Category Archives: Publishing

ISSUU – First impressions

I’ve heard about ISSUU from reading other magazines and brochures published using their platform. My most recent encounter was in the form of UPPERCASE magazine (of which later). I got my grubby hands on a hard copy of Issue 21 of UPPERCASE just the other day, and the quality of the paper and layout are superb. Sure it’s rather pricey, but UPPERCASE is, like most ISSUU magazines, an independent production and has a small (but growing) subscription.

So impressed have I been by this that I’m now contemplating publishing my own magazine on mobile photography art. I haven’t figured out the technicalities of doing this yet, but that’s another story.

From ISSUU’s website http://www.issuu.com

Rediscover reading
With over 15 million publications, Issuu is the fastest growing digital publishing platform in the world. Millions of avid readers come here every day to read the free publications created by enthusiastic publishers from all over the globe with topics in fashion, lifestyle, art, sports and global affairs to mention a few. And that’s not all. We’ve also got a prominent range of independent publishers utilizing the Issuu network to reach new fans every day.

Created by a bunch of geeks with an undying love for the publishing industry, Issuu has grown to become one of the biggest publishing networks in the industry. It’s an archive, library and newsstand all gathered in one reading experience.

The statistics:
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Signing up was easy. I chose to do it via my email address, but you can also sign in using Google+, Facebook or LinkedIn.

The user interface is very similar to that of Pinterest and Flipboard. You start out by selecting a few publications to follow. Then you can save your favourites to “Stacks”. Magazines can be read online for FREE, but you can also buy hard copies from good newsagents worldwide.

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As you can tell from the photo above, I could start my own magazine online straightaway. But I won’t right now…instead I’ll check out some of the publications and assess them for quality of print and clarity of images.

My first magazine is the Maxwell & Williams “Joie de Vivre” 2014 catalogue. (I ♥ Maxwell & Williams teacups. My birthday is on 1st July. Just sayin’). With all ISSUU online publications, you can enlarge the pages to zoom in on text and images. Depending on how each publication was set up, the quality of enlargement may vary. (UPPERCASE wouldn’t zoom in enough for me to read the text clearly, which is why I had to resort to buying a hard copy).

Here are some screenshots from the Maxwell & Williams catalogue. (I have the red teacup and saucer already, ahem!)

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And here are some screenshots of UPPERCASE magazine issue no.21. You can see how the text is blurry and pixellated upon zooming in.

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That said, so far, the quality of ISSUU’s publications has been on the whole impressive. I can see myself getting lost in a world of fresh magazines. Have I said you can read them online for Free? I haven’t started any “Stacks” yet, but when I do, and when I start investigating how to publish my own magazine, I shall write and let you know, of course.

Posted from WordPress for Android.

http://www.alyzenmoonshadow.wix.com/alyzenmoonshadow

Information about Art Licensing

I’m subscribed to Joan Beiriger’s blog about Art Licensing. Joan has done her research and she knows her stuff, so I’m going to post it here so YOU know too! If you haven’t subscribed to Joan’s blog already, run, don’t walk! It’s a real treasure trove of information, resources, links, contacts, further reading etc.

Joan’s most recent post is about SURTEX and art licensing resources. My advice to you is to read Joan’s post slowly and click on all the links she’s mentioned. They must be important to warrant hyperlinking. Who knows, following Joan’s advice could lead to a licensing deal for you. I’m most certainly going to be spending a good hour or two on her post here:

Joan Beiriger : Art Licensing Resources

If you happen to live in the USA, congratulations, lucky you! Hurry on along to SURTEX and similar shows and make a beeline for the courses and workshops Joan has mentioned. It’s so much easier if things are right on your doorstep and you don’t have to travel far to get there. Don’t let the opportunity slip by! Meanwhile, I shall be saving up the $$$$ it will cost me to fly halfway round the world to get to such events…and keep plugging away online with the hope some big company will notice me! It’s unfortunate that such things don’t appear to exist where I live, in Western Australia.

Posted from WordPress for Android.

http://www.alyzenmoonshadow.wix.com/alyzenmoonshadow

Artist Inspiration – SIBELLA COURT

Sibella Court claims to be part Gypsy, part Pirate. I think she’s a magpie, a magnificent, multicoloured, majestic magpie (not your usual black and white one). A collector of ephemera with a keen eye for detail and the esoteric. A dealer of trinkets, a world traveller with unlimited baggage allowance. A glittering jewel in the crown of some long-ago fairytale Princess. A writer extraordinaire whose books bend genres and deserve a shelf of their own in bookstores.

Sibella has written numerous books on styling and collecting. It was her book “NOMAD” that first brought her to my attention. Here was something that wasn’t a travelogue, or a photo book, or an interior design book, or a history/geography book … but was somehow all rolled into one at the same time.  “NOMAD” had everything I dreamed a book could have – a compelling story, advice about collecting and displaying stuff, interesting pages made from different papers, stamping and old-style typography, nostalgic photographs…I loved “NOMAD” so much that I found Sibella’s other books on Amazon and bought another 3: “GYPSY“, “BOWERBIRD” and “ETCETERA“.  All gloriously, swooningly lavish in detail.

nomad

9780062318336

bowerbird etc-cover-sibella-court

Here is Sibella’s Biography, taken from her Amazon shop profile:

Sibella Court has had a 20-year international career as an interior stylist. She has been based in Sydney since 2008 after over ten years living and working in New York. In Australia she creates interiors for the Merivale Group and private clients, her most recent spaces including: El Loco, MsG’s, Palmer & Co., The Fish Shop and Mr Wong. She is the award-winning author of books, ‘Etcetera etc’, ‘The Stylist’s Guide to NYC’, ‘Nomad’ and ‘Bowerbird’. Sibella’s books are personal, functional & aesthetically beautiful reflections of her style and the way she sees the world. Sibella is the owner of shop, The Society inc. and product designer with a 110-colour paint range, nail polish, soap, candles and a hardware range. She spends her time exploring for inspiration across the globe in backstreets, markets & fairs discovering new artists, designers & products for her shop & commercial designs and holding workshops. After living in New York styling and concepting for the likes of Bergdorf Goodman, Jo Malone, Donna Karan, Gourmet, Bloomingdales, West Elm, Saks Fifth Avenue and Domino to name a few, she continues to collaborate on projects in the States and looks forward to opening a studio in New York soon selling her own wholesale product ranges range. Sibella works extensively with Anthropologie, travelling on their inspiration trips and designing product ranges for them. She regularly contributes to VogueLiving, Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and InsideOut and has been involved with television shows, as a judge on Channel 9’s ‘HomeMADE’ and featured on Keith Johnson’s ‘Man Shops Globe’. Sibella is currently working on further books, ranges and an array of design projects including designing an island.

As the blurb above says, this marvellous maven is the proprietor of a shop that us mere mortals can only fantasise about – The Society Inc. Here Sibella’s dreams are encapsulated in reality, her many unusual finds from her travels around the globe delivered into the feverish hands of her customers. It is essentially a junk shop, filled with ephemera, all sorts of oddities and curiosities, souvenirs from travels to far flung places…oh, but what a glorious junk shop it is! It makes me want to jump on the next plane to Tibet/Spain/Morocco/Zanzibar/(insert bucket list destination here) and scour the souks and bazaars for those delicious little trinkets and keepsakes that remind us of the wonderful experience we’re having. But, being of very modest means, I have to contend myself with leafing through Sibella’s beautifully crafted books, dreaming her dreams, and living vicariously through her.

…And the Spirit was made Flesh (My 100th Post!)

If you’ve been following my blog, you will know that I’m married to an electronic musician with the artist name of ElectroCelt. If you are unfamiliar with my backstory, here is the post http://alyzenmoonshadowdotcom.wordpress.com/2013/07/18/on-being-electrocelts-other-half-and-the-other-half-of-electrocelt/?preview=true&preview_id=63&preview_nonce=cb63273c81&post_format=standard

Towards the end of last year, Geoff (ElectroCelt) decided he would release an EP (Extended Play) album, as his fans had been demanding a physical CD rather than just digital downloads. So, he put together 5 tracks, had them mastered by Barry Woodward of Dining Room Music & Media in the UK (@barrywoodward1 on Twitter) who then sent them back electronically.  A round of research on the internet ensued, to find a company who would press a small edition of CDs, and put original artwork on cardboard sleeves, register ElectroCelt’s music and slap on a barcode, and then post everything back to us in Australia. There are dozens of companies out there who will press editions of 500, but only a handful who are happy to do a short run of 100, and who will press more on demand. We settled for Oasis (http://www.oasiscd.com) as we liked their setup and products.

I set about creating the artwork for the EP, which would carry the title “Out Of The Loop”.  For this, I used Ben Guerrette’s excellent Deco Sketch App (http://decosketch.com), and the Android App Impressionist Paint. http://www.androidpit.com/en/android/market/apps/app/com.superfiretruck.impressionistfingerpaint/Impressionist-Fingerpaint, and tied them together using the inimitable universal (iOS and Android) App PicsArt (https://itunes.apple.com/au/app/picsart-photo-studio/id587366035?mt=8) and (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.picsart.studio&hl=en). The font came from the universal App InstaQuote (https://itunes.apple.com/au/app/instaquote-add-text-captions/id551012097?mt=8) and (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.redcactus.instaquote).

Where I got stuck was in following Oasis’s instructions on how to place my artwork on their Photoshop template, (yup, still haven’t got the hang of good ole Photoshop yet LOL), so in the end I simply created files in the resolution and dimensions Oasis required, and sent them to Oasis for their in-house team to put together. It was pricier doing it that way, but because the artwork had already been done and all that needed doing was to place them in the templates correctly, we actually got a discount!

After a few initial hiccups in correspondence, and the usual Christmas and New Year blur, Oasis finally delivered the goods. Literally, on 13th January 2014.

Geoff was working up in the north of Western Australia, and he asked me to open the box. And so, after months of waiting, the Spirit was finally made Flesh! Geoff is excited as he already has more than 100 people staking their claim on the CDs, with the possibility of another short run, and I’m excited because it’s my first official CD Album Cover to make it from concept to reality! I’m resolved to doing more research and finding CD packaging companies that I can perhaps sell my cover designs to.

So, without further ado, I present to you ElectroCelt’s EP “Out Of The Loop”!

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(Sitting pretty in the box).

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(One of the 100 CDs and Oasis’s helpful literature on marketing and promoting your music).

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(Front of the cover).

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(Opened up, showing printed information on left and right inside covers, with the CD peeking out from the pocket on the right).

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(Close-up of the left inside cover).

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(Close-up of the right inside cover. Jack “ElectroKid Oz” our 11-year-old son, took the photo of Geoff playing the guitar. Thanks, Jack!).

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(Front of cover and the actual CD).

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(Back of cover and the CD. Also showing the all-important barcode!).

THE “ALTERNITY” PROJECT

I’ve had the App Deco Sketch by App developer Ben Guerrette sitting in my Samsung Galaxy S4 for a year now, but never got round to using it until recently. Here is an excellent review of the App http://www.knowyourapps.com/reviews/deco-sketch-review/ The purpose of me writing this is not to review the App, it’s to show how I use it in creating my mobile photography art images. In particular, my little secret Project, “Alternity”, that I’d been working on for a few months.

The “Alternity” Project is inspired by Steampunk, ancient artifacts and cryptic manuscripts. I played “Zork – Nemesis” on my PC many, many years ago, and have been hooked on the idea of strange worlds ever since, where you have to solve riddles or find objects, in order to get from one stage to the next. “Myst” was another favourite game. I had the original “Tomb Raider” on my original Playstation in the 1990s (I’m starting to show my age!), and spent weeks playing it through to the dizzying finale. I love the whole idea of ancient manuscripts, letters from the past, Steampunk devices and machines, grungy, gritty elements, the sense of being on the verge of discovering something earth-shattering.

I have enjoyed playing with Deco Sketch, learning how to use it by creating several geometric designs using the various shapes and brushes provided. With so many different types available, it is quite possible to generate thousands of different combinations and not come up with a duplicate. The possibilities are mindboggling.

I used the following Apps on my Samsung Galaxy S4 for “Alternity”:

Deco Sketch – geometric design image as the base image

Impressionist Fingerpaint – brush marks, texture

PS Touch – blending of images, fine tuning

HDR FX Pro – add texture, change photo effect colourways

Phonto – for text and placement of text within image

iMage Effects Pro – for borders, grunge and textures and lomographic filters

Pixlr Express – for more grunge, texture, borders and fine tuning

Watermark  – for my digital signature, faded out til very light

 

Of course, I could have used iOS Apps such as Tangent, AddLibS and AddLibU, etc for the geometric design backgrounds, but for this Project I deliberately limited myself to Apps I had on my Samsung Galaxy S4 only.  I must confess I do enjoy having such restrictions and working with a limited palette.

I am thinking of creating a different set of “Poem pages” to go with this series of images, and putting together a little book using one of the Print On Demand Sites online.

Here are the images from my “Alternity” Series. The Series starts with dark, brooding and atmospheric images, hinting at obscure secrets, then gets lighter and brighter towards the end. Symbolising perhaps Humankind’s progress from Darkness to Light. In each of these images are hidden Clues or Words that give further meaning to the project as a whole. I hope you have fun deciphering these clues! Answers on a postcard, please! ;-)

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Taking Your Art Further

I hope you all had a wonderful New Year 2014 and are now settling in to enjoy what I’m sure will be your BEST year yet.  My resolution for this year is this: “To continue to explore, expand and push the boundaries of Mobile Photography Art, especially concentrating on utilising both iOS and Android platforms, as I have literally at my fingertips the best of both worlds. This will be the year I get my work Licensed by global companies, and really make my mark on Print On Demand online stores.”

And so, to begin the New Year with a fresh start, I’ve found this site which explains various avenues the aspiring artist can explore. It’s called Fresh Rag, and the banner reads “The No BS, straight talk approach to earning more from your creative pursuits”. Dave Conrey is his name, and he has the scoop on how you can get your art selling online.

www.freshrag.com/20-places-to-sell-your-art-prints-online-part-one/

www.freshrag.com/20-places-to-sell-your-art-prints-online-part-two/

www.freshrag.com/20-places-to-sell-your-art-prints-online-part-three/

www.freshrag.com/20-places-to-sell-your-art-prints-online-part-four/

www.freshrag.com/20-places-to-sell-your-art-prints-online-part-five/

Dave also recommends these sites on his blog:

ART MARKETPLACES

Etsy – The site to be on if you’re selling arts and crafts, vintage goods or supplies online.

Artfire – Similar to Etsy, but with a much tighter community.

Meylah – Like the two above with a bit more focus on art and design.

PRINT ON DEMAND

Zazzle – My personal favorite print-on-demand site for selling art online (shirts, iphone cases, posters, etc.) where you never have to manage the manufacturing side of the process. They print, fulfill, ship and handle the customer service for you.

Society6 – Print-on-demand with a very strong focus on top-notch artists. Does not have the reach of the other services, but has some really great products offered.

Red Bubble – Similar to Society6 in that they offer really great designs on their limited amount of products.

Cafe Press – Probably the largest of the print-on-demand providers, but quality has a tendency to be less than the others.

Spreadshirt – Print-on-demand with a focus toward shirts and other clothing items.

Another site I found that has a good listing of potential avenues of income for the artist is this one:

http://www.digitalartsonline.co.uk/features/creative-business/sell-your-work-ultimate-guide-selling-artworks-as-prints-iphone-ipad-cases-collectables-more/

Towards the bottom of the article is a run-down of sites that may assist the fledgling or veteran artist:

Prints/Homewares

Society6: society6.com

Bouf: bouf.com

ClickforArt: clickforart.com 

Books

Blurb: blurb.com

Unbound: unbound.co.uk

Printers

Moo: uk.moo.com

Inky Little Fingers: inkylittlefingers.co.uk

Printclub London: printclublondon.com

Ditto Press: dittopress.co.uk

WS Bespoke: wsbespoke.co.uk

Printshop: thisisprintshop.co.uk

Döts Printhaus: dotsprint.co.uk

 

Fabrics/buttons

Awesome Merchandise: awesomemerchandise.com

Spoonflower: spoonflower.com

T-shirts

Twinne: twinne.com

Ardentees: ardentees.com

Kneedeepinsleep: kneedeepinsleep.com

Threadless: threadless.com

Ist Kunst: istkunst.com

Global Thread Collective: globalthreadcollective.com

Mintees: mintees.com

Phone, tablet and computer accessories

Cygnett: uk.cygnett.com

Gelaskins: gelaskins.com

Iconemesis: iconemesis.co.uk

Uncommon: getuncommon.com

China

Buttercup china: buttercupchina.co.uk

Now, as I am primarily a mobile photographer and my medium is digital and as such not tangible until made into prints, posters, t-shirts, etc, I think my concentration will be more on the Print on Demand Market and less on the Art Market. I am currently researching more Licensing sites and will of course report back here in due course.

Seeing as I have a whole, brand new year ahead of me to work on achieving my New Year Resolutions, I’m going to explore these avenues, and more, and I hope you will too!

The Winds of Change

So, recently we were away for a short break, and what an eye opener that trip was! In fact, you’ll find me writing about aspects of our holiday in greater detail. Keeping my blog going those 4 days in early October was an Herculean task, as for much of the time there was no mobile phone reception or GPS, and I had to rely on my husband’s portable wifi dongle. Oh, and not to mention how scarily fast one’s mobile phone battery goes down when sitting in a car on a 15 hour drive!

Anyway, I’ve been unhappy at work for a while now. It’s not the nature of my work, which is answering enquiries from bank customers. That’s easy and pleasant enough. It’s the fact that my department is run by children, for children, literally. The managers are too young and inexperienced to be managers, and yet they call the shots. Everything is about Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), and Customer Satisfaction. It’s all about statistics, and nothing about Staff contentment or retention. It’s not what you know, but who you know…and if you want to get anywhere, then there is a lot of brown-nosing and favouritism involved. Well, I’m not one to play this game. So, I’ve given my notice and although I haven’t another job to go to, I feel nothing but relief at being able to escape from that infernal place. I know I deserve better.

What will I do? Well, I decided to take the plunge and invest in Adobe’s Creative Cloud. I’ll not be buying the CS6, which at over $3100 is beyond my budget. Instead, I’ll be subscribing to the Creative Cloud (CC) for $49.99 a month first, with an annual outlay of $564. It will be hard going, but I know if I persevere with getting to grips with this powerhouse of programmes, it will be so worth the effort!

Adobe announced in March 2013 that it would no longer be producing hard copies of its software programmes. Instead, subscribers would be able to access all its products online via a range of payment options and packages.

Adobe Creative Cloud

Many diehard users of Adobe’s software were unhappy at the announcement made by Adobe, as they had grown used to idea of perpetual licenses. This new development meant that instead of owning a CD hardcopy of Adobe, one would be “renting” it monthly. For me, though, having never had any experience with Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Dreamweaver etc, at least there’s nothing to unlearn. I’ll be a clean slate that hopefully will fill up with knowledge and know-how. That is the plan, anyhow.

And here are my reasons for wanting to use Adobe’s CS6:

1. I want to be able to design pattern repeats for textiles. My aim is to be able to produce my own designs for bedlinen, cushions, curtains, rugs, wallpaper, maybe even clothing such as coats, scarves and t-shirts.

2. I’d like to be able to publish my photobooks to platforms such as Kindle and e-books.

3. I want to print my own CD album covers, CDs, book covers.

4. I’d like to be able to bring my Graphic Design ideas to life. There are very few Apps on iOS and Android that offer graphic design templates.

5. Maybe, if I ever get past the basics, I could even write some photo editing Apps? (Wishful thinking)

So, from time to time, when I’m not posting about mobile photography art, or music, or recipes, or travel, or anything else under the sun that catches my fancy, you may find me posting here about my experience with Adobe CS6. Or maybe ranting about it, when the learning curve turns into a slippery glass mountain.

Posted from WordPress for Android.

http://www.alyzenmoonshadow.wix.com/alyzenmoonshadow

“Print on Demand” Book Publishing

I have to date published 3 books of my images, being “Dalienutopia”, “The iFlower Series” and “Surreal”.  These were all done through different publishers, as I was (and still am) exploring which one would ultimately be the best one for me.

“Dalienutopia” was my very first book.  The title is a play on the words “Dali”, “Alien” and “Utopia”, the word imagery I was aiming for is the strangeness of Salvador Dali juxtaposed against the backdrop of a Utopian world, in an alien surrounding. Close to where we lived at first in Perth is an area called the Baigup Wetlands, which is mainly a swampy area where you’ll find silvery grey gumtrees with exposed roots sticking out of the water, and lots of native birds. It really is a strange environment to find yourself in, and I was reminded immediately of Dali’s famous “Swans Reflecting Elephants” painting.

Here is the link to the book “Dalienutopia“,  the publisher is Blurb (http://www.blurb.com). If you click on the link it brings you to the Preview page, and if you click on the shopping trolley below the preview pictures (please make me happy and do so!), you can purchase the book for yourself.

My second book, in 2012, was “The iFlower Series”, at a time when I was so enamoured of flower photography that I simply couldn’t walk past a single flower without whipping out my iPhone 4 and snapping away at it from every conceivable angle. I’d had problems using Blurb’s “Booksmart” template, and in the end a techie from Blurb had had to reset the template for me online as I couldn’t get in to edit my pictures. So, not wanting the stress of going through that again, I decided to try out Lulu instead (http://www.lulu.com).  It was easier to navigate, however I found the quality of the paper wasn’t as good as Blurb, plus it offered fewer size options. But, it was cheaper.

Here is the link to preview and purchase “The iFlower Series“, again please do check it out, thank you!

My third foray into self-publishing was the surreal “Surreal”, this time published in 2013 by Mixbook (http://www.mixbook.com). Mixbook claims to be have of the easiest user interface, and indeed it was a doddle creating my book using their templates. The price was more expensive than Blurb or Lulu, however. With Lulu I was able to get a 52-page book for just over $15, but for a similar price Mixbook could only offer me 20 pages. At the time I published “Surreal”, I was into my surreal phase of photographing everyday images and then distorting or blending them with other elements to create a sense of the unreal…some of the images are quite unsettling!

Click the title to preview and purchase “Surreal“.  Thanks for looking! :-)

Here is a handy page with a run-down of various Print On Demand Book Publishers, and their pros and cons.  3 years ago, when I started researching Print On Demand, the list for the Top 10 was very different and included Blurb, Lulu and Mixbook…the story is very different now, judging from this current list http://online-book-publishing-review.toptenreviews.com. Just goes to show how we live in exponential times, and things move by so swiftly and change happens so fast, that if you stood still and blinked, you’d be passed by in an instant. The article might be of use to you if you are considering going down the route of self-publishing yourself. Self-publishing can be as simple as creating a book for your own enjoyment, and that of your family and friends, or it could work out to cost $$$$ in marketing and advertising if you’re wishing to conquer the world.

This article here provides a useful insight into the pros and cons of “do it yourself” publishing i.e Print on Demand, as opposed to applying to mainstream publishing houses.  Of course, this is only one of many articles online that discuss POD. It seems that everyone is a writer/photographer/artist/poet/actor/musician/etc today! 

As for myself, no, I still haven’t found the Holy Grail of POD book publishers. But I seem to have fed my self-publishing daemon and have managed to move on to other projects and aspirations. I may come back to this at a later time, as I would like to see my books available on mainstream sites such as Amazon…I understand having a Blurb book these days comes with inclusion into Amazon’s listings.  But, my first and only experience creating my book on Blurb wasn’t particularly stress-free, and I’m not quite ready to go through that again just yet.

There is one POD publisher that I would like to use, as I’ve not found any other that offers printing on matte paper.  I love magazines that use matte paper instead of the usual glossy paper (Frankie is one of my favourites).  It just gives the whole magazine a more organic, handmade feel, like some arty journal. The publisher’s name is Artifact Uprising, and they offer a surprising number of templates and styles you can choose from.  However, as I live on Mars in Australia, their FAQ points out that it will cost me $68 (!!!) to send just ONE book to me. Which makes it economically NOT viable for me to go down this avenue. To those of you lucky enough to be living on this planet, I would recommend that you check out Artifact Uprising. Definitely  one to watch!

Featured Artist AlyZen Moonshadow | Artsy Shark

http://www.artsyshark.com/2013/08/09/featured-artist-alyzen-moonshadow/

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So pleased to make it as a Featured Artist on Artsyshark, the best resource for artists.