Self Publshing

Evaluation – Self publishing

I’ve really enjoyed this module. I’ve loved making the book, meeting new people and working with them and also being more creative. I like making things, it’s just rewarding when you get the finished product. Yes it was very stressful and challenging, especially when I kept jamming the printer because the paper I was using was too thick and I wasted £30. But it’s just a little speedbump in the progress of the book, it makes the finished product that bit more rewarding to look at and think … i made this.

Why did I make such a wacky idea? I knew from the outset that I didn’t want to use the glue binder as to me it felt really cheap and unpersonal. I didn’t want to make a book that a machine helped me with and I didn’t put much effort into. Another motivation for me was, and it sounds stupid saying it aloud but I wanted to make something that will get praised. You know in school when people show off what they’ve got and they stand up infront of the class going through it. I want that in way. I want my book to be so good and innovative that the tutors will use it as an example as a good creative book to show the lower years when they have this module. It does sound really weird but thats what I was aiming for from the outset and throughout.

The actual production of the book was very fun. It was very taxing at times especially when the printer kept jamming. But it wasn’t that bad, you just get on with it. The problem that I faced was that my ideas kepts shifting slightly. My original idea was to use the metal plates as a cover for the book, then that got shifted back to useing the plates as a sleeve, to using the plates as a cover to using mesh on top of it all to using mesh to cover the paper. As I was cutting the metal, the ideas would change. Kinda bad when you’re cutting expensive materials. But it all worked out in the end and i’m glad my ideas kept fluctuating as it wouldn’t have been as good or as unique if I had stuck to my original idea.

What could I have done better? The sketch/workbook. I was so focused on making the book most of the time that I completely forgot about the sketchbook that needed to be done. So I only had a short amount of time to do it all. I did take pictures of what I was doing when I was doing it. But I wasn’t keeping track of what I was doing. Next time on a project like this I will definitely keep both going. I dont want to rush this sketchbook again as it’s so stressful thinking “what do I need” rather than “what’s going to further my research and understanding of books”.

I used the Hoxton Mini Press book as my main source of inspiration if i’m honest. I wanted the book inside to be similar to that. So I got hold of some paper that was just as thick and with a matted style just like the what was in that book. I was also sad enough to put effort into finding out what fonts they used. Aaron has an app on his phone that can tell you the font in a book simply by taking a picture. Really cool and it got me the exact font online, (which is a font called Bryant regular) Awesome.

Another thing I would do differently if I had the time to change would be to make it a bit less stabby. My hands are currently covered in cuts from the mesh and metal as they were so sharp before I sanded the edges down. It came down to me having to put vynl on the edges of the mesh to stop people from getting cut. It was that bad. I dont like the vynl being there as it doesn’t look good or fit in with the book, but it needs to be there so that people dont kill themselves reading my book.

Overall I am very happy with how my book as turned out. As stated in this blog throughout – I wanted this book from the outset to be original, creative and unique, not made on the glue binding machine. I wanted it to resemble a banger racing car’s door and also be made out of metal. I did this to the best that I could have, though the pain job could be better. If i had more time I would actually take it to Rickies garage and ask him to airbrush a design on the front of it with his signature or something to make it even more unique with a very personable touch.

I have worked very hard on making this book what it is. I feel that from the ones I’ve seen, mine is the most outgoing and original. That’s not saying it’s the best by any means, but I’ve put alot of effort into making it original and different to the rest that I think it should be rewarded. Making the thing was rewarding to me just because I was making something, it felt good and I really want to make more handmade books in different ways now. I imagine that i’m going to spending alot of time in the illustration studios.

The finished product

I wanted to make a little stop motion video of the book being undone and pages turned as I want to show this to as many people as I can because im proud of it. But not everyone can be in person with the book. So late one night I decided to give stop motion a go. Turned out really well in my opinion.


I also added some cool, mellow music into the mix too. I dont know why, I just liked it.

Posted it on Instagram and Facebook and have got lots of positive feedback and liked. Both of the drivers in the book both liked and commented on Facebook how they liked it. So the books done it’s job in my opinion. It’s appealed to people and is original. The goal I set for myself feels like it’s been done.

Making the book.3

So binding the book with stitcing is out. Simple because when printing and laying the images out on InDesign, I didn’t leave any room on the left hand side for the stitiching to go. So i’m going to have to think of other ways to bind it together. Last resort if glue binding, but that is THE LAST RESORT!

I was casually talking to one of the Illustration students, Gabby who i’ve known for a while about my book and how i’m having problems getting it all bound up. When she comes up with the best idea i’ve ever heard. She said “well you’ve got bolts holding the cover together, why dont you put another in the corner and make i pivot?”. What a genius!

I ran straight over to Mark to see if he had a drill and anything resmeling a bolt for me to do this pivot idea as I really liked it. I tried it out on the failed attempts at printing and it was really cool! You can see the whole image with nothing in the way, the page sits happily on the right and it’s something new. I love it. Mark brings over the drill and also a small peice of metal that has no thread but can be done up. Exactly what I needed in the exact right size. So I marked it up and put it in the vice to drill it.

IMG_0012 IMG_0014


The finished product. I love working with the Illustration student as they’re so innovative, original and its also a new environment to work in which I like. It gets boring being in the same place all the time with the same people. It’s nice to get to know new people and work together.




Then all I had to do was cut holes in the mesh and stick it all together, job done.


Making the book.2



I’ve wanted to use the metal mesh that I bought in one way or another for my book since buying. Bangers dont traditionally use mesh on their cars, but some of the faster stock car oval racers do for windshields, so I thought I would try to incorporate that into my book somehow as it’s all relevant at the end of the day.

I decided that I am going to use the mesh as a book cover. I was originally going to place it ontop of the metal plate cover, but found that it just ruined the look of the paint job and you couldn’t visibly see the scratches I put effort into making, so I binned that idea. The only problem is that it’s really flexible and very very sharp on the edges. I’m going to have to make it a bit less lethal if I want to use it.

I need to think of a way of protecting the paper too as the mesh will literally just eat the paper apart without anything to protect it. I decided to get a thick piece of card and emboss it by pressing the mesh into the car giving it a really cool texture – just to add interest and protect the paper under it.


I have also decided that the book and paper size will be A5. It needs to fit into the metal cover which isn’t as big as it looks. It’s a tad too small for A4 and is also square. So A5 is a nice in between size.

I want the images to be placed nicely. I know it doesn’t really mix with the rough and battered exterior of my book, but I want the images to be easily read as well as nicely placed on the paper. 99% of the images I took are Vertical Landscape images so I would need to decide which way up the book is going to be. After playing about in InDesign i decided to lay them out like this as it looks the cleanest and is most complimentary for my images. It does however shrink them to a fairly small size. Shame, but I like it.



So far it’s looking like it’s going to be a very long book. I’ve only imported images of Rickie and his cars details and it’s already over 35 pages long.

I want to produce a detailed story of both Rickie and Patch as well as their cars. So the layout goes like this – a portrait of them, a picture of them working, a wide shot of them with their car which will then dive into details of their car which are unique and interesting. I have added in place some images that I thought were relevant to the book in places such as the image of driveshafts on possibly the filthiest floor known to man. It just helps draw in some context of the cars they use, the place the build them in and the parts needed. In my mind it’s all relevant as I love cars and understand why the car parts and useful. To someone who’s not in cars, will this come across? I hope so.


BJP on Photobooks

Junes edition of The British Journal of Photography is dedicated to the celebration of photobooks. They describe photobooks as “the primary art form for contemporary photographers… We believe book-making, and the conceptualisation of books, has become the medium on which artists are now judged. There’s been an explosion of small publishers, and book-making rather than the simple creation of photography prints is now the dynamic area of modern photography.”

I have ordered this magazine online, to see their thoughts on the importance of photobooks as well as to hopefully get some inspiration from the content. I never really read the BJP magazine as I find it a bit too expensive, I sometimes do in the past when going on train journeys etc but I haven’t bought one in a good year. I also bought March’s edition as it is dedicated to up and coming documentary photographers.

Hopefully this edition of BJP will go into the importance and role of a photobook for a platform of sharing work to a widespread audience in a very proffesional and personal level. To me photobooks are just that, they are as close as we can get to actually owning the photographers negative or raw files. They’re very personal and exclusive in my opinion, which is what makes them great. I would much rather buy and read a photobook than visit an exhibition. Granted they are both different mediums, but as owning the book makes you respect the work and lets you revisit it whenever you want.

Photobooks aren’t all the same either, hopefully this edition will dive into the most creative and original photobooks out there, as that is a very big part of making a photobook too – being original and standing out from the crowd.

I just think it’s really cool that a publication like BJP is appreciating and dedicating a months issue to the medium of photobooks. It shows the power and influence they can have. I’m looking forward to reading it (when it comes).

Practice makes perfect

So i’m starting to think of ideas for making of the actual book part of my book. So I decided to go into the illustration studio and have a chat with Andrew and try out some book making techniques. They like the idea of the metal cover painted and holding the book in place, but are questioning how im going to hold it all together. Much like I am, hopefully more ideas will come when I make the book layout in InDesign. Anyways, made some books.


Japanese style stitching/binding.

It was really fun to make this book, I loved the hands on approach to making it, sewing it yourself and double checking everything before you do anything. It felt like year 9 textiles classes in school. I actually liked it. I did product design in school also, so i’m a huge fan of making things. This book was enjoyable to make, which makes it that much better in my opinion. Another upside to it is that the pages lay fairly flat compared to other books and binding methods. I like this also as it would show of the images in a nicer fashion rather than having to look round the spine bend (if there were images there that is).

Photo 07-05-2015 11 37 27 pm Photo 07-05-2015 11 37 45 pm


Standard boring perfect binding book

I wanted to try it once to see the results. Turns out it’s just as underwhelming as I imagined. Took no effort to do or make. Just measure the pages, make your cover and stick it in the machine. Thats not how I imagined making a book would be. I seriously dislike this method of binding. The pages (signatures) dont open out as flat as the other, it’s no where near as personable than the stitching method and it’s really bad looking. It will fall apart if you open the pages too fast or put too much pressure on the bind. Not a fan, definitely wont be using this.

Photo 07-05-2015 11 37 55 pm Photo 07-05-2015 11 38 29 pm Photo 07-05-2015 11 38 11 pm


Codex binding book

This is probably my favorites of the three I made. Codex binding. In short it’s the most common binding for photobooks as the pages open up pretty flat, its stitched not glued and you can arrange the signatures in whatever way you want. This does however mean that you have to worry about the pagination – what image is going to come next essentially. This is my favorite so far. Opens up nicely, can see the images clearly and looks good.

Photo 07-05-2015 11 38 38 pm Photo 07-05-2015 11 38 51 pm Photo 07-05-2015 11 39 04 pm


Here is a small tutorial of how to do Codex binding:

Out of them all, I much prefer codex binding. It’s simple, nice and opens out flat which is more flattering for the images rather than being restricted by the spine of the book holding it back. Maybe I can use this for my own book design?

Looking at innovating books & binding

So i’m struggling for ideas how to bind my actual book together. The cover is all done and tested which works perfectly, so now I have to start thinking of how to make it into an actual book. I would like to incorporate the metal meshing I bought from B&Q into the book somehow. I was going to put it on the front cover originally but decided that it took away from all the scratches and paint on the cover. So decided against it. Maybe I can use that as a book cover? I dont know yet, i’ve got to experiment a bit more.


So I decided to take a trip into the library, specifically thr Artist’s book section to take a look at all the most innovative and wonderful books on display. To give me ideas and also to possible inspire me for binding techniques.


I picked out a few of the ones I like and i’m going to explain why I liked them.



First up is this book. I dont know the name of the author… or even what it’s about, but I like the fabic, soft cover. Something new that you dont usually see in books which is why I picked it out. On first impressions I thought it was a childrens book due to the bright colours and fabric wrap around cover. That is why I picked it up.


It is literally as simple as a peice of fabric wrapped around and stapled onto the hard cover book case hidden inside. I love the simplicity and originality.



You can see the staple on the right hand side here, east to make and very effective.


It drew my attention which is why I picked it up. Surely that is the sign of a good book?



Next on the list is this book called ‘Witness’ by Susan Hiller. it drew my attention as it’s fairly similar to mine… metal covered book. Hopefully this book will help give me ideas on binding my book.




This book feels really unique and exclusive. It feels like it has been made for you, rather than mass produced. I like that, I like the idea of making a one-off book. I also like the personal touch of including a DVD disk inside. I haven’t looked at whats on the disc, but I presume it’s some context about the book. Love it.




Pages open fairly flat too which I like!




I like this stitching and binding combination alot! I dont know what it is, may have to go and ask Andrew. I dont think it will be strong enough to support my book though.


Next up is this awesome little pocket book that I think is the most innovative and original of the ones I have taken a look at. It is a book labelled ‘Manilla one liner’, the book consists of a number of envelopes, all empty. Except the last one which has a piece of paper in this open envelope with  a single drawn pencil line. Love it.



IMG_0031 IMG_0032 IMG_0034



This was a really fun book to look at. It is all about Indian paintings from 1800’s to the 1930’s. It is held in a small cardboard box which is home to the actual book as well as a few big posters of high quality paintings. I really like the idea of having a protective sleeve/lift away box. That is what I have planned to do with my metal plates.




The book itself is nothing particularly original, it’s just a normally bound book. But the way it’s packaged and housed is why I picked this book up off the shelf.



IMG_0038 IMG_0039



I had to pick up my new favorite book in the world. The pig book. I really love this book as it seems to not take itself too seriously. What I mean by that is, its fun and original quirks, they’re deliberate but I love them. The colour of the wrap around, the tag in the spine of the book and the content inside make this an awesome book to pick up. I also really like the title ‘pig 05049’.



IMG_0041 IMG_0042 IMG_0044


I love how they have tried to make it into an actual pig with the plug in the spine and the branding style print on the back. 100% my favorite of the ones I have looked at.


It seems like a weird reason to pick this book up, but I picked it up because of the cheap paper cover. I wanted to see what was inside and see if the content inside was also cheaply made or if it was a spoof. Once inside I also was interested to the binding and way of opening the book.




There are two little clips that you twist round in order to open up the rest of the book, if you want to take the pages out that is. You can look at it normally, but it bends the pages and you cant see the whole page. I really like this idea and love how well it is executed.


Nice close up of the stitching used.




I picked this up due to the obvious ‘has someone felt their passport here’ thought. The idea of using a passport as a basis to make a book is brilliant and original. I wasn’t expecting to see what I did inside. It also feels realistic like it is an actual passport. Really cool design and idea!



IMG_0051 IMG_0053 IMG_0057

This book really interested me as a result of the rings binding the whole book together. I was toying with the idea of using this meathod for my own book, but couldn’t find and rings that could be re opened anywhere. This just shows exactly what I was looking for. I could bind my book this way if I find some of these rings, though it would have to be quick as i’m getting really close to the deadline.



The use of single images really makes you spend time looking through the images rather than just skimming through like you would a normal book. I really like this and I may use single images for my book.


All the books I have chosen were chosen because they were original and they all stand out. I want my book to be exactly that. I dont want to make something that will blend in with the other boring books on the shelf. I want to make a wacky book that screams ‘READ ME’. These books have helped me acknowledge and solidify this and have given me more ideas about how to hold it all together.

Making the book

Following on from the last post, it’s going to be too difficult to bind metal to paper like an ordinary left to right reading book. So i’m having to change up the idea slightly.


Instead i’m going to use the metal sheets and a sort of sleve to house my book. Same painted way. I’m going to use 4 bolts and nuts at the edge of each corner to hold my book in place. The idea I want to use is to make the viewer phyically take of the top cover to reveal the book inside. Lets get started.


First of all I bought my large metal sheet from B&Q. Stainless steel and very sharp edges. I marked out what dimensions I wanted and headed down to Fine Art studios to see Ashley the technician to help me cut it, on this old rusty press.


Once cut I had to sand down the edges so I dont cut my self all over.





I then used a wirebrush to get all the crap off the plate and also rough up the surface as I want it to look really messed up.




Wirebrush wasn’t causing thick enough scratches, so I got a chistle and started making gashes in the plates over and over.

Processed with VSCOcam with f1 preset

After that I marked up where te bolts would be and took it to Ash to get them drilled. He would do this by the next morning which gave me ideas of the image I want on the cover.

Here it is with the bolts in place, with the page I wanted scaled to size to see what it would look like.


You can see the image that I want to use as the cover, it is one of the photographs I took of the side of Patch’s car. I like it especially because of the vibrant red, the white outline and the roughness of the panel combined with the massive bolt in the middle of the page. I want the cover to entice the viewer but also make it fairly easy to recognize. I also wanted to try to copy the image as best as I could. Hence the reason for attacking my metal plates with a chistle.



I then asked for the help of the amazingly kind illustration student Naomi to help me with the painting job. I asked her if it was okay for her to help me make a stencil. I then went for a tea break for 20 minutes. When I come back she said it was all done. Amazing! Love working with the Illustration students, they’re so talented.


I then took it home, made a makeshift spray booth in my shed and got painting.



I decided to try the primer on the backsides of the plates to see the difference. People told me the paint wont stick to the metal, so I wanted to see if primer would help that.

IMG_9970 IMG_9972


I decided to paint the red ‘E’ by hand with a paint brush as I wanted it to be very rough and streaky. Unlike what spray paint would do.

IMG_9975 IMG_9977 IMG_9979

Overlaying the black stencil and painting.



Black and red all done.



Finished product. Happy with it so far!


It is a bit rough and scruffy, but that is what im going for. I want it to be rustic, banger-esk.


Keep in mind this is only my cover for the book. I still need to actually think of an idea for the book. – in the pipeline.

Book idea

I want to make something cool, original and slightly wacky. I am photographing banger racing and garages all on the topic of banger racing. I want to make something industrial rather than an ordinary glue bound book using the chinese machine. Personal touches like the Hoxton book is also what i’m aiming for.


The idea:


I want to make a metal covered book.

Why? I want the cover to replicate and banger car’s boor. Beaten up and scratched just as the real one would. That you also have to unscrew a large bolt to get the book open – replicating the massive bolts on the actual car doors.

How? I’m fairly confident that i’ll be able to put whats in my head onto paper (or metal). The only thing I am going to struggle with is going to be how to bind the book. I have no idea about binding and I dont even know how many pages my book is going to be yet. We’ll get to this hurdle when it comes.

Speaking to Mark and Andrew, they both like the idea of a book that is made of metal that you have to physically unscrew and open in order to see the images inside. I want it to be a challenge, not just an ordinary book. Mark then drew this up to try to get an idea of what I was going for. It gives me more of an idea oh how to bind the book and use it like an actual book.

Photo 08-05-2015 11 32 51 am


On the cover I either want it to replicate the door of the car with some text or sponsors, or for it to replicate the number which is on top of every car. Either way I want it to look like a piece of a car.

I’m going to go to B&Q and see if they have the materials needed to create this. I need Bolts, nuts, metal plates, mesh, primer, spray paint and masking tape.

Hoxton Mini Press

I’ve lived in East London for 86 1/2 years

I picked this book up after Kim had shown us all examples of books in class. I was extremely attracted to the use of binding, the thickness and matte-ness of the paper. I think the paper is really awesome and feels good when you turn the page. I like the way it also gives the images a slightly off black feel in the contrast, makes it feel very film-esk which is really in the loop right now with photographers. The photography in side is also amazing! The portraits are so strong and the story of this man Joseph’s life living in East London for 86 1/2 years. He talks about his life, religion, others, love, art, health and fun. His views on life are very inspiring and makes the viewer question if they have the same beliefs. For example, he talks about how he goes to the Jewish church because he likes the sandwiches. An outstanding insight to his life and how he views life.

I really love the way this book was delivered to me, it came in a cool personalized wrapped up sheet of thin tracing paper with a small Hoxton Mini Press sticker holding it all together.
Photo 06-03-2015 5 13 59 pm


I also love the way there is a personalised thankyou cost card from Ann. It’s a lovely little personalised touch that really makes you glad to have bought the book.

Photo 06-03-2015 5 52 22 pm

The book

I absolutely love this book, and the way it’s layed out. I love the images and framing. I also love the pages every so often with text on a particular topic. They’re really personal to Josephs life and all tell us more about him and his views.

Photo 06-05-2015 11 42 32 am

Photo 06-05-2015 11 43 12 am

Photo 06-05-2015 11 43 28 am


Another thing I really like in this book is also the Font used for the ‘Introduction’ title page.

Photo 06-05-2015 11 43 40 am

Photo 06-05-2015 11 43 57 am

Photo 06-05-2015 11 44 46 am


Its bound in this way, I dont know what way, but I like it.

Photo 06-05-2015 11 45 16 am


Im a fan of the cloth going around a portion of the cover on the front and back.

Photo 06-05-2015 11 45 25 am


I think im going to try to replicate this books style for my own book. I want thick, matte paper and roughly the same size. I’m using this book as my main inspiration for my own book.

(talk about how you want your book to look like this)