I’m very proud to announce the release of my new self-initiated publication, ‘No Bulb in My Lamp’, a 200 page book documenting ten years of observational sketches.
In 2004, for a one week experiment, I started documenting aspects of my everyday life in an A6 sketchbook. I annotated each sketch with a brief caption to record my thoughts, taking care to keep these captions ambiguous – two or three short lines maximum whose role was to add context without ever over-explaining the scenario.
Within a week, that whole initial book was filled (with drawings on both sides of the paper) and I resolved to just keep going... Ten years and many, many more sketchbooks later, the project is still progressing. Each month six of the latest entries are shared on my website (which you can see here) - but others have remained unseen in the archive until now.
Witty and playful observations sit alongside moments of self doubt and melancholy in the book, to create a celebration of beauty in mundanity - a collection of found moments which reflect my surroundings yet collectively create, I hope, a kind of self portrait.
The idea for a book version of the diary is almost as old as the project itself. Only a couple of months into producing the drawings, I started making little hand-folded themed ‘zine’ style collections of pages. Eight years ago, too, I first started making tentative enquiries with printers as to the possible cost of creating a more ambitious compendium of sketches.
Having as I did such a strong, long held vision for this book, I decided to self-publish it. I had previously published two smaller edition handmade books (‘Numbers’ 2009 & ‘Peter Andre Saliva Tree’ 2011) under the banner of my own ‘Overdrawn Press’, both of which benefited from their association with designers Anthony Sheret and Edd Harrington, aka award-winning design agency The Entente. For this book, they would provide the design expertise and printing know-how that it needed to emerge as a beautiful coffee table book.
The design process kicked off more than a year ago – and involved the painstaking job of combing through the archive to make a list of potential images, which were then scanned and printed – before a running order and finally a physical flat-plan was achieved.
Meanwhile I raised funds for the book by doing a month long Kickstarter campaign. You can still view the page and wonderful supporting video (directed by Nic de Jesus) here. It was a nail-biting month but I was delighted and amazed to achieve my full target amount.
We pressed ahead with design and proofing through the summer, my sense of anticipation and excitement (mixed, I’ll admit, with more than a little nervousness) growing each week. We received scatter proofs and Ozalid proofs and Fold and Gather proofs… before eventually I got to see advance copies in early September. It was quite a mind-blowing moment, to eventually hold in my hand this thing I’d been planning all those years.
The full shipment of 1600 books (that’s an edition of 1500, plus 100 for press and display purposes) arrived in a shipment from overseas last month. I was warned the delivery would be too heavy for a domestic address, it would go through the floorboards. 40 boxes, each one weighing 20 kilograms, now all reside safely in a storage lock-up in Fishersgate. All I have to do is sell them.
I recently completed the mammoth task of posting out over 200 copies of the book to my amazingly generous Kickstarter backers; this done, I feel I am safe to announce the book’s release. It is available on my websiteshop here at a price of £15, which includes free P&P for UK orders. I’m incredibly proud of it! (don’t just take my word for it though – here’s what a reviewer on Good Reads had to say about it.)
More info on the official launch events coming in the next couple of days…