was 38 years old, he created 51 color pieces to accompany Washington Irving’s Rip Van Winkle. The technological advancements necessary to produce color-separated printing was new, and Rackham’s vibrant, lavish style of sumptuous illustration helped propel the edition to the status of instant classic, while simultaneously bringing attention to Rackham and his work, and making a name for him.
Rackham’s pieces were known for their luxurious use of color and keen attention to detail. His styles ranged easily from vivid, bright splashes of color to more muted, subtle tones. He became a member of the Royal Watercolour Society and mastered the watercolor method of painting, seen in many of his works. Many of the books Rackham illustrated include both his black and white, and color plates. Some, such as Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Wonder Book, include Rackham’s experimentation with partially colored prints, similar to the effect seen with Japanese woodblock art.
Much of Rackham’s work depicts gnomes, fairies, goblins or other creatures from mythology, folklore or fable. His work has been an inspiration to many, including film director Guillermo del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth) and modern illustrator Brian Froud. Beyond the fantastical natural world, Rackham also found inspiration in unusual places, creating his own artistic interpretations of pieces from music and theater, such as Wagner’s operas, or Shakespeare plays.
Whether illustrating whimsical books for children or darker matter for adults, Rackham’s imaginative, brilliant illustration style was highly sought after and enhanced any text it accompanied. Rackham died in 1939, and now, more than 70 years after his death, his work is collectible and beloved. Children and adults alike take pleasure in the unique, beautiful art he provided for some of the world’s greatest stories.
Is it possible to publish books without financial risk?
In the case of the traditional publishing model, publishers often pay authors money in the form of an “advance on royalties.” They also invest in the creation of the book in the form of paying editors, book packagers and often others to bring it to market. If a book fails to sell, that publisher just loses that money.
Let’s hear it for the book designers. For every Milan Kundera, Jeffrey Eugenides and Aldous Huxley, there is a Roberto de Vicq de Cumptich, a Leah Carlson-Stanisic and a Gregg Kulick – all designers of memorable cover art. They give a visual perspective to somebody else’s written art, find balance in color and shape, simplicity and uniqueness. A book must stand out on the bookstore bookshelf yet cover designers rarely receive the recognition that authors do. In appreciation of these unsung artists, here are 30 of my favorite fiction covers – all worth buying for the cover alone.
Rentin’, readin’, and returnin’: Portland’s iFlipd creates a platform for renting ebooks — and getting value out of recycling them
Leave it to Portland. I mean, when one of your landmarks is an entire city block crammed full of new and used books, you may have a thing or two to say about how we read—and share in the experience of the written word. And while ebooks may have changed that dynamic a bit, one Portland startup is working to rethink how we can be using that format more effectively.
The relaunch of the HarperCollins website, redesigned with an emphasis on direct sales to consumers, has revived a longtime debate in the book industry. In the new world of pervasive digital communication, social media, and easy direct access to consumers—not to mention the disruptive presence of Amazon—how aggressively should publishers use their websites to sell to consumers?