Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Preparing for an art show: the booklets

Prepare yourself for the next installment in my Preparing for an Art Show series, a.k.a. "Kelley doesn't lighten her artwork before printing."

So far for my table at Spectrum Art Live, I have plenty of postcards to sell. My next goal was to create a little booklet of my artwork. I asked one of my longtime favorite illustrators, Julie Dillon, where she prints her art books, and she recommended PSPrint.

I ordered a pack of sample papers from PSPrint, and a week later a representative called me on the phone to ask if I had any questions. A sucker for the least amount of attention, I placed an order for 25 small, twenty-page, paperback booklets on glossy paper.

Getting all the details right for the layout of the book took me a surprisingly long time, probably a few hours. PSPrint worked with me multiple times in order to make sure I got the bleed right on the double-page spreads. They were very patient with me over the phone and email.

I ordered the smallest number of booklets possible - remember, I have no idea how many of these are going to sell, if any. Even this small order added up to more money than I've ever spent on my own merchandise before. "I sure hope these turn out well," I thought nervously.

About a week later the booklets arrived in the mail.

....and they were too dark. Dark enough that the low-key illustrations lost a lot of detail, and I just couldn't quite convince myself that it was ok. I was really crushed. This was my fault - I should have ordered a proof first. I've since learned to lower my computer monitor's brightness, and to lighten all my work before printing. However, even when I lowered my monitor to it's very darkest setting, it still wasn't as dark as the booklets.

I contacted PSPrint and they generously offered to reprint my entire order, with a hardcopy proof, for a small fee. I seriously can't emphasize enough how nice this company has been. I lightened my artwork, the proof arrived a few days ago, and it's exactly what I hoped for. The artwork looks juicy and bright on the glossy paper. The rest of the reprinted booklets should arrive soon.

If there are any unsold booklets after the show, I'll post them for sale on this blog.

I've made some pretty dumb mistakes over the course of preparing for this show. At this point I'm not sure I should be trusted to run an art table. Here's a video of me trying and failing to show you my booklet by turning the pages with one hand while the other hand holds the camera.


  1. I want one!!! I'll even pay!

  2. It's a learning process for sure Kelley. Thank you so much for sharing yours! I do wonder though, when you lighten your paintings are you adjusting the Levels?

    1. Yes, sometimes I adjust the levels, sometimes the "lightness" bar. For these booklets I used both, just to be extra sure. :)


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