Well, one of the things I've been asked from time to time is, "When will there be a book of paintings?" I've thought about it on and off over the years. My sketchbook was an attempt to test the waters--to get a taste for what's required in terms of design, production, distribution and the like. The waters having been tested, the answer is: not any time soon.
Chiefly, since I live in tiny locations, I simply have no place to warehouse books until they are sold. Another artist friend of mine did a run of 1,000 hardcover books, which easily took 4x the amount of space that my sketchbooks took. That friend had a garage, however. I do not. So, there's the question of storage.
Cost is another issue, of course. Big bookstore chains are closing, and it remains to be seen what the industry will look like 5 years from now. My sketchbook enjoyed limited distribution in places like comic shops and specialty booksellers, but a color book I'd ideally want distributed more widely. There'd also be the multi-thousand dollar outlay required even if I printed in China (I printed my sketchbooks in the good ol' US of A, not that I think anyone cared). You gotta have a plan in place to recoup costs. My friend, illustrator Tom Baxa crowdsourced his book, which was wonderful to watch.
Format is another question. Art books will probably be the last thing to convert to eBooks successfully, but who knows? And if eBooks are successful for art books, who's to say that they'll remain static books? Is the future of Art Books the Art App? I've thought about what such a thing would look like. A buy-once "subscription" to an artbook-style application, with more dynamic content, that gets updated regularly with hi-res images, video or whatever? A lot is in flux, and so I'm happy to wait it out for now. I don't have the money to be an early adopter, though I do like to be at least towards the front of a technological change. I definitely don't want to be a straggler, even though I might not embrace every bit of tech that comes. In the meantime, I keep on painting and creating images so that when a compilation does get released, it's even better than it might have been.
However, for those of you who'd like something to hold you over until whenever, I am happy to provide.
Behold, The Art of Gallegos 2011 Catalog:
It's a small booklet (8.5x5.5") with 14 pages of artwork, reproduced in color. Minus wordy discourses on the art (which a book of mine might have), this is just art, highlighting some of my favorite pieces over the past few years. Ok, the back cover in particular has a little text on it. Couldn't help myself. It features 16 color works and a few small sketches, none of which were in my sketchbook. They've all been on my Portfolio gallery in the past couple of years, so you have an idea of what's included, and it includes a new piece that hasn't been revealed quite yet.
The main purpose of producing this is for promotional client use, in trying to procure assignments from folks in other companies or markets I haven't reached yet. As such, this isn't likely to be an annual production. And if it were, each year would basically have some of the prior year's content recycled, with each year's new highlights added in. Who knows? I'll focus on this one first.
There aren't a ton of the aforementioned potential clients I'll be using this to reach, so the other thing about it is that it's going to be a very small run. Also, the fact that the cover has "2011 Catalog" on it will limit its print run, and that's by intent. So, I figured that this little collectible might be something folks would appreciate until the year the Big One comes, especially those tired of looking at my art on a screen, or who like printed art like I do.
So, I'm also going to make these available for sale. How does $9.99 sound? Short runs are more expensive than big ones, so consider this a boutique item. How about if I sign it for ya? Done! If you really would like a drawing on the inside cover (where I conveniently left over half of it blank in the middle), I could be convinced to do that, too.
I'll basically print as many as I can sell through the year, then carry over a dozen or two beyond for stragglers at events early next year. And then that'll be it, and you'll have to get it on eBay or something. But why be that person? Order one now!