A Diary of a Diary
We have been preparing the Rena Gardiner Holiday Picture Diaries for print, and thought you might like to see some of the processes involved.
The diaries have been out and about … they had a photoshoot in Wimborne, where they were striking suitable flat poses. It took most of a day to photograph the three diaries. A good job done.
The 1962 Diary also had a trip to Sheffield, to visit the wonderful printers Northend, who have a strong history of brilliant book printing.
The purpose of the diary’s visit to Sheffield was to check the original pages against a printers proof for the new book. This was primarily to try and match the colour palette of the new book to the original. Modern computer screens are backlit, and are not reliable in judging how something will look when printed.
We had the opportunity to look around the printing warehouse, where we met this beast, Northend’s first lithographic press. It is now reconfigured to produce die-cut items, as they couldn’t quite bring themselves to let it go – fantastic!
The diaries are aged, with some browning of the paper and some fox marks. Generally they are in excellent condition. But we have to think about how we want to present the books to their new audience. Authentic as they are now? Or looking brand new? We have decided to find a balance between the two, keeping a vintage look, but cleaning the images so they look more as they would have done if new in 1962, rather than 2022.
The originals were also painted to the edge of the pages. When thinking about having something printed, suddenly there are margins for cutting that need to be considered. The last thing we wanted is Rena’s tent being cut out of all of the pictures! So we have had to be quite careful with positioning the images. We wanted to keep the ‘to the edge of the page’ look, as that is how the original work was conceived, and we didn’t want to shrink anything down. Hopefully we have got the balance right.
We have however made a significant change to the cover of the 1962 diary. The original diary had been hand-painted on linen by Rena and was both a bit grubby and faded. It also didn’t have quite enough information on it for a published book cover. We took the decision to recreate the cover, keeping the original design, but making it look a little bit perkier.
The softcover edition is now being printed, with the hardback pages to come next, ready to hand-bind. We are looking forward to the next stage in the new life of Rena’s holiday diary.