Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Art Books - One Publisher Needs a Kick up The Derrière

I've been sitting here trying to work out how to broach this subject diplomatically and it hasn't been easy.  I don't want to hurt the artists/authors, but one particular publisher needs a good swift kick up the derrière!  This company just doesn't seem to care about the quality of the art reproductions in their books and other sister publications.

Looking at the layout of this post, which could have a bearing on my credibility as a critic on this subject, one could be forgiven for thinking this blogger was under the influence of something illicit.  Not so.  Please blame the eccentricities of the blogger software which imposes many strange constraints for those of us who couldn't care a fig about learning HTML or CSS!

Who am I to criticize a publishing house?

 a). Well, firstly, and most importantly I am a consumer who is parting with hard earned cash to purchase their inferior products.
b).  I do know quite a bit about publishing of print media having been an A grade journalist, and magazine editor for most of my life.
c).  I once tore up a lucrative three book contract because I didn't like the proposed quality of the books.  If I had just been an author and not an editor, I would not have thought to ask for final say on quality of the publications.
d). I'm a painter and my heart bleeds when I see the art work of others being reproduced unjustly.

I've just received a swag of delicious art books and one of them, at first glance and without digesting the text, has me bitterly disappointed and scratching my head because the title did not match the content. It is a book all about light-filled landscapes and the glowing colours different light conditions can generate. With only one or two exceptions, the pictures of the art work in this book are dark, dull, dreary and lifeless.

I thought there surely was something wrong when an artist was writing all about these topics and the work illustrated was so far off the mark. What right did this artist have to preach about creating stunning, glowing landscapes when their work was so dull?


I went to this artist's website and had a look at the paintings there. What a difference! He/she does produce glowing, light-filled paintings. How devastated he/she must have been when they saw the colour reproductions in the book. I have the second edition of this book and wonder what the reproduction in the first edition was like? Was it as bad? I'll now read it cover to cover and try to keep in mind the artwork I saw on this author's web site and not that shown in the book.

Maybe it is just my copy that is off? Anyone else struck this problem?

 Pull Up Your Socks Mr. Publisher! 

I just pulled another book off my shelf that that I've had for ages, which deals with the same topic of depicting light and glowing colour in a painting.  This one is by the same publisher and it too has illustrations that look as if they are trying to depict the black hole of Calcutta! They are dark, dull and lifeless.  Poor, poor artist/authors.  It must be heartbreaking for you.

This is just not good enough!  Sloppy production of a book is unforgiveable and sloppy production of the paintings in an art book is almost a crime!  So much work goes in to writing a book, and preparing examples including step by step art work.  It is time this publisher got their act together and played fair with their authors.

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