Rob Clough recently compiled a list of the Top Minis of 2010 for the The Comics Journal. Among the 25 picks were some of my favorite minis, including Diary by Gabrielle Bell (from fellow minicomics publisher Tom K) and The Courtship of Miss Smith by Alexis Frederick-Frost (my favorite comic by Alexis, and he has a lot of great ones to choose from). But what pleased me the most was that Make made number 6 on the list. Number 6!
Here’s what Rob had to say:
“This scatological anthology is remarkably sensitive, beautiful, and funny. Chapman’s take is to make public the ways in which our bodies disgust us and use that public discourse to embrace and laugh at our own somatic frailties. That this anthology is also a beautiful, clever art object of its own only makes its appeal broader.”
It’s great that Rob gave minicomics this special spotlight. It’s always encouraging when a reviewer really gets what you’re going for.
Hello friends and neighbors,
Make will be at the Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Festival this weekend. Stop by the Artists With Problems table and say hi!
Make was reviewed on The Comics Journal, by in indefatigable Rob Clough!
I’m very pleased with the review. Rob understood the book’s intentions, and paid close attention to the production details.
I got to say, it’s pretty weird to have your bowel movements covered by the press.
– Robyn Chapman
My first run of Make went pretty fast, but now it’s back in print! Buy one today at the Make Shop.
To produce another batch of Make, I headed north to The Center for Cartoon Studies (for their superb screen printing facilities). The timing was perfect, as my good buddy Vanessa Davis needed a ride there. She’s on tour with her AMAZING book Make Me a Woman, and CCS had invited her as a visiting artist.
Cartooning buddies Derek Van Gieson and Karen Sneider also joined us for the trip. As it turned out, it was Vermont’s most perfect fall weekend of 2010. We picked apples, walked through a corn maze, and drank New Englanders in our hotel room. After this refreshing mini vacation I’m back in New York, working on the Make endeavour (a release party, perhaps?)
– Robyn Chapman
Make just debuted at the Small Press Expo, to a warm reception. I received a lot of compliments on the book’s design.
I wanted to offer a closer look at Make’s construction and share some self-publishing tips. I really dorked out on all the production details. Read on, if you’re into that sort of thing. Or you might want to skim and look at the pictures.
Make‘s cover, brilliantly designed by José-Luis Olivares, is a 3-color screenprint (blue, brown and pink – printed in that order). It was a pretty easy print job (the registration didn’t need to be tight). Especially the pink screen–the freckles just had to land on the butt. The asshole is a little right of center, though.
I was really happy that the texture of Jose’s line (originally drawn in China marker) came through in the print. The trick is printing with a high mesh count screen (230, in this case).
Rather than use cardstock for the cover, I used legal-size file folders, cut in half and trimmed down. I like the color of file folders, and I was able to find three boxes for cheap. I’m not sure I’d recommend this method, though. Even with access to CCS’s fancy industrial paper cutter, the cut was imperfect. The resulting stack of paper was not perfectly sized, so the registration was off at times. With tighter registration jobs, I recommend buying real cardstock, which is perfectly cut at the factory.
It can be difficult to find cardstock in a variety of colors larger than 8.5″ x 11″. The best place to go is French Paper. They have a great variety of paper sized at 12.5″ x 19″. Their paper is pricey, but the quality is high. Contact them and request a swatch book to insure you order the right color, texture and weight.
Paperworks is also a good source for legal- and tabloid-size cardstock. However, it can be tricky to judge the color, texture and weight based on their website.
Now, let’s open her up!
On the reserve side of the screenprint is the amazing inner cover by Maris Wicks. This is a photocopy–screenprinting this sort of detail would be extremely difficult, if not outright impossible. Choose your battles, my friend.
Maris used halftones here. To avoid moiré patterns, print images like this at size. To be honest, I think I did re-size this a little. If there is a slight moiré, it wasn’t very noticeable.
A heavy layer of toner is on this cardstock, and it doesn’t adhere well. After printing the inner cover, I spayed each one with workable fixative. I think this helped preserve the print. It’s not a prefect fix–toner will come off if you rub it aggressively.
You’ll notice that the inner cover is a foldout, with the book nestled inside. The left hand (verso) cover is 4.5″ wide; the right hand (recto) cover 8.5″ wide. With a one-sided French fold, the covers are symmetrical when the book is folded and closed.
Here’s the inner spread, by the remarkable Jason Martin. Jason’s piece has a 2-page spread, so I placed it in the middle of the book and built around it. It was a bit of a challenge, but I think the book is well-balanced. Joe Lambert’s comic has some great page-turns. I was able to keep those.
As an editor, I consider a story’s content and visual style when placing it in the book. You don’t want one portion of the book to be too heavy with auto-bio, for example. Regarding style, I just put pages next to one another and decide what looks good.
You might have noticed this book is pretty thick: 80 pages, to be exact. I was able to bind it with a standard longarm stapler, but I was pushing it. Much thicker and I would need a heavy-duty saddle stapler. CCS has such a beast: the Skebbra W-115. I challenge you to find a better manual saddle stitch stapler. Such quality comes at a price (around $170).
The endpaper is made of Chocolate Brown text paper from Jam Paper. Jam Paper has quality and selection, but they are unreasonably pricey.
The interior paper is Ivory text. I rarely print on white. Ivory is so classy, and it goes with everything!
I printed the interiors at SaveMor in Brooklyn, and I’m pleased with the quality and the price. To avoid any loss of line quality, I disabled compression when outputting my InDesign file to a PDF. It made the file huge (about 300 megs) but it’s worth it. SaveMor only grumbled slightly.
Last but not least, the final page. This concept comes from the talented Melissa Mendes. Melissa gave these body templates to friends, and asked them to draw their insides. The results were very unique and personal. Melissa published them in a zine titled Guts. It’s one of my favorites.
The body template is simply printed 6-up on white cardstock, then trimmed. The pocket is made from an envelope with the flap cut off, and adhered with double-sided tape. These small, square, Kraft paper envelopes came from Jam Paper. They’re pretty expensive, so I was tempted to use library pockets instead. But I really like their look and their size.
All these little details add up in cost (and double in labor) so the book retails at $7.00. But that covers production cost (even at wholesale). And it falls within a pricing rule I’ve heard from two great cartoonists: Alec Longstreth and Jon Lewis. For every page of your comic, charge $.10 .
There you have it! Make, cover to cover. I hope I haven’t drained all the magic from it. The book is a lot prettier in person.
– Robyn Chapman
Screen-printed cover, Art by José-Luis Olivares
For Immediate Release
September 5, 2010
Make to Debut at Small Press Expo
Brooklyn, NY – Editor and publisher Robyn Chapman is pleased to announce the debut of the much-anticipated anthology Make: Comics About an Intimate Act. The intimate act in question? Pooping. Everyone does it, and yet the topic is not welcome in polite conversation. Make endeavors to break this taboo, and offers 80 pages of stories that are human, sincere and entertaining.
Chapman handpicked 8 talented cartoonists to tackle this subject:
Make will debut at the 2010 Small Press Expo on September 11 and 12. Look for it at The Center for Cartoon Studies table (table F16).
For more information, contact:
I’d like to tell you about an anthology I’ve been working on–an anthology about a deeply personal and human act. This act is known by many verbs: eliminate, defecate, excrete and make (just to name a few). My term of choice is “poop,” because of its neutrality and plain English usage, and despite its childish connotations. So, poop is the term I’ll use here, and I ask that you bear with me.
Pooping is not something people are comfortable discussing. It’s not something I am comfortable discussing. For that very reason, it’s a topic that I think deserves greater attention. So, I offer for public discourse:
Make: Comics About an Intimate Act
I enticed 8 talented cartoonists to create comics about pooping. All I asked is that their comics be human and sincere. They produced work that impressed, entertained and touched me. I’m sure you’ll feel the same.
This August, look for Make: Comics about an Intimate Act. This handcrafted anthology will feature 71 pages of comics by these talented cartoonists:
To learn more, watch this site or contact me.