Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Eyeball scrawls: designing the Flashtag Quickies anthology

If you were to judge our first book by its cover, you'd expect pages of purple prose.

What you see above right is Quickies, a collection of smutty stories produced by my writing group #flashtag and numerous other writers. It was truly a group effort, but the final production fell into my hands. I'd never designed a book before. Google was my teacher.

Once the book was edited (by Words & Fixtures), I typeset the insides. This was a time-consuming and detailed job that became rather addictive. I started to think in fonts: kerning the words spoken from my mouth.

The cover was more difficult. #flashtag wanted something feather-y. I collected feathers. They surrounded my writing desk, travelled with me attached to my rucksack on holiday. I camped in a field in which I'd once caught a feather that was falling off a bird. I tarred and feathered myself.

And then I drew a feather (above left). One draft, one chance to express my inner featherness. Everything I believed about feathers poured into that sketch. I truly became the feather.

As you can see, typesetting sent my brain a bit strange.

A bit of photoshop fun later, and we have a book. And there's nothing purple about the prose inside.

Please come to the launch of the Quickies anthology, held as part of Didsbury Arts Festival, next Wednesday, September 28th. Copies of the book will be on sale on the evening. Get there early, because capacity is limited. Expect blatant rudeness and a take on smuttiness that drags adult literature by the dangly bits and plonks it firmly into the 21st century.

Photo: Do A Barrell Roll

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