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• • • Being a journal by artist and designer John Coulthart, cataloguing interests, obsessions and passing enthusiasms.


 

The Adventures of Little Lou

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People ask me now and then what I prefer working on the most, and the answer is always the same—book design. The Adventures of Little Lou, a short novel by Lucy Swan for Savoy Books turned up today from the printers and it’s a good example of why I find this kind of work so enjoyable. For a start, the printers, Anthony Rowe Ltd, always do an excellent job. One of the things which makes CD design aggravating at times is the lack of care from pressing plants when it comes to print quality. But most of all there’s the pleasure of being able to make a book a beautiful object in its own right.

For this title we used gold blocking on the pages again and endpapers patterned with a red marbling design. The gold and red complements the dust jacket, and the scarlet swirls correspond to a number of motifs in the book, from the delirium of the characters’ drug states to the quantities of blood spilled as the story progresses. Lucy’s book riffs on David Britton’s Lord Horror and Meng and Ecker characters in much the same way that some of the New Worlds‘ writers of the late Sixties riffed on Michael Moorcock‘s Jerry Cornelius character, taking prior creations as a starting point for something new. This won’t appeal to a general readership; it’s vicious, offensive, scatalogical, wonderfully imaginative, downright nasty in places, and frequently very funny. But that’s okay, it’s a Savoy book, not another clunker from Jonathan Cape.

 


 

Posted in {books}, {design}, {fantasy}, {work}.

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5 comments or trackbacks

  1. #1 posted by Nathalie

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    The details are indeed impressive. I did not think there was printing houses still going into this lenght of painstaking jobs.
    Book sounds interesting too, I’ll be sure to add it to my never ending reading pile…

  2. #2 posted by John

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    Anyone can do this with books–hardbacks, anyway–it doesn’t cost much more. What’s missing is the desire to do it. Thames and Hudson still produce high-quality books, most of them printed in China these days, but those are art books so that’s understandable. But publishers of novels seem more concerned with quantity over quality.

  3. #3 posted by DeZ

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    Great stuff indeed. Still in great form.

  4. #4 posted by Faun Flynn

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    O h I’d not seen this I must get it !
    Beautiful design as well..

    You are a man of rare talent indeed !

  5. #5 posted by John

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    Thanks Faun. :) Just be warned the book isn’t exactly light fare. But then I imagine you can guess that from the crossed syringes.

 


 

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