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      News — Process

      The Library as Influence

      One of the most popular things we've ever published--The Come Along Weekly Planner by Lart C. Berliner--was inspired by a scroll we saw in the Ehon exhibit at the New York Public Library. In 1767, a monk named Daiten and his artist friend Jakuchu took a one-day boat journey, sketching impressions and writing poetry as they traveled down the Yodo River on the way to Osaka. Wishing to share what they'd done with their friends, they combined Jakuchu's 15 sketches and Daiten's 22 poems into a continuous printed scroll, which at that time was a new print format.

      Mountains colored high and low... Digital ID: 1500975. New York Public Library

      a section of the scroll from the Ehon exhibit at NYPL (image from nypl.com)
      translation: "Mountains colored high and low, pale mist far off; people’s dwellings here and there, kitchen smoke nearby"

      For the Come Along, since our design for the planner was short and wide and had lots of long space to put art, we liked that idea of having a long continuous drawing that went from page to page creating a landscape and world over a series of pages as you go through your year. So over a month or so, Lart created a 64-foot long colored pencil drawing on paper posted along the walls of her apartment in Berlin.

      LO44 Come Along planner inside

      an example spread from the Come Along planner

      Later on she made an amazing map showing the whole drawing on one page, but the original files were lost. Luckily we still had a low-res version and were able to make a postcard out of it.


      the Come Along Postcard by Lart

      VeganMoFo: proofs and potatoes

      We're one step closer to getting Jo and Martine's books printed! We looked over the physical proofs last week and they are on their way back to the printer. We are really looking forward to seeing the finished products, but in the meantime, we'll share a little peek at Jo's book, Quietly Sure-Like the Keeper of a Great Secret (LO80). Here's the proof of the cover...

      We worked really hard to set the right tone with the cover and Jo came up with the great idea of using silhouettes of her characters. We don't want to give away too much of the book, but she was really able to capture a sense of and introduce the stories with this cover and deserves kudos for it. Like I said, we don't want to ruin the beauty of reading the book for the first time, but here are a few pages to whet your appetite (the pages will be printed in a favorite blue Pantone color).

      Speaking of appetite (ah, what a corny transition to VeganMoFo--only 5 more posts to go!), we finally made it out to St. John's and the much ballyhooed Proper Eats. While we were slightly worried that it would be pretty hippie fare, and the seating behind the small grocery did not really allay those fears, the food was surprisingly tasty. I guess it was still hippie in the sense that it was healthy, but there was a lot more nuance to the shephard's pie special that I ordered than I expected. It had a delicious miso gravy and was well paired with kale and shredded veggies. I don't know that I would make a special trek to go out there just to eat, but if we were in the neighborhood, there are definitely more dishes that I'd like to try.

      VeganMoFo: books and pasta and cats

      Taking a breather from book work. I think we have just about wrapped up Jo's book (the cover just needs a tiny bit of tweaking before we're officially done) and Martine kicked ass and turned in an awesome mini-book of drawings that will be printed on the same sheets. It's titled "Water And Fall" just to give you a teaser. We're super stoked to be getting these turned in for release next month.

      All this jamming to finish has kept me up late. I know I need to catch up on sleep when I've been up to hear the 3am broadcast of Morning Edition more than once this week. Needless to say, we've kept the cooking pretty simple. We don't get meatballs too often, but we just happened to and they were great crumbled up in this tomato pasta dish. I guess it was kind of like beef-a-roni (forgot about that stuff--used to have the real thing in grade school lunch).

      On a food and cats note, there's a fundraiser dinner at Sweetpea Bakery next Saturday for House of Dreams, a non-profit no-kill shelter. There is a ridiculous amount of outdoor cats here in Portland, which is not good for them or for birds. All the same, they do make for cute pictures when you find one on your garage.

      Vol 3 Mini is here!

      We just got our shipment of Volume 3 minis this afternoon and they turned out awesome! We're just about sold out of Vol 1 minis, so it's nice to have a new mini option. All the greatness of the bigger version packed in a smaller punch.

      Keeping it short as I've got lots of bookkeeping to attend to, but my VeganMoFo thought for the day is soup. This week has really turned on the chill in the air, and as much as I like fall leaves and don't care much for heat, I've apparently been spoiled by summer and am not particularly pleased that I have to put on more than a t-shirt and hoody. It would help if I weren't sitting next to an old window which barely serves as a barrier between me and the outdoors. It's going to be a long winter...

      Threw together a light broth soup last night with some tomatoes, beans, mushrooms, onions, carrots, broccoli, celery, chard, ginger, rice noodles, tamari, and brown rice vinegar. Was thinking of Vietnamese(?) sweet and sour soup with tomatoes and cilantro, but got nowhere near that. It was still pretty good.

      Jo and Mom

      Been juggling work on Jo's book (it's awesome!) and a short visit from my mom. Spent the weekend formatting Jo's pages and it was so cool to re-read her stories page by page, coming all together as a whole, and seeing how they build and parallel and intersect. We're super excited about it! She sent us her mock-up yesterday (even better getting to flip physical pages), along with some really great little gifts (L, O, shell, and maybe it was just for wrapping, but loved her screen printed tissue paper). Thanks Jo! You can get a sneak preview of what the title page will be like.

      So the book's just about done, but had to put off wrapping it up completely while Mom's in town. We tooled around, dropped by to see 2 Sarah's (Lart & Kramer), and ate. Today we were downtown and had lunch at Blossoming Lotus. We walked in and saw some very yummy looking food just served to someone's table and it looked so good, I had to try it. It being the live pasta marinara. I don't know what makes it live (how does that differ from raw?) and I'm usually a cooked food fan, but it was damn tasty. Zucchini ribbon pasta with cherry tomatoes, spinach, pine nuts, live marinara sauce, and basil cashew cheese. I'm really glad I went out on a limb. Beat my mom's hummus wrap by ten-fold.

      We crossed the street afterward and treated ourselves to a little bit of chocolate. Don't think we'll be making that splurge again, but it was good. Black currants and strawberry. Some Sweetpea Bakery treats to follow tomorrow. So much for eating healthily.