Bringing art to life
October 31, 2022
This week Transcript Publishing brought a new publication into existence.
My sister, Victoria, is an artist. Ever since she was a little girl, she has drawn and painted and brought things to life with her imagination.
Recently, she drew a series (26 in total) of sketches related to witches, and then she brought me her sketchbook with a project in mind. She wanted me to publish her sketches into a coloring book she could launch just in time for Halloween.
Welcome "Witch, Please!" to the list of published works I am proud to have played a part in publishing. It was made available to the public on Oct. 25, one week before Halloween. Just. In. Time.
Victoria and I worked, and learned, in tandem to make this a reality. She learned how to use Adobe Illustrator, a popular design software, to turn her own sketches into graphic art that can be reproduced.
In turn, I learned how to use the vintage guillotine paper cutter in the production room of the Carrington office. It was there that Mr. Allen Stock taught me how to expertly trim the edges from each bound book. This is one of the more tedious, yet necessary steps to ensure a professional look.
Yes, I hand-trimmed those 50 coloring books. Then Victoria took them back home to West Fargo, and she autographed every single one with a purple permanent marker.
We publish. It's what we do here at Transcript Publishing. We bring not only our own printed works to readers each week, but we help other artists bring their work to life.
Every week artists bring you great articles and columns to read in the newspaper. "The History of New Rockford," written by NRHS alum Ken Gardener, is a weekly installment in the "New Rockford Transcript" that takes us back to our pioneer days, name-dropping folks from all walks of life and recounting their comings and goings. Patricia Stockdill of Garrison writes the weekly "Dakota Recreation Report" that appears in both newspapers. If you want to know where the fish are biting (or not), or soon which snowmobile trails are groomed, this is your go-to weekly update on the state of the outdoors in North Dakota.
Beyond the newspaper, we print and produce a variety of things each week. We've printed manuscripts for authors, photo prints and postcards for photographers, and even printed someone's painting onto a t-shirt.
My experience publishing dates back more than 20 years. As a college student, I created and printed cookbooks containing my mom's favorite recipes. From the lipstick pink cover and sky blue index pages to the black comb binding, it's a relic of my past. I used my copy of that cookbook until the binding gave away. Now the time-worn and coffee-stained pages are stuffed inside a 3-ring recipe binder; the recipes are still intact (for the most part), but it's well past time for the second edition.
I learned a lot about publishing when I completed that project. Typing hand-written recipes is time-consuming. Period.
Every publisher needs a proofreader. Every time I flip to the page with the meatloaf recipe, I chuckle. Instead of ⅔ cup, I typed three cups of oatmeal. I'm reminded of the time when I actually made that recipe with three cups of oatmeal, and my brothers decided it was more fun to throw at one another than it was to eat it. My dad managed to choke it down and tell me it tasted just fine. Readers, I assure you it didn't taste fine.
The materials you use are important, and attention to detail is paramount. When I printed this coloring book for my sister, I got help from a supplier to perforate the pages so each drawing can easily be removed from the book and displayed.
I also produced a book recounting the history of the Performing Arts Series at Minnesota State University Moorhead while in college. I still have a copy of that book in my desk drawer at home, and I flipped through it for the first time in a while this morning. I remembered the many hours I spent at the flatbed scanner, working hard to ensure that I got the best quality image I could from decades of playbills and posters.
The technology is way better now than it was in 2002. If I were to go back and do this project again, the images would no doubt be much crisper and clearer. They would be crisp and clear like the images and text in "Witch, Please."
My sister and I have quite different personalities. Anyone who knows us both will tell you that. What we have in common, however, is our love for the arts. I am a writer, and she is an illustrator. We are sisters of the arts. I am grateful for this opportunity to connect with her. I find that connecting is easy with a shared goal as tangible as a published work.
Happy Halloween! On Monday, I'll be in Carrington. Before they knew about this coloring book project, Leasa and Lori told me I should dress up as a witch with them. Although I haven't dressed up in costume for years, it seems fitting for the occasion. So I will, in observance of both the holiday and the coloring book launch. There will be candy in both Carrington and New Rockford, for all the trick-or-treaters of any age.