Do you ever use a computer?

Computers are used in the production, but not in the creation of my books. Creating pictures is essentially the same as it has been for hundreds of years, the same as it was for the cave painters.

Until recently, I assembled my collage pictures on art board. On an overlay sheet, I would specify the type face and size and how it would be placed on the page. I would send this to my publisher. Then the typographers would set the type and printers print the book.

But now I have a big computer in my studio and when I am ready to do the final design for the book, I sit at the computer with Motoko, my assistant. First we lay out the pages to combine the pictures and the text. Then I choose the type face for the text. When we are through, the whole book—the jacket, end sheet, title page, pictures and story — is transferred onto a disc, and it goes to the publisher and then to the printer.

Working with the computer has made me aware of other possibilities for its use. For instance, we’re considering scanning and storing all my painted tissue papers into the computer. It would then be possible for me to cut and assemble a collage on the computer screen. The mouse would becomes the scissors and the glue. If I were to illustrate a bird, for example, I could pick out the No. 33 green for the bird’s wings and use the mouse to “cut” it out and “paste” it down. And then I might choose the No. 30 red for the beak and do the same thing until the bird is finished.

I’m still old fashioned and computers may be foreign for me, but I am intrigued. It’s my next “terra incognita,” my unexplored territory. Ask me again in a of couple years.

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