Today the book was on press – meaning all the separate sheets of pages are being printed off, ahead of trimming, binding and finishing next week. I’ve been working with Swallowtail Print in Norwich to get the book printed, who have been extremely helpful. Mike Dawson over there offered for me to come and have a look at the book being printed – here’s some pictures!


Cover paper

Here’s a big stack of paper for the book’s cover. We’re printing 2,000 copies, they’ll get about 3 full covers out of each sheet.

Book plates

These are the aluminium book plates – this book is being printed in the standard 4-colour process – a mix of cyan (blue), magenta (red), yellow and black inks are combines in various quantities to make every colour required for the book. They fit around 6 pages to a plate, and for each page there will be one plate for each of the four colours. I think this is the blue plate for some of the first pages – so some of the panels have a lot of ink (those with lots of blue in) and some have hardly any – i.e. pages that are blank, or panels that are mostly red or yellow.

Book plates on press

This is one of the plates loaded on the press. It will slide down into the machine and fit around a big roller, which then transfers the design onto another roller before it gets applied to the page. There may be additional rollers I’ve forgotten about. Ink gets basically poured in at the top.

Book plates

Plates stacked up ready for use

Ali helped with this page

This is probably my wife Ali’s favourite page, because she drew part of it. I won’t tell you which bit.

The press

This is the press – actually the smaller of the two presses they use, although it still seems pretty hefty to me. You can see several aisles along it for each of the separate colours – so in each aisle there is a set of rollers and a plate loaded. The rollers do their rolling, and the paper passes underneath picking up colour as it goes. Then it shoots out of the end, but for some reason they have it collected neatly in a pile rather than blasting out all over the floor.

A professional

This is Mike, surveying a day’s work with unfeigned satisfaction.

Happy Dans

If you can ignore a touch of blurriness, you will see two happy Dans here. One is Dan the printer, who is doing an excellent job, and the other is Dan the illustrator (me!) who is extremely excited.

This is a video – it’s like a picture, but it moves!

Checking colours

Mike and Dan checking the colours to make sure it lines up with what they’re expecting it to look like. It’s one thing to see what you’ve drawn on screen, and quite another to see it on paper. It’s immensely comforting to see that it looks how I expect it to, and that my monitor hasn’t just been terribly adjusted all this time!