Going to Press

Wednesday, 14th September 2005

colour strip

colour press

It's a big day for us, after months - in fact, after years - of work we've been invited to our printers, the Amadeus Press in Cleckheaton, to see the first of the colour sheets of my garden sketchbook Rough Patch go through the press. As we drive there I feel such a mixture of anticipation and anxiety although I know all I will have to do is say 'that looks great! - go ahead.'

It seems strange that the drawings, made in small sketchbooks in the back garden over the years with no thought of publication (other than in this internet diary, for many of them) are now there on the set of four printing plates on this huge offset litho press.

Rough Patch

offset litho pressAs I expected, after all the care that has been taken in getting the book ready for print, the quality of the printing is immaculate, both the colour and the black and white. The drawings have so much texture and life in them, as if they're coming off the page. I feel that watercolours can be difficult to print, because of the subtlety of the thin washes of colour, but they've got exactly the character of a watercolour in a sketchbook. There's springiness and inkiness in the pen and ink drawings.

stack of pagesPrinting on such a large press gives astonishing precision in the registering of the three colours - cyan, magenta, yellow - and black that the process uses.

The stack of black and white pages (left), which have already been printed, is the size of a desk. A print run of 4,000 copies sounds quite modest but one thousand 160 page A5 paperbacks would make a stack the size of a large washing machine, so this is the most ambitious project we've ever taken on as a Willow Island Editions publication.

It's exciting, if a little daunting! But it's going to be a great little book. Not so much little, at 160 pages, I think it will have a satisfying chuckiness to it.

I can't show you how good it looks on a 72 dots per inch screen so make sure you get your hands on a copy. Who knows, with a print run of only 4,000 the first edition might become a collectors item! Hope to have bound copies by the beginning of October. Next Page

colour strip


Hart & Clough: the Amadeus Press is the book printing side of the print group.

Willow Island Editions

Richard Bell, richard@willowisland.co.uk