henandinkblots

The thoughtful scratchings of a busy coop: Hen&ink, A Literary Studio

It’s over! Henandink.com is up and running!

Whew!

Coming soon a guest blog by Barbara Younger.

 

Cheers, 

Erzsi 

Alert: Boring post about email not working

To avoid missed messages, please use these gmail email addresses for Hen&ink Literary Studio communications while the server is not working.

The website is also down due to whatever is going on, or rather not going on.

Thank you!

henandink at gmail.com

henandinksubmissions at gmail.com [NOTE: We are currently closed to submissions.]

henandinkscout at gmail.com for all things related to Editions de la Martinière and le Seuil jeunesse.

 

Thank you for your understanding,

Erzsi

 

 

Painting It Up With Friends and Kids at the Seattle Convention Center

by Wendy Wahman (as seen on her blog)

Lots of great art by SCBWI children’s book illustrators in our show at the Seattle Convention Center. I was lucky to have Suzi and Richard Jesse Watson at my table, drawing and collaging with dozens of young artists at the opening.

ConventionCenterEvent

My co-illustrator.

Picture 4

Wendy Wahman is the author/illustrator of DON’T LICK THE DOG: MAKING FRIENDS WITH DOGS and  A CAT LIKE THAT, and illustrator of SNOWBOY 1, 2, 3, written by Joe Wahman. DON’T LICK THE DOG was selected as a 2010 Bank Street Best Children’s Book of the Year, starred for Outstanding Merit and accepted to the Society of Illustrators Original Art show. Her A CAT LIKE THAT book trailer was selected from over 7,000 entries to be in catvidfest 2013, Walker Art Center. Wendy’s editorial illustrations have appeared in major publications including Harper’s Magazine, The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times. Her favorite job-type job was working in the art department of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer newspaper, until its print closure in 2009. Wendy and Joe live near Seattle with their two children, who look and act remarkably like standard poodles.   She is represented by Hen&ink Literary StudioWebsite   Blog   Behance   Pinterest   Facebook   CafePress   Twitter  Linked In

A CERTAIN SLANT OF LIGHT

The Last of the Season – Château Chantilly from a Painter’s Eye

by Doug Cushman (first “aired” on aNewsCafe.com!)

If you threw a rock outside of Paris proper in any direction, chances are you’d hit some kind of château. Throughout the convoluted Parisian history, royal residences have been built, destroyed, rebuilt and repaired. Some of the most notable are Vincennes, Fontainebleau, Malmaison, Compiègne, Blandy-le-Tours, Sceaux and, of course, the famous—and infamous— Versailles.

But of all the châteaux within a short train ride outside of Paris, the Château de Chantilly holds a special place. It even prompted President Nixon to comment on an official visit to the town of Chantilly in 1968, “Why have I been taken to Versailles seven times and never here?”

A short history: A mansion was built in 1484 but was replaced by the Petit Château around 1560,and stayed in the same family for generations. It was then sold to other families, the most famous of which were the Bourbon Condés. In the 17th Century Le Grand Condé commissioned André le Nôtre to design the gardens. Le Notre had just finished the gardens at Versailles. The Grand Château was destroyed during the Revolution. The Duc d’Aumale, who owned the property at the time and exiled to England, returned and rebuilt the Grand Château. The Duc bequeathed the Chantilly estate to the Institut de France in 1884, on condition that his collection of art would be open to the public. The collection itself rivals that of the Louvre.

In modern times the Chateau has had an interesting history, including a host to a triathlon and movie set backdrops, notably The Longest Day in 1962 and the James Bond thriller A View To a Kill in 1985.

Just across the road are the Grandes Écuries, or the Grand Stables. It’s said that the Duc de Bourbon, Prince of Condé, believed that he would be reincarnated as a horse after his death. So, in 1719, he asked the architect, Jean Aubert, to build the grand stables (rivaling the château itself in size and grandeur.). They are considered to be some of the most beautiful horse stables in the world.

The castle is a constant inspiration. From a painter’s point of view, however, approaching a series of watercolors over 5 months is daunting. Not only does he have to deal with the usual hazards of painting en plein air—hauling an easel, paper and supplies onto a train, erraticweather, changing light and hordes of gawking tourists who must talk to you while flashing a camera in your face—but he needs to find a way to mirror the rich detail in the towers, spires and walls of the chateâu…without painting every damn window he sees.

I decided to paint what Emily Dickenson calls “a certain slant of light”; the way the sun hits the rounded roof towers and walls. I love watercolor and think it’s the perfect medium to capture that transientlight. The white paper itself is an essentialpart of the painting. The trick is to not let on that you’re leaving a lot of the paper unpainted, that most of the color and value goes into the shadow areas with accents of green, blue and red painted in the background.

The light is the thing.

These paintings took about 2-3 hours apiece to paint, all on site. No fixing in the studio. Those were the rules. The foundation of a watercolor is a solid drawing so I spend as much time as it takes to get it right. Much of the time was taken in just the drawing.

Last Wednesday was the end of the painting season for me. The air was cold, the wind blew bitter down my neck. The light was still marvelous but the days are shorter.

It’s time to pack up my easel and paint, wash my brushes and perhaps schedule some painting classes on the castle grounds for next year.

The Chateâu Chantilly is worth a visit even if you’re not a painter. It’s an enchanting castle unlike most of the grand “boxes” one sees around the French landscape. It’s a short day trip just outside of Paris proper and easy to be back in time for dinner in the big city.

But as a painter, of course, the start of a new painting season begins next spring. I can’t wait to see the sun hit the spires and roofs and the bright, yellow green of the blossoming trees and to breathe in the refreshing country air.

But then, I wonder what the chateau looks like covered with snow…

Doug Cushman is the designer of the original Hen&ink black hen and an artist and author who lives and works in Paris, France. He was born in Springfield, Ohio, and moved to Connecticut with his family at the age of 15. In high school he created comic books lampooning his teachers, selling them to his classmates for a nickel apiece. Since 1978, he has illustrated and/or written more than 100 books for children and collected a number of honors, including a Reuben Award for Book Illustration from the National Cartoonists Society, New York Times Children’s Books Best Sellers, and the New York Public Library’s Best 100 Books of 2000. He enjoys hiking, kayaking and cooking (and eating!). He is represented by Hen&ink Literary Studio. Stay tuned for PUMPKIN TIME! from Sourcebooks. Learn more at his website, doug-cushman.com.

Ring in the Good Cheer!


The First Annual Hen&ink Iconic Holiday Black Hen Contest

Last year, Doug Cushman gave the Black Hen of Hen&ink’s logo a holiday dash of color (and additional style, n’est ce pas!?).

THAT WAS THEN,  Image

THIS IS NOW (extra points if you can name the author of that book sans Google et al) and you are invited to show us your take on our iconic bird for a chance to be the “face of Hen&ink” for the 2013 holidays.

Please send your interpretation of the Hen&ink Hen to info [a] henandink.com by 1 December 2013. The contest is open to Coop and non-Coop members. If the winning illustration is by a Coop member, s/he get lots of extra scratching. If the winning illustration is by a  a non-Coop member, the illustrator will be entitled to one picture-book project critique and possibly an offer of representation.

NOTE: Only one entry per person. Repeating myself, but please send only one jpg or pdf per artist, along with a short bio (100 words). Please include your name  in the filename (ex: SmithBlackHen13.jpg). Any multiple entries will be discarded. Judging is completely subjective and final. Only the winner will be notified of the outcome before we go live with the image.

http://henandink.com

It’s All About the Cake: Day 3 and the Urban Wolf (aka Andrea Zuill) says, “Goodbye ’til next year” from SCBWI Summer Conference 2013

Our Urban Wolf is asleep in his dog bed, wiped out after three days of fun and information. For more on the SCBWI LA Conference 2013, check out the official blog: http://scbwi.blogspot.com/

Our Urban Wolf is asleep in his dog bed, wiped out after three days of fun and information. For more on the SCBWI LA Conference 2013, check out the official SCBWCI blog. Thank you to Homer/Andrea for great reporting. And now the real work begins…

P.S. From the editor (Chick Hen): Congratulations to all the Golden Kite nominees and awardees as well as Mo Willems for the Sid Fleischman Humor Award. A special hurrah! to Alexis O’Neill for Member of the Year. And, too, to the illustrator mentees! (Homer is an alum…).

____

Andrea Zuill
Andrea was born in the agricultural town of Bakersfield, CA and moved to the San Diego area when she married. For 20 years she owned and ran a sign and graphics company. At the same time Andrea created oil paintings. She’s still painting and her work shows in galleries in California, Texas and New York. Andrea’s work has exhibited in the San Diego Museum of Art and the Brand Library gallery, where she won the Disney Imagineering award. In about 2006 she started a series of art prints which portrayed funny and somewhat cranky characters that she sells on Etsy (the online handmade store) and at art festivals. Andrea’s blog has given her a forum where she can exercise her funny bone. Besides writing articles about crafting, she writes and illustrates some very goofy stories. With everything she has learned from her blog, and her love of creating silly artwork, Andrea knew that she wanted to be involved in children’s books. A member of the SCBWI, she won the 2010 SCBWI Mentorship award. Andrea Zuil is the 2013 Golden Gate Portfolio Award winner.
http://zuill.us/andreablog/
http://www.zuill.us/illustration/

Of Laurent Linn, Mac Barnett, and dancing penguins: Day 2 of the SCBWI Summer Conference in LA. The Urban Wolf reports.

Cartoon_2_NO (1)Dateline: Los Angeles SCBWI Summer Conference – August 3, 2013 — Homer (aka the Coop’s Andrea Zuill) is on the ground. 

I’m so tired this morning I can’t believe it.  Well, that’s what I get for having fun.

The first keynote, that I made it to ( I told you I was tired) , was the Editors Panel on What Makes an Evergreen and What Makes a Hit. This featured Andrea Pinkney (Scholastic), Donna Bray (Balzer & Bray), Claudia Gabel (Katherine Tegen Books), Namrata Tripathi (Atheneum), Allyn Johnston (Beach Lane) and Melissa Manlove (Chronicle).  Here is a condensed version of what each of them said (Sorry if it’s a little cryptic).

Donna BrayA book finds it moment.  It’s perfect time for it to be publish and speaks to a universal truth.

Claudia GabelTiming.  A close examination of a particular time period.  Have a storytelling hook. Some books are great, but come out at the wrong time.

Andrea PinkneyMost hits are unexpected. A reader has to be smitten and fall in love with the story.

Allyn JohnstonEasier to spot hits/evergreens if you have a long relationship with an author.

Melissa ManloveHits are about current culture.  Evergreens are about human nature and universal truths.

Namrata TripathiYou just can’t always tell (if a book is a hit/evergreen).  It’s a surprise.

The next keynote was writer Mac Barnett.  He is a great speaker and a lot of fun.  Here are some the high points in his talk.-

  • · We write for the best possible audience.
  • Between truth and lies is art.
    • Metafiction:  A book that is upfront that it’s fiction.  You are able to suspend reality even when a story acknowledges it’s not real.
    • A four year old can get any joke.
    • Make the unbelievable real.
    • Write a book with new rules.

He told a story about how in one of his books there was an offer, on the inside of the dust cover, for a child to get a blue whale (A real blue whale) for free.  Several children took him up on that.  One even sent a letter to him stating he’d bet the author ten bucks that it wasn’t a real offer.  Each child got a letter stating the whales where stuck up in Sweden, where the process for expediting the whale’s shipping was going slowly.  But, if the child wanted to he or she could call up a whale and say hi.  Included in the letter was the whale’s phone number.  The children called the whale.  What they got was the sound of a whale (like whale song) followed by a beep. At the beep a child could then leave a message.  One little boy called and left messages for the whale several times over 2 years. He just wanted to say “hi!” to the whale.

The first workshop I went to today was given by illustrator Jennie Ho on anthropomorphic characters.  Here are her tips:

  • Good Character Design – Strong silhouette, dynamic shapes, colors and varied texture, and accessories
  • Characters – Clear and definable.
  • Be able to show Emotion.
  • Able to draw character repeatedly and consistently
  • Characters have good eye contact.
  • For a story with more than one character make a line up to make sure they go together.
  • Remember who (what age) the book is for.
  • Design characters to match audience.
  • Be consistent with the characters.

At this point I decided to draw a little girl over and over because it was fun. Then I had lunch with friends.

Once again I decided to hear Laurent Linn give a talk titled Rethinking the Rules of Being an illustrator.  He basically covered the business of being an illustrator.  Here is an idea of what he covered:

  • Talent is worth something.
  • You are a business.
  • PROMOTION for getting all kinds of illustration work:  Websites, postcards, artist resource books & websites, art reps, social networks and conferences.
  • CREATING ART traditional vs digital:  Doesn’t matter, just stay true to yourself.
  • OTHER WORK:   Consider illustrating for educational materials.
  • WHAT MATTERS MOST:  Storytelling (Emotion, Good Art and Creative Ideas)

Finally tonight was the traditional Saturday night party. This year’s theme was Black & White.  Everyone came dressed in a black and white outfit or costume.  Let’s just say there were a whole bunch of penguins getting down and funky.

____

Andrea Zuill
Andrea was born in the agricultural town of Bakersfield, CA and moved to the San Diego area when she married. For 20 years she owned and ran a sign and graphics company. At the same time Andrea created oil paintings. She’s still painting and her work shows in galleries in California, Texas and New York. Andrea’s work has exhibited in the San Diego Museum of Art and the Brand Library gallery, where she won the Disney Imagineering award. In about 2006 she started a series of art prints which portrayed funny and somewhat cranky characters that she sells on Etsy (the online handmade store) and at art festivals. Andrea’s blog has given her a forum where she can exercise her funny bone. Besides writing articles about crafting, she writes and illustrates some very goofy stories. With everything she has learned from her blog, and her love of creating silly artwork, Andrea knew that she wanted to be involved in children’s books. A member of the SCBWI, she won the 2010 SCBWI Mentorship award. Andrea Zuil is the 2013 Golden Gate Portfolio Award winner.
http://zuill.us/andreablog/
http://www.zuill.us/illustration/

 ____

P.S. A  little bit of Coop clucking! There are four Hen&ink Literary Chicks attending the conference — Andrea, Mary Dodson Wade and Sarah Towle and Julie Hedlund. Sarah and Julie are presenting this year. 

Saturday 3:30PM

JULIE HEDLUND – The Author as
Entrepreneur Encino Room

Sunday 2:45PM

JULIE HEDLUND/SARAH TOWLE – Picture
Books and Story Book Apps: Same, Same
but Quite Different Encino Room

P.P.S. Melissa Buron (at the conference in spirit interview Mary Wade and other Chicks at http://melissaburon.wordpress.com/author/melissaburon/

After Midnight: Day One of the SCBWI Summer Conference 2013 by Homer (aka Urban Wolf), er, Andrea Zuill

Andrea Zuill Urban Wolf SCBWI LA 13Cartoon_1

Los Angeles, California, USA, Aug 2 (Henandinkblots) — I’ve been asked to write a report on this year’s SCBWI Summer Conference in L.A. I haven’t written a report on something since I was in school and I will not even begin to tell you how long ago that was.   I also have the attention span of a gnat.  I know this doesn’t bode well but I will give it a try anyway.

The conference started off this year with a few words from Lin Oliver.  A few months ago I got to talk to her in person and I’ve got to say she’s one of the nicest people I’ve ever met.   She gave us a number of facts about who exactly was attending this conference.  And, here they are…

  •    There are 1266 attendee’s.
  •    38%  published
  •    62% unpublished
  •    There are 400 plus new attendees
  •    175 portfolios in the portfolio showcase.
  •    312 attendees for the writer’s intensive
  •    46 States are represented here, with the exception of both North and South Dakota.
  •    14 Countries are represented
  •    Approx.  988 women attendees, 192 Men and 86 Undeclared
  •    Some of the occupations represented here are Animal Communication Specialist, Auditor, Spam Fighter, and Pickle Professional.

I haven’t check out all the numbers to make sure they work out but it does give you an idea of who is here.

The first keynote speaker was Laurie Halse Anderson.  She talked about how the readers of our books are the most important of all readers of all (children).  She stressed the importance  of staying a child because, “Growing up is a whole lot of Horse Shit.” And finally, she stated how important it is to sit around a campfire at least once in your life.

The next keynote speaker was Jon Scieszka. His topic was Subversion, but his talk quickly headed in a different direction.  I couldn’t keep up with him as he told stories of growing up with his brothers.  But I do know that Jon and his brothers broke the youngest brother’s clavicle several times in his life.  Poor kid!

Laurent Linn, always a conference favorite, gave nuts-and-bolts talk about how a book gets made from dummy to printing.  Laurent talking style is a mix of charm and no-nonsense and I find him one of the most informative of all the speakers. This talk was extremely good for people new to this business.

Finally, the last event of the night for me was the Illustrator Social.  It’s great to visit everyone but it gets so loud in the room that a bunch of us went to the hotel lobby to talk.  This hotel’s lobby is one of the best for socializing.  It’s filled with various groups of writers and illustrators experiencing the friendship and comradely that seems to come easily to people in the world of children’s books.

I know this isn’t the greatest of reports, but I’m tired now and don’t care.  So there!

Good Night!

____

Andrea Zuill
Andrea was born in the agricultural town of Bakersfield, CA and moved to the San Diego area when she married. For 20 years she owned and ran a sign and graphics company. At the same time Andrea created oil paintings. She’s still painting and her work shows in galleries in California, Texas and New York. Andrea’s work has exhibited in the San Diego Museum of Art and the Brand Library gallery, where she won the Disney Imagineering award. In about 2006 she started a series of art prints which portrayed funny and somewhat cranky characters that she sells on Etsy (the online handmade store) and at art festivals. Andrea’s blog has given her a forum where she can exercise her funny bone. Besides writing articles about crafting, she writes and illustrates some very goofy stories. With everything she has learned from her blog, and her love of creating silly artwork, Andrea knew that she wanted to be involved in children’s books. A member of the SCBWI, she won the 2010 SCBWI Mentorship award. Andrea Zuil is the 2013 Golden Gate Portfolio Award winner.
http://zuill.us/andreablog/
http://www.zuill.us/illustration/

 ____

P.S. A  little bit of Coop clucking! There are four Hen&ink Literary Chicks attending the conference — Andrea, Mary Dodson Wade and Sarah Towle and Julie Hedlund. Sarah and Julie are presenting this year. 

Saturday 3:30PM

JULIE HEDLUND – The Author as
Entrepreneur Encino Room

Sunday 2:45PM

JULIE HEDLUND/SARAH TOWLE – Picture
Books and Story Book Apps: Same, Same
but Quite Different Encino Room

P.P.S. Melissa Buron (at the conference in spirit interview Mary Wade and other Chicks at http://melissaburon.wordpress.com/author/melissaburon/

Speaking the Fleeting Moment: #The Gathering @KeystoneCollege

by Hen&ink’s Whitney Stewart 

 

Diane Ackerman, author of such books as The Zookeeper’s Wife, A Natural History of the Senses, and One Hundred Names for Love, writes stunning, paragraph-long sentences about our natural world. She might have been going for a record last week at “The Gathering” at Keystone College when she recited prose for many minutes—I wish I’d timed it—and then told her audience she’d read just one sentence. She’d wanted to test her mastery of language. And mastery it is. But I’d never get away with such sentences in children’s books.

 

AckermanThe Zookeeper's Wife

When Suzanne Fisher Staples asked me to speak at The Gathering, I was honored to present alongside Ackerman, Ilya Kaminsky, Trebbe Johnson, the Drepung Loseling monks, and others. Suzanne also asked me to have an on-stage conversation with Ackerman, and I worried about how to find a way into Diane’s poetic, adult language through with my children’s-book-writer’s mind. But then Diane told her audience that she’s actually eleven years old at heart, and that play—imaginary and linguistic— is important to her and to her novelist husband, Paul West. Okay, then, I thought. I could do this, if Diane played along.

 

AckermanThe Natural History of the Senses

Our on-stage conversation, however, wasn’t exactly light hearted. How could it be when I chose to talk about World War Two Poland? We’d both spent hours researching that sorrowful landscape, and I had to know if it affected Diane the way it affected me. In An Alchemy of Mind, Diane wrote, “I tend to see life through the lens of the book I’m writing,” so I asked her if she’d despaired when writing The Zookeeper’s Wife. She admitted to having been challenged to describe the Nazi bombing of the Warsaw Zoo—and who wouldn’t sob over the destruction of such beautiful creatures that died senselessly like the Polish people? But, Diane had chosen a positive story about Antonina Zabinski who, with her husband Jan, saved over 300 Jews and Polish resistance fighters from the Nazis. I, on the other hand, am writing about “the enemy,” a young German soldier who didn’t want to fight for Hitler but who killed Russians on the eastern front and stole food from Polish farmers nonetheless. My story doesn’t have a feel-good ending like Diane’s, as much as I wish it did.

Diane and I discussed her other book subjects too. After reading A Natural History of the Senses, I can’t stop thinking about how to increase my sense awareness. Diane amazes me by what she notices in the natural world while I clomp my hiking boots over rocks and twigs and worry about the life I might be squashing.  I asked Diane which sense she would keep if she had to give up all but one, and she squealed aloud, making the audience chuckle. She didn’t want to give up any, but we agreed to keep our sight because neither of us could bear to live without visual clues of each day’s drama.

 

OneHundredNamesforLoveMech.indd

I told Diane I would feel fractured by living with as many people as she does since her husband’s stroke. She has no choice, of course, but how does she maintain her writer’s mind in such a busy household? How had she written One Hundred Names for Love? “Who said I didn’t feel fractured!?” she barked at me from her armchair. So she’s human, I learned. And she struggles with living and writing the way most writers do. She does so with grace, though, and her stories are infused with what she calls “radical acts of compassion,” and with gratitude.

Finally, to lighten our last moment together, I asked her to repeat the owl’s call she’d made on stage the night before. So, Dianne warbly hooted, and the audience joined in until the hooting turned into laughter—a respite for us all after such heady conversation.

For more on The Gathering at Keystone College:

http://thegatheringatkeystone.org/

Learn about Diane Ackerman:

http://www.dianeackerman.com/

Whitney Stewart:

http://www.whitneystewart.com/

Selling a Book By Its Cover

The Bookseller Book Design Conference, held at the Southbank Centre in London in association with book design website and consultancy Fixabook on July 8th, was a tour de force of creativity and inventiveness that had a resonating message: publishing is alive, and it may be more inventive than ever.  Elisabeth Buchet-Deàk was there.

 

Book design is first and foremost about communication, and the language it necessitates is ever-evolving as a consequence of formerly successful formulas losing their relevance and of the public’s changing responses and needs. That was the underlying yet prominent thread that encircled the presentations at the Bookseller Book Design Conference earlier this month.

Throughout the half-day event, speaker after speaker gave a passionate and personal account of their work and of the business of designing books – from the aesthetic and reissuing of classics to what the next technological shift will bring.

 

CAN UGLY SELL? And other questions…

Auriol Bishop, creative director at Hodder & Stoughton, questioned the need for aesthetically pleasing covers, asking “can ugly sell?” Mark Ecob, founder of mecob design, argued in favor of the back of the book, all too often overlooked. Stephanie Seegmuller, associate publisher at Pushkin Press, spoke of the design, branding and marketing challenges facing a new and small publishing house, particularly one that publishes foreign—and often dead—authors. Seegmuller was the second to discuss the reinvention of classics, which was a theme throughout the morning, starting with Hannah Griffiths, publisher at Faber & Faber, and her art director colleague Donna Payne, who early on in the event defended their new and controversial cover for Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar. Suzanne Trocme, architecture and design editor for Wallpaper, and Katharina Bielenberg, associate publisher at MacLehose Press,

 Sylvia Plath and the new cover of The Bell Jar

Faber & Faber The Bell Jar cover debate in The Guardian

 

presented the finalists of the MacLehose Press Design Competition, in which participants were invited to submit new covers for books published by the company, most notably Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

 

CAN YOU JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS THUMBNAIL? A second major theme—and the only one dominated by men—was the rise of digital media and the expansion within this field as well as the new challenges it poses in terms of design. How do you go beyond the e-book? What should you be thinking about when creating an app? How should the cover look? And the thumbnail?

 

GIVING CREDIT WHERE IT’S DUE: THE BOOK COVER. By the end of the event, I had learned that sometimes a new cover for a beloved book such as The Bell Jar can lead to more outrage than one that has obvious sexual connotation (just check out two articles in the UK press below); that it is good to break away from genre rules and not offer up a cover with a dark silhouette standing in the background of a dark, cold and foggy scene for a mystery; and, most importantly, that book design is a complex thing, where covers, marrying the general and the subjective, play a much bigger role in our relationship to book than covers are usually credited.

Watching the room full of designers as a panel critiqued works-in-progress submitted by attendees, I thought about Donna Payne’s closing words: “How fantastic that in this digital landscape a cover is still relevant.” She’s right, of course, it truly is fantastic, but I would argue that the cover of a book today, in our image-dominated world, is in fact more relevant than ever before, not in spite of the digital landscape, but because of it.

The Man Who Walked Through Walls

The very fact that classics like The Bell Jar and Marcel Aymé’s The Man Who Walked Through Walls—books that in the past barely needed a cover to sell—are being reinvented just goes to show to what degree design has become valuable to the publishing world and its survival.

And while I, like many, am deeply saddened by the terrible consequences of digital advancement on traditional print publishing, I choose to see this new phase in the realm of books as an opportunity for innovation and ingenuity. This needn’t be the end of the printed book, and maybe digital media is, ironically, what can save it. (Full disclosure: I have yet to purchase an e-book myself…). If we are to save the book, we need to understand the cultural landscape we currently inhabit and it’s clear to this participant that the designers who graced the stage during the conference can be trusted to do just that.

 ————————————————————————————————————–

Elisabeth Buchet-Deàk, known to most as Zazou, was born in Portland, Oregon, but spent the majority of her life in Paris, France. After graduating from high school with a French Literary Baccalaureate in 2007, she went on to study journalism at the University of Oregon and later moved to London, England, where she is about to enter her third year at Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design, studying Criticism, Communication and Curation—a cryptic sounding program that engulfs cultural studies, criticism, and curatorial practice. Elisabeth’s love of books has led her to change her mind about becoming a curator, and she now has aspirations to enter the publishing world. She is currently working on her dissertation, in which she is exploring dreams, reality, and the space in between in the films of David Lynch, Federico Fellini, and Alejandro Jodorowsky.