By: Maryanna Hatfield
Technology is expanding faster and faster before our very eyes. Not a single day goes by without the introduction of a new piece of technology, aiming to help improve people’s lives—including artists’ lives. Often times these new technologies actually do help people out. For example, in the animation industry, it helped create an all new form of animation: 3D animation. Animating became easier and artists can now achieve amazingly realistic effects. At the same time, technology made it harder for other animators, specifically 2D animators. Due to the power of 3D animation, 2D animation is becoming increasingly nonexistent. Many artists are even having trouble finding work.
But what does this mean for books and bookmaking artists? Is technology helping to improve bookmaking practices or does it end up destroying older, well-loved processes? Before considering this, it is important to first understand what technologies are available for artists in this field.
One new piece of bookmaking technology is bookmaking software, such as Bookwright. Bookwright is a free, “powerful, multi-featured design and layout application for creating photobooks, trade books, magazines and ebooks” (Blurb.com). This program is useful in many ways. Instead of setting type by hand (which is often very tedious, difficult and slow), you can just type onto your computer and adjust the text however you want. If you want to change the type of your book and make it into a magazine or an eBook, you are free to do so. In addition, the program formats your book for you so you have a perfectly formatted book every time. Also, you can print copies of your book at affordable prices with a range of options to choose from, like the quality of the paper. Finally, if you wanted to add something like custom end sheets or foil stamping, that option is available to you as well.
The next piece of technology that’s available for bookmakers is Adobe products like Illustrator and Photoshop. These programs aren’t specifically for bookmakers, but they can definitely be used to help make books. In these programs there is a wide range of tools to create new images on the computer. You can adjust these images by changing the lighting, size and color. You could also adjust the rulers to perfectly align your images and margins. When the images are done, simply print the images on a printer.
The last technology is Aquafadas. Aquafadas is an app where you can upload your already created book and publish it in digital formats including eBooks and PDFs. You only have to “pay when you publish” (Aquafadas.com). You may also add “interactive enrichments” including “video and slideshow capabilities, 360˚ viewing, locations services, games and many more” (Aquafadas.com).
While technology is advancing, book artists should have no fear as it doesn’t appear that these technologies are destroying old bookmaking ways. These technologies, while useful, are still all pretty limited as to what they can do. For example, Bookwright has very limited options in paper type and what kind of embellishments and decorations you can add to your piece. If you wanted to add images or text that is sewn or use kitikata paper, you’re out of luck.
With that being said, if one really wanted to make a handmade book, they would need to make their own books using older tools like bone folders and thread. The only thing that has really changed with the introduction of these new technologies is that there is more of an emphasis on making books digital (but not so much that actual handmade books are becoming obsolete). In fact, with programs like Aquafadas and Bookwright, it is actually becoming easier (and more affordable!) to spread your art and make it more accessible to readers.
Adobe. Adobe, n.d. Web. 2 November, 2015.
Aquafadas. RakutenGroup, n.d. Web. 2 November, 2015.
BookWright. Blurb, n.d. Web. 2 November, 2015