There is an interesting feature on the design of our forthcoming book Boom Boom, Boom Boom, which brings together hundreds of archive photographs of visiting black blues artists playing in Manchester taken by a young teenage fan, Brain Smith, over on the designer’s website. It shows the way he has developed the cover and arrived at the final artwork.
We usually try and work out a book’s front cover very early on; it helps focus minds and give everyone something visual to work with. And also it’s usually needed for sales information too. The problem is that inevitably small changes will need to be made but hopefully the basic design stays the same. After that the rest of the cover can wait as energies go into the inside pages, but we’re now trying to get the artwork for the Fire In The Sky cover prepared. The cover is a bit of a strange beast as it needs to be laid out flat but you have to keep in mind that it will be folded and creased to form a front, spine and back. Plus we like to have those wrap round flaps which sort of echo dust-jackets. The spine is often a bit of a guess but normally the rest of the book is prepared, and then if the spine needs to be made slightly bigger to fit I have to drop everything, adjust the artwork accordingly and get a new production files over to the printer within half an hour or so. Any of our titles which have a music theme, we use an image of album sleeve spines for the book spine. The idea is that if people have a few of the book titles, it will end up looking a bit like a mini vinyl shelf. It’s perhaps a little ambitious but our designer likes the concept!
The inside can look a little strange when viewed flat as the art needs to match up to whatever is happening on the first page of the actual book.
It is sometimes all too easy to forget that we’re actually a manufacturer, as you get weighed down by the enormous amount of work involved in actually getting a book to the printers. But sometimes it’s nice to be reminded of the fact when you’re undoing a box of stock. I guess it’s part of the enjoyment of working in a business so closely associated with printing. So I took a few minutes to snap these copies. There is something very satisfying in seeing a title stacked up like this and wondering where the copies will end up going. They’ve already travelled almost 1500 miles before they even reach our office.
There have been quite a few emails coming in this last week or so asking why, if another website is busy announcing a new release date for one of our next titles, do we not have that information here? The answer is simple, we did not know about this! The website did not bother to contact us to check. So rest assured, as soon as we have a reliable production date for each of our next three titles it will appear here BEFORE anywhere else! Likewise if you order direct from us (once pre-orders go live) you will get the book BEFORE anyone else (that includes you know who) has stock.
And just to prove things are happening, here’s a peek at a chunk of the Fire In The Sky page layouts (generated from within the layout software) which are being proofed and photo cleared at present. Our designer has added a colour coding to each section to make navigating what is becoming an increasingly complex document (there are over 700 images) a little easier!
Well 2019 didn’t pan out quite like we’d planned! With both Simon and Ann having had time in hospital, one after the other, current book projects had to be put on hold for some considerable time. However with the New Year, Easy On The Eye Books are starting to get moving once again and the titles which got held up are now being prepared for publication. We anticipate that the Fire In The Sky book will be first, this is now into the final photo clearing phase, with text proofed and the book laid out. This book has become much bigger than originally planned (around 700 images in total!) so will have around 260 pages now. This will be quickly followed by the Boom Boom Blues photo book, and then we’ll tackle the next two titles. Goodness knows how brexit will affect things this year but we’ll do our best (we print in mainland Europe, so have been dreading this). Anyhow, expect more page spreads and other updates in the coming weeks. Our thanks to everyone for their patience.
The illustration above is from the popular I Spy pocket books which were a publishing phenomena during the 1950s and 1960s. These are a big favourite with Simon and he has compiled a few pages devoted to them on his design site – check the link above.
This interesting image turned up recently while we were working on the Deep Purple book all about their seminal Machine Head album. Anyone familiar with the lyrics “We all came down to Montreux” should realise that this is a contemporary shot of the famous Montreux Casino, which burnt down in December 1971 causing chaos in the town, near disaster for Frank Zappa and his audience, but did inspire one of the most famous rock songs of all time, Smoke On The Water.
Frustratingly for us the photo just misses off the actual venue itself, that large grey block on the far right of the scene. But it does have a lot of atmosphere, although I’m struggling to know where it was taken from, as it’s somewhere in the lake! Nothing now remains of the Casino complex, which was later redeveloped. More details of the Deep Purple book Fire In The Sky can be found on the site, and the text is now in the proof-reading stage.
Again our apologies for a rather quiet spell at Easy On The Eye Books, with yet more illness affecting senior staff. I guess the clue is in the word senior! As a result we’ve rejigged plans a little, and our next planned release now we’re running with the baton again will be the fabulous blues photograph book. This is not far from final proofing, but got held up again when photographer Brian Smith found yet more negatives while clearing out his garage a while ago. We have now scanned and cleaned this new batch of material and are sorting through, as some of the photographs deserve to go in the book. Brian had a few old prints of some of these but naturally we’ll be able to get much better reproduction from the negatives. Here is one of the new found frames (BEFORE being cleaned!), which was actually taken by one of Brian’s friends, and shows him with Bo Diddley backstage at (I think) the Twisted Wheel Club in Manchester. Bo is holding his trademark Gretsch ‘Jupiter Thunderbird’.