Writing For Artists' Books

Have you ever felt one of your pieces didn't quite live up to your aspirations for it? Or maybe you've been wanting to expand the expressive range of your works. Writing content for your books may be the missing ingredient.

If so, this workshop, Writing For Artists' Books is designed for you.

Many drafts of Don Drake's short story "The Day I Met George" stacked to show a few details at the top of each first page

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Clearing the path

We'll start with the premise that all literate artists are qualified to write by default. And after all, who is better qualified to express your personal artistic vision?

I art therefore I write
    Rene DeC'Art

Writing your own content may feel intimidating. We'll tackle this obstacle head on. We can all learn to—at least—better manage our fears. And with practice we may overcome them.

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Writing = Communicating

While some book art without text may work effectively as a decorative object or sensual wonder, once we start adding words we must confront issues of meaning and communication. How can we transmit our internal experience as artists into meaningful experiences in our audience? How do people construct meaning from sensory experiences?

These are questions you can continue to explore for a lifetime. Together, in class, we'll develop a framework that will serve us in our explorations and experiments together. Once class has ended, you'll be able to evolve this framework to best match your indentity and vision as an artist.

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Tools of the trade

But we'll go far beyond clearing out some minor hurdles and constructing a theoretical framework. Through discussions of the ideas presented in class and exercises to explore the application of the ideas, you'll be given a set of tools and working principles that will serve you in the challenge and adventure of writing for your book-art.

I don't always use words but when I do, I use them in art
    The most interesting you in the world

You're probably familiar with the principle building blocks of visual compositions; point, line, shape, color, and movement. But what are the building blocks that can help you craft effective written content for your books? Together we'll explore a working set and consider how they can guide your writing and design efforts.

Writing content is part of the process. We'll also explore how the book structure, writing and other visual components work together.

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Practice yields progress

The class will run for three days over three weeks. Class time will be devoted to discussions and exercises designed to give you a working familiarity with the new concepts. Homework will give you critical practice using the new ideas as you develop content for your next art work. As part of the activities on the second and third days of class we will discuss your writing and your experience with the writing process.

By the end of class you'll have written at least two drafts of your new work and you'll have a fair plan of how to integrate it into a finished work of art.

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Class overview

Here's an overview of what we'll cover in this class:

  • Consider the value and limitations of typical strategies for developing text content in artist's books
  • Examine the value of a write-first paradigm for book design
  • Explore the conscious and unconscious obstacles to writing content
  • Begin developing strategies to overcome these obstacles
  • Inventory the tools you already have to work with
  • Develop a list of new tools specific to writing for artist's books
  • Explore ideas about consciousness, communication, shared experience and meaning-making that serve as a foundation to writing and art making.
  • Develop principles of design appropriate to written material
  • Create written content for a new work
  • Develop a design plan for a new work containing your writing

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3 Days, 15 hours - $280
Tuesdays, February 21, 28 and March 7, 2017
10 AM - 3 PM each day
Maximum 10 students
At Dreaming Mind, Castro Valley, CA

Day 1 Reading Day 2 Reading Day 3 ReadingConclusion

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Publication details

Last updated: 2017-03-08 | Published:

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