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A flipping nightmare


This is a story about the making of my first flip-book, an edition of 20 finally completed and sent with other works to a gallery today.  I hadn’t made a flip-book  before but lots of people make these so it cant be too difficult can it? Well if Claude is making it it can be very difficult indeed! the following story is possibly quite  boring  but if you want evidence of  how complicated i make my life..and a sense of just how much time can go into a small project like this then read on..

First I drew the images on a pad of tracing paper so that could see each stage below. Then i scanned these images but found that they were not clear when i opened them on my computer. So then i spent hours photoshopping them and finally printed a test book at home. I wasn’t happy with  the page size so then I resized all images to make a smaller flip book.  Then i realised i wasn’t happy with how dark and contrasty the images were after i had photoshopped them. It didnt do the drawings justice, so i decided to make an entirely different flip book out of hand made paper dolls. I made the dolls and created a light landscape background for the animation. Then came the week of being really sick with a nasty flu during which time i shot the animation little by little when i had enough energy. Later when i loaded all the photos onto computer i noticed that the camera had moved further and further out of frame as the sequence moved along. Frustrated, i shot the sequence again and then reformatted them and created a lay out for a flip book and numbered all 128 pages.  I liked this animation but finally  realised that it was too much action in too short an amount of time for a flip book. It was too few frames per second. Argh..So what to do? Well , redraw some of the key images from the first flip-book and run with that I decided. And while i am at it , i may as well make a sequence of pencil/collage drawings from the flip-book on good paper in case the gallery want to exhibit these alongside the book. So i made the drawings and photographed them and then gave them to Artunit gallery first as they had considered exhibiting some. Anyway they decided my 3 Corpus coop sculptures filled the space enough and posted the 21 drawings back to me. Good, i could send these drawings with the book project to the other gallery as planned i thought. Only problem was that the drawings didn’t arrive after a couple of days despite the fact they were only journeying from Haarlem – less than 2 hours away from the residency here in Den Bosch. Well i had to hope they would arrive and focus on the book as time was fast evaporating. So i had to figure out how to lay out my images with bleed and crop marks for the printer- simple graphic design skills that i didn’t have and i didn’t have “Indesign” – the widely recommended program for this. I honestly do not know how long i spent on this but it required way too much time and plenty of frustration…even exasperation. Finally, with the help of another artist here, i figured out how to do it using a combo of illustrator and photoshop at around 3am one morning.

Next i took it to a local print place to be test printed. The guy who assisted me was one of those unfortunate people who seem unable to smile and he gave the distinct impression that he really couldn’t give a donkey’s ass about my flip-book  or his job for that matter. He did a test print and it was way too dark.  I was not happy. He said if i came back that he could calibrate the printer or some such to produce a more desirable result and then charged me a stupid amount of money and said if i came back to print the edition that this fee would be taken out of the overall cost. Fat chance i was going back there! So had to find a good printer and one of the designers here recommended a place in Eindhoven. Great. Only problem now was that after seeing the test print from the first dude with attitude,  i had decided i wasn’t really happy with the size of the book ..again. I had gone from too big to too small and needed an in-between size so had to reformat and do the design lay out again. Oh and really had to add a few more pages too so this meant re-numbering the pages!! OMG!!

Meanwhile over a week had passed and the sequence of  drawings had still not returned from Artunit much to our mutual  distress. So there was nothing for it but to redraw the sequence. Another long day running into  early the next morning.

Tired and stressed i finally had a product ready for print and the printer in Eindhoven proved to be a wonderfully place. Great people and great service. Finally i was happy with the printed outcome. But the story does not stop there…there was drilling , sewing and binding to be done…suffice to say that its all done and i am at last happy with the finished product.

The sequence of 21 drawings arrived from Haarlem one and a half weeks later so i now have 2 sets!

Heres one of the images from the book. Have been trying to upload the animation of it to no avail ( no surprise!)


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