The Exquisite Book Project: A Big Announcement and Sneak Peek!

Happy New Year everyone! I couldn’t wait to start off the year with a huge announcement I have been dying to share for months. For the past year and a half, Jenny, Matt (my ALSO partners) and I have been working on curating/authoring/designing a new art book called The Exquisite Book which will be published by Chronicle Books this fall!

We are so excited to have Dave Eggers of the popular McSweeney’s, 826 Valencia program and screenwriter for Where the Wild Things Are contributing an illustrated introduction to our book!! We have always been inspired by his work and are so thrilled he will be involved in our book.

The book idea is loosely based on the game started by the Surrealists in the 1920′s called the Exquisite Corpse. Our version is played by 100 contemporary artists, illustrators, designers and comic artists.

Here is how our project is set up: There are ten groups of ten artists participating in the process. Each artist is contributing one page to the book. The first artist was given a few words to inspire their drawing. Each of the following artists saw only the page that immediately precedes their own. Each artist is using images (and optionally, words) to create their continuation to the story, and the inspiration for the next artist in line.

Besides continuing the story of the last artist, there is another, more visual, connection between the pages. Each artist has a horizon line in their image that starts on the left side of the page and ends on the right. Where the horizon line of the first artist’s page ends, is where it begins for the next artist. (The horizon line part has been very loose and it has been exciting to see how everyone interprets it.)

We set up a simple website to help us organize and schedule all of the artists. You can check it out here. We have an incredible line up of illustrators, fine artists, designers, and comic artists which you can check out in the Artists section. Many of them are artists I have written about on the blog so you should see some familiar names. We picked artists who we felt were good storytellers so that hopefully when the book was complete it would read as ten short visual stories.

The best part about this book was that it was a complete experiment. With most art books, the artwork that goes into it is curated, hand picked by the authors. Since each artist made an original piece for the book we didn’t know what we were going to get. It was really exciting to see how each artist interpreted the last artist’s page and reacted to it. Sometimes it’s really literal, the characters and ideas are carried to the next page. Other times the artists reacted to color or an overall feeling they get from the last page.

At this point we are just finishing up the final design files to send to Chronicle. We have also nailed down our cover, which was probably the hardest part of designing the book. (I will share more about that another time)

Below I am sharing a peek into the book- four continuous pages from one of the groups. From left to right they were made by artists Mike Perry, Camilla Engman, Lab Partners, and Nick Dewar.


As the publication date gets closer I will be sharing more and more into the book and the process of working on it. Hope you’ll be as excited as we are about it!

Image on homepage is some of the many sketches for the title page.


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