Friday, June 01, 2007

Book Designer: Chad Beckerman

Excellent interview with Chad Beckerman about the role and responsibilities of an associate art director.

I knew I loved his book designs (The Last Apprentice) but it was fun to learn Beckerman is a kindred spirit. He is a book smeller!

At the end of a project you get to hold onto something you helped make, that is so rewarding. I think that's something that is sort of archaic now a days but it's kind of great. This might sound odd but the first thing I do when I get a new book in from the printer is I smell it. There is nothing quite like smelling the fruits of your labor. The fresh ink can give you a headache. But it’s a great feeling. Much more rewarding than candy.

I love cracking open a box of new books, admiring the pristine covers, then fanning the pages to the middle of a book and smelling that glorious fragrance, that bouquet of ink and fresh paper.

6 comments:

cloudscome said...

I know what you mean. But I actually like the smell of old books better. It sounds odd written out here but old books from the Easy section in the library or a first grade classroom... the ones where hundreds of young children have turned the pages so earnestly, laboring over the sounding out and laughing at the pictures... It brings back kool-aid and PB&J sandwiches in that old tree house of ours... KWIM?

Erin said...

New-book smell is the best smell in the world. :)

Stephen Tiano said...

Funny, I just commented on another blog entry, and I mentioned that there's something special about the smell of a new book--especially if you were involved in the design and/or production of it.

Myself, I'm not an art director or illustrator. My design extends as far as figuring how placing an author's words on the page--and, indeed, deciding what kind of pages to place words on: size, shape, containing what typefaces. My art is getting and getting out without too much notice--that is, the author and illustrator are center stage, not me.

But I never tire of hearing how other book designers and layout artists view their craft. One thing's for sure, making a book is every bit as satisfying as working with wood or clay.

Stephen Tiano
http://www.tianodesign.com/blog

Camille said...

Stephen --
That is another very interesting aspect of the design process to me. As a librarian I see how the amount of white space on the page, the size of the margins, the readability of the type, and the beauty of its placement on the page can make or break a story for kids.

Personally, I am always intrigued by the names of the typefaces at the end of a book. Sometimes I just want to know the history of the name and the design.

CW said...

Thanks for the post. I do love a good smelling book.

I am hoping to start interviewing book professional soon on my blog. It is my hope that i will be able to use the Blog as a teaching tool fo those who want to knowa little bit about children's design.

CW said...

Oh, to see some smelly books click here to go to


chadwbeckerman.com