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.