Designing for the Device

The hardcover edition of The Sculptor will finally be on sale February 3, 2015. But already, I can see I’ll have a frequently-asked question: “Will there be a digital version?”

It’s a reasonable question, and the short answer is Yes. As far as I know, there’ll be versions available for tablets and other devices. I’m grateful to First Second for standing by me during those five long years while we busted ass to make this the best book we could, and anything that helps them break even sooner is okay by me. Also, if readers are hoping for a more affordable option, I realize that digital sometimes has its advantages.

But on a creative level, I frankly couldn’t care less about any digital repurposing of this one. This book is designed for print and as far as I’m concerned, the paper and ink version will always be the “real” version.

I believe passionately in designing for the device, and in this case, the device was a BOOK. If I was designing for digital, as I have in the past, I would have been just as passionate about taking full advantage of that environment—and just as apathetic about any lazily repurposed print version.

The idea of any artist in any medium feeling they have to castrate their work to suit multiple formats makes me kinda sick. I hated it when newspaper editors/syndicated started requiring strip cartoonists to make an entire third of their Sunday comics disposable. I hated it when movie makers starting avoiding any local idioms or a strong sense-of-place for international markets. I hate it when webcomics embrace shitty online formats for the sake of future print collection—or vice versa.

I spent years talking about the limitations of print. With The Sculptor, I was able to finally work within those limitations knowingly and create something I hope benefitted from that tension and strained against those limits in a creative and interesting way. In only 6 weeks, I hope my readers find that struggle worthwhile, and I hope they’ll have that experience with a book in their hands.

Discussion (14)¬

  1. Looking forward to it.

  2. Anne Belov says:

    Looking forward to it. I have always been a fan of print, and working digitally is merely a shameless ploy to gain readers for my print work. Oh, and if I haven’t mentioned it before, you are a god. No, really.

  3. Sounds like you’re definitely on the right path with The Sculptor. Can’t wait to read it.

  4. tam says:

    Can you explain more about the sunday comics?

    • Scott says:

      At some point, cartoonists creating sunday strips for newspapers were compelled to make their strips in such a way that editors could simply cut out the first third of the strip to save room. It meant that those first few panels could be nothing more than a set-up for the gag—filler, basically, instead of an integral part of the work.

  5. Just pre-ordered a signed copy via Barnes & Noble!

  6. Dymphna says:

    Wow, I really can’t wait for this!!!You are such an amazing artist. I hope printed versions will never leave this planet. Just the smell and the way paper feels makes its so much nicer. Will there be a signed bookplate with the HC edition too? Im a HC-fan 😉
    Thanks a lot, and enjoy your own wonder!

  7. Adam says:

    Wow, that book is a BEAST! Can’t wait!

  8. EMTonner says:

    And… ordered.

  9. Mark S says:

    Scott, Glad to see that you are back posting on your blog. I got out of the habit of checking in to see what you were up to because of your hibernation. When I saw the movie of “The Sculptor” and the size of the book, I am surprised that you are not still in hibernation. I look forward to reading it. Welcome back!