Friday, February 28, 2014

Flat Planning PWOZ  

How like and how unlike  

Part six of a ten-part examination which the author started out to be finding a crowdsourcing method financing the startup of a printmaking magazine online, he encounters the flat plan—the architecture—of a paper magazine morphed over to this digital age. 


 Rachel Bartlett, in England, provided a summary of experiences by traditional magazines as they experimented with reader participation, using the word “crowdsourcing” in the sense that the readership was allowed or invited to contribute articles and topics for special issues of the magazine. In this, number six of ten points to learn from, the experience taught the magazine leaders to maintain editorial control. Failure leads to disappointed readers; the editorial staff, after all, are the experts and they must balance their skills with the unskilled readership.
This essay takes place on the imaginary island of Perfect Studios, the island of domains-of-expertise in asset management and legacy transfer. In my plan to launch a printmaking magazine online (or, Ozine), these islands in my fantasy region, Emeralda, each manifests a culture of learning alongside a culture of expertise.
There may be up to a dozen magazines under the mantle of PrintmakingWorld Ozine (PWOZ), with each one dealing with an aspect of the creative multimedia arts. Asset management and legacy transfer is rarely heard in the printmaking world of the last two centuries, yet it is the very thing that resulted in what we know about printmaking today. Without the legacy and the transfer of knowledge, skills and attitudes of artists, craftspeople and designers, there would be no printmaking today.
The following section is copied verbatim from Rachel Bartlett’s article.

6. Keep some hold on the editorial reins

One of the key pieces of advice shared by all three publishers centered on the crucial role the editorial team must play to ensure the end product follows the same style and standards as a regular issue would.
Toiminen, for example, said this was a lesson the Olivia team learned after its first try at a co-created edition in 2010.
"At first the team was very careful about not giving enough voice to the participators, so actually they made a magazine that wasn't really Olivia's concept," she said.
"It was much looser and had less narrative and fewer good, well-written stories, because they just wanted to let out all the voices within. That was a disappointment for the crowd sourcing people and for the journalists and for me as a CEO."
But since then the team have worked on how best to "integrate the process", and have gone on to produce crowd sourced issues on an annual basis, with the fourth one due out later this year.
They now understand that "they don't have to be too democratic" if it were to result in a final product "that disappoints the audience," Toiminen added.
In reference to the number of people who participated in the Femina crowd sourcing project in April this year, Rai added that "you can't risk ignoring your readers for the sake of the 7,000 or 60 contributors".
"The responsibility of producing a very good issue, an issue which people enjoy reading, is still the editor's."
He added that the way he explains it to colleagues, is that "you can abdicate or you can delegate your authority, but you can't delegate your responsibility".
At Company magazine, they learned a similar lesson the first time they ran their graduate issue, which sees a group of fashion graduates join the team for a month. "You have to remember you are still the experts and you shouldn't expect that people would have your levels of expertise," she said, explaining that for the first issue they had told the graduates to "re-do the flat plan" in whatever order they liked.
"They looked at us with slightly blank faces, and they just ended up moving everything around for the sake of it," she said, adding that in reality, "that wasn't any use to us or them".
"How would you know how to flat plan a magazine, if you're coming to it completely blind? So you are still the experts, but what you want is the enthusiasm and the ideas."

Transfer this

The experts, in the case of the as-yet unpublished online magazine for printmaking, are not only those who know about the art, craft and design processes that have given us what we call fine art printmaking today, are knowledgeable about the value of assets and the means by which they are transferred.
Over the past two generations, intellectual capital, or intellectual property, has become increasingly valuable because of computer-based communications and the internet. The impact of this is the core study on the fantasy island of Perfect Studios.
Flat planning is a term I encountered in the paragraph above, which has to do with the way paper magazines are laid out—how the editorial material appears, where the advertising falls on the page, etc. It will be interesting to see how the architecture has changed in the magazine reading experience with things like hypertext and the growing use of tablets and mobiles.
Flipping pages in a book or a magazine is so different, and the use of animation and interaction on flat, shiny touch screens becoming predominate I can’t help but think the “architecture” of magazines in the age of digital communication will be changed, almost unrecognizable, in the future. This will affect the economics and politics of flat planning as it used to be known.

Funding by crowdsourcing

Economically, as I look at the way magazines are built on flat plans, and the funding of those magazines (subscriptions, advertising), then it seems to me if flat planning changes, then the economics will change, too; which brings me back to the original reason that Rachel Bartlett’s article caught my eye: crowdsourcing.

She intended the word crowdsourcing to mean content sourcing; my meaning is to finance the startup of PWOZ with crowd funding. By transferring my legacy for money—such as online auctions, etc. and the dozens of “Kickstarter” schemes available today—I could start the PrintmakingWorld Ozine.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Google Ozine 

Making use of online services 

The fifth in a series of ten essays on ten things to try in the vein of using crowdsourcing to get his PrintmakingWorld Ozine started in three months based on an article by Rachel Bartlett describing how existing online promotional services can be useful. 


How do you start a printmaking magazine for online only? Most of the histories given online are based on magazines that already exist as paper-based businesses. They follow the traditional mode—get content, get money from advertising and subscriptions, and go.
I want to start a new Zine-style online service and call it PrintmakingWorld Ozine, and fill it with content that I used to offer at the University of Washington. Printmaking is not only an art form, it is the ancestor of all media arts and technologies. By this point in time, printmaking should be offered both as a good old timey, hands on craft and art, and also as the basis for all mechanical and digital communication.
That’s what I believe should be the core of a really useful online magazine—partly about the art and craft, but also including the newest non-art processes of printmaking, especially the relationship of printmaking to time and space.
But there is an obstacle: Before I can enlist people with the skills, knowledge, interest and attitude to make this idea come to reality, it appears that I need money for things like compensation, hardware, software and security—such as legal help.
In fact, I am not certain—even though I have the idea clearly in my mind—of all the things that should be put in place for a good foundation. In number 5 in her article, in which Rachel Bartlett gives ten ideas that involve crowdsourcing, she has this 5th one to suggest [paraphrased]:

Make use of Google+ Hangouts/Skype to hold open meetings

“Publishers can often use video conferencing platforms, such as Google+ Hangouts or Skype, to engage with their communities. The functionality varies from carrying out interviews live 'On Air', which anyone can watch, and selected individuals can partake in, to editorial discussions ahead of publication with writers across the world.
“For example, Company ran a Google + Hangout On Air as part of the production of its "social issue". It invited readers who would like to have some input with the editorial team in the meeting to register in advance.
" ‘We thought, why not get readers involved and have people come in and almost suggest features to us – using a Google Hangout – as to what should go into this special issue. The planning is where readers can get involved. They can pre-register to be involved in the hangout if they've got ideas they want to suggest and put forward.’”
“Femina also used Google + Hangouts to hold an editorial meeting with half of the 60 contributors who ended up successfully submitting content to be published in the magazine.”


Like a wake-up call, yesterday I got an invite to join the Google Circle of Pat Austin, one of my former students from the 1970s. She is retired now, and taking up writing, and we are in touch regarding her downsizing and selling one of her Halfwood Presses. Google Hang Out is a way to hold a forum on the subject of the selling of pre-owned presses, I think; as I am the co-founder of the Halfwood Press venture, it would be natural to start with this instance and share it.

Also yesterday

Another interesting thing about yesterday (Feb. 26, 204) was the sudden appearance of two web pages having to do with popular printmaking (pop printmaking?). One was from the Craft and Concept, which makes portable printing presses and promotes printmaking experiences. The other was from a private school in France, where a German-made miniature model of the company’s normal, “full-size” presses was provided for the student who held a printmaking fair.

The two events suggested an interesting article to me but, with only two paper-based magazines in the world to report it, I wonder if as many people will get to learn about the experience, and grow it in such a way as its educational value is known, as would learn about itin an online magazine.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Social Ozine  

The power of social networks and PMWO  

It is appropriate on the imaginary island, Open Studios and Hospitality, to concentrate on the social networking value in the plan to start an online magazine for printmaking. After considering how games figure into the plan, social networking comes next. 

Ten points toward a crowd-sourced Online Zine  

An online Zine for printmaking might not follow traditional lines in the way online magazines are started in fields outside of printmaking—fields such as sports, news, entertainment and health for example. Those fields have a long tradition and hundreds of paper-based magazines as the ancestors of new, online magazine experiences.
What interests me about printmaking is in two parts: One, there is only one paper-based magazine in the English language, and one quarterly journal, in the entire world. The journal is published in the USA, where almost of million people have had some printmaking in their educational history and who probably maintain an interest in printmaking either as a maker or a collector.
Numerous businesses have grown up around the art and craft of printmaking. Printmaking is taught in colleges and universities and some schools. Printmaking presses are being manufactured and sold, costing a few hundred to over twenty-thousand dollars. So, there must be printmaking life there that should attract readers to a printmaking journal. My impression, however, is that the two publications are floundering.
It is my impression, also, that the publishers have no plan to go to an online version of their paper publication—building, as they say, on their legacy.
In an article published online (of course, or how else would I have found it?), Rachel Bartlett summarized ten point about starting or growing an online magazine using crowd-sourcing. The term crowd-sourcing interests me because I have a personal legacy of artworks and other tangibles of worth which I think might be part of the source for building my idea of a printmaking magazine online.
One by one, I am taking the points Bartlett listed and dwelling on them in these essays to glean what I might from the content and adapt it to the challenge that faces me. The fourth point she describes has to do with using social networks to get resources for an online magazine. She wrote:

Plug into the power of social networks

“Any crowd sourcing project will inevitably involve social media interaction, whether social networks are the setting for the crowd sourcing – perhaps gathering tweeted responses to a question – or to encourage social media communities to engage in crowd sourcing elsewhere.
“For Femina's Made By You issue, for example, a Facebook app was built which members of the social media network could use to send in their stories for consideration. It is also worth remembering [from an earlier part of Bartlett’s account] that Femina used social media in the first place to test the crowd sourcing waters before committing to producing an entire issue on this model.
“Meanwhile, Company uses a Facebook group of "die-hard Company fans" to gather feedback and ideas for editions of the magazine. The group is closed and so requires those who want to join to apply, "but we don't turn anyone away", White added.
“ ‘We constantly ask them what they want in the magazine,’ she said. An example included asking the group who they wanted the cover star to be, and were also given the opportunity to carry out the interview.

Printmaking Social Networks

There are social networks for printmaking: Print Universe, Inkteraction, Printerest,, CraftandConcept and PrintPeople (I may not have these names down correctly). Also there are newsletters for printmaking clubs scattered around. Numerous bloggers are practicing printmakers and they produce news items and videos of note.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Missing Game  

A special online magazine  

It is because video games and casual online games are some of the progeny of the acts of printing since prehistoric times that an online printmaking magazine may find its money by crowd sourcing Proximates, the social printmaking game over time and space. 

What is needed is a game 

As I look for ways to start an online printmaking magazine that is original in every way, I think how printmaking evolved and, in a sense, is the ancestor of today’s video games, casual games, and social networks.
It follows, in my opinion, that a printmaking magazine should show some of these characteristics. Consider that playing card production was one of the early success stories of printmaking, also stamps and postcards and travel pictures. Entertainment, travel, souvenir-collecting—all these ordinary, everyday forms of printing played a part in bringing about today’s movie, TV and game industries.
In this line of thinking, I think my PrintmakingWorld Online magazines will always have a game in them. Crossword puzzles? Easy. Hidden Object Games? almost as easy. But what about social networking? Here’s where my original idea of Proximates (lately it is suggested that I call this “game” Print Pals because it’s a little like Pen Pals).
Right at this moment, as I am typing this essay, someone somewhere in the world is pulling a proof. Who are they? Where are they? When did they sign the print, and how did they sign it? How did they make the plate? What is the view outside their window, if they have a window? What’s happening in their professional life?
Proximates is somewhat like blogging, but there is an automation element so that when someone registers their print with moment they pulled the print (known as the moment number), they also register their latitude and longitude. This gives a spatial reference as well as a temporal or time reference to their action.

UK inspired

I get some of my best ideas by listening the people from England on TED talks, and also in a UK newsletter article by Rachel Bartlett. I am taking each of the ten points she gave us and seeing if the ideas fit my needs. Here is the third of ten points:

The UK view

One strategy which a number of the publishers have found useful in driving crowd sourcing efforts is to engage with the blogging community online. When Femina was trying to raise awareness about its 'Made by You' issue, for example, it worked with bloggers "who write on issues relating to women".
"We activated that network to make sure that they spoke to their readers and asked them to contribute to the Femina Made By You issue," he said. "They also had the added incentive that some of them would actually get published too," he added, explaining that as well as getting readers to write, the magazine also reached out to "experts in the field" including the bloggers, to share content.
"So they had an added incentive that they may be part of the Femina Made By You issue also". One of Company magazine's previous crowd sourcing projects was centered on the blogging community. Following the magazine's re-launch at the start of 2012, it turned its attention to bloggers as a way to reach its readership "through digital platforms", editor Victoria White said.
This involved liaising with "style bloggers" in terms of content in a "super bloggers issue", as well as creating the Style Blogger Awards. Bonnier Publications has also tapped into "the fashion blogger generation", with the introduction of an entirely new magazine with that audience in mind.
"We invited a bunch of fashion bloggers to create that concept," she said. "Some of them became a part of the editorial team, and there's always a part of the magazine done in Facebook with the fashion blogger community."

What’s the idea here?

The same approach might be useful in launching PrintmakingWorld Online, because there a plenty of printmakers around the world who blog and make YouTube videos about printmaking. The difference is, of course, that PrintmakingWorld Online does not have a parent, paper-based magazine to build on, as Femina, the example above has.

I may glean some ideas from Femina, nevertheless. For the moment, it is a game of hide-and-seek as I try to find more ways to launch PrintmakingWorld Online.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Co-create Ozine  

Building a printmaking magazine online cooperatively  

Item number two in a list of ten suggestions posted by a British publishing industry online magazine about starting online magazines is studied in this essay by one who would start an online magazine—he calls an Ozine—in the field of fine art printmaking.

Co-created online magazines

In her article, Rachel Bartlett lists ten things to consider if you want to start an online magazine (I like to use the word Ozine because, in the past, electronic mail evolved to email, and magazine evolved to Zine), and the second in this list of ten struck a chord with me. She wrote:

2. Consider building a 'co-creation platform'

While publishers running these crowd sourced magazine projects often make use of social media platforms to invite submissions, Finland's Olivia magazine, which is published by Bonnier Publications, built its own "co-creation platform", Oma Olivia (Open Olivia), where readers could help make decisions about the content and design of a crowd sourced edition.
"Everything was done in the editorial group," chief executive of Bonnier Publications, Marjaana Toiminen, told, with the overall project run by the author of a crowd sourcing thesis at Stanford University.
"[The thesis author] knew what else was going on in the world so she could integrate her knowledge into the concept," Toiminen explained.
"The online platform which was built for the special issue - which is published once a year - delivers each decision as a challenge, such as the photos to use from a shoot, or the text to put on the front page. Toiminen prefers to describe the project as "co-creation" instead of crowd sourcing.
"It's something deeper, and more open," she explained. "You involve the audience in every phase of making the magazine, starting from ideas but going deeper into getting angles and finding questions to ask and then deciding on the blurbs and photos and everything. So it's like an ongoing process throughout the magazine."
"The platform offers a number of different decision-making mechanisms. These range from a vote to "open discussion", Toiminen said. "Every process or every challenge has different types of involvement models."

Press story

There is a similarity between the way that the Mini Halfwood Press evolved and the idea behind co-creation. It was Tom Kughler and I at the start. I went to him to create the first halfwood press, then—when I remarked I wished I had a model of it—he created the first mini halfwood press.
You might say the first person who asked about buying one like it was a co-creator, too. The possibility of making mini presses to offer the printmaking world occurred to me at that point, and six months after Tom brought the first mini halfwood press to my studio for testing, I had sold half a dozen of them.
Tom carried on with making slightly bigger presses; the people interested in the presses asked for cheaper models and we provided them. Therefore, among the group—me, Tom, and several hundred people who wrote to me via email—we co-created the alternative to the typical etching presses of the past two generations.

Co-create PrintmakingWorld Ozine?

The evolution of the Halfwood Press line will be different than making a magazine—whether paper-based or digital and online. How can you compare the two? Only in one way: it proved to be the basis of expanding the printmaking experience to reach more people. The making of a small, beautiful, portable press is comparable to bringing skiing, for example, to more people who are interested in skiing without bringing the snowy mountainside to the readers. On the bus I see someone using their mobile to read a skiing magazine as they ride, headed for work and not to the slopes.
He or she might just as well be reading a printmaking ozine as a skiing magazine on the mobile or on a tablet. The question remains, for me, how do you build it? Co-creation, said Bartlett in the second on the list she collected from publishers who tried and succeeded, is a possibility.
Co-creation is a strong possibility because printmaking itself is often a co-creative art, a social art that many times involves communities of practice and people with mixed expertise. In the same way that Tom Kughler and I “co-created” the halfwood press line, and then hundreds of people got onboard by purchasing them, a printmaking ozine might be co-created.

Who will be the “Tom”?

From reading the second point, above, it appears I need (1) someone like me with the idea to create an online printmaking magazine, (2) an editorial group similar to what traditional magazines have—a group of people who buy in, ideologically, to my vision of a blender magazine rooted in the true history of printmaking as a time-based art; (3) someone who is working on a thesis at a major research university to see how crowd sourcing will play in the development of the business of this ozine.
Is there, nearby, a university that is fostering the study of the kind that the student at Stanford was inspired to undertake? Or a university where there is a faculty member who would make the suggestion of this subject to a student doing advanced work?

It bears thought.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Ozine Keen  

How keen are you to get involved in an online magazine?  

In his ongoing study of the preparation of online magazines in the field of printmaking, the author utilizes an article from England. The first of ten points to consider before launching the magazine online (here, he refers to it as “Ozine”) is discussed.

How keen are you to start PrintmakingWorld Ozine?

To my knowledge, I am the only person in the world who is keen on starting an online magazine (actually, a dozen of them) for the printmaking world. In her article from last October, Rachel Bartlett, in Great Britain, wrote an article for and gave ten points to consider. The first one is, “How keen is anyone else (besides me) on starting such a magazine?”
How do I know? The article goes on to suggest finding out online. Go ask people. But, how do reach the people? I get many emails and pop-up on websites asking for my opinion, my interest, my contact information; all of us have this happening all the time on social networks and the media. It’s too much, and I don’t want to add more junk to people’s email.
Also, handling the response, if there is any, raises another warning flag. Already I am spending too much time at the keyboard. The responsibility of listening the answers to, “How keen are people in participating or subscribing to an online printmaking magazine,” is huge.

I am keen

All through my fifty years in printmaking, I have absolutely loved the magazines associated with design, art, and printmaking in all its forms. When I was a professor, I subscribed too many of them—notably Print Collector’s Newsletter. That magazine shut down years ago. The Journal of the Print World almost shut down, but it was saved by Rebecca Ronstadt and is still going today. I got an issue of Printmaking Today, published as a paper magazine only in England.
However, I confess these magazines don’t make my heart go pitty-pat; there are two reasons: One, they only publish old news and this bores me. Secondly, they are weak in the face of today’s world situation—problems which, in my opinion—must be addressed educationally.
By “old news,” I refer to constantly being reminded of great old prints and brand new prints that look old, prints from a dying world that existed when there was time and money to indulge in printmaking as a leisure activity and a minor commercial practice. I was fortunate to live through the cycle of boom and bust in printmaking. I learned a lot.
Plus, I taught college students through the generation that was, as I look back, the end of the salad days of printmaking—right before the onset of the age of digital reproduction. The internet is often compared to the invention of moveable type by Gutenberg (an error—the Koreans invented it centuries before him; it was the chase Gutenberg devised for mechanical reproduction).


I believe there is, nevertheless, a huge community of people who have some kind of printing experience in their life, and they like it, or like having tried printmaking. Mostly it came at an early age, and left an impression on them that lasted. The presses I make—small, portable and as beautiful as I can make them—bring people to a stop and they like to talk about printmaking as a craft and art.
To me, this is a thread, or the tip of an iceberg (there must be a better metaphor to describe the potential audience for an online printmaking magazine, an Ozine).
Rachel Bartlett’s article advised, “test the water” before you start:
“For larger-scale crowd sourcing projects, which involve the readership helping towards production of an issue, it may be sensible to first get an idea of how keen the readership is in being more actively involved. Tarun Rai, chief executive of Worldwide Media, publisher of Femina magazine which in April produced an edition made up of only reader-produced articles, said the team first used Twitter to invite followers to share their responses to specific questions or subject areas.
"The readers were actually quite keen to write", he said. This led to the magazine asking their readers to send in a story idea, along with an example paragraph, based on standard subjects which feature in Femina, including work, relationships, health and fitness, and sex.
"Once we did that, we got a humongous response," he said, with the best ideas then invited to send in their full entries for possible publication in the magazine.”

Standard subjects

Were I to start an information gathering campaign, I would be tempted to imply or suggest that my energies would be directed to the standard subjects of printmaking we all know about from paper-based publications of the past, but to take non-standard subjects into account also, based on what has happened since 1980.
People born after 1980 are called Millennials because they were about 20 at the turn of the century—graduating from high school, some going on or entering trades and professions and, by now, in their mid-thirties. This is not the world of the ‘80s, when I started my ventures outside the college printmaking world.
I believe what I learned in college is of small importance except for my firsthand experience with the increasing importance of politics and economics in the arts that are thwarting educators in the United States. One of the results is that there are still “standard” subjects in printmaking that are limiting access to the printmaking experience.
I have made progress in solving the limitation of size and weight of the common etching press by making mini etching presses; it is not enough and my personal limitations are the problem here.

New standard subjects

In the example above, Femina magazine had as its standard subjects “. . . work, relationships, health and fitness, and sex.” In my opinion the standard subjects in a printmaking magazine should be traditional subjects plus non-traditional subjects. It should borrow life issues from other magazines, like Femina, on the subject of work, for example, as in making a living. Health, also, as in non-toxic printmaking materials. Fitness might fit in there, too.

More importantly, to me, the non-standard subjects stand out and they are rooted in the history of printmaking itself. I do not mean the college brand of printmaking history, which is that printmaking somehow evolved out of painting and thus wins the label of “fine” art printmaking.

It is the other way around. Thanks to printmaking in all its varied forms, painting has achieved importance—and not only painting, but all art forms that are conveyed to us like reports.
“The report of an event is more important than the event itself, for it is the report to which we respond, as most of us only get the mediated report—not the actual experience of being present at the event.”

Thanks to technologies—all technologies that are possible by exact replication of images and sounds in a persistent medium—we live in a world that seems to be immediate (i.e., im-mediate, without mediation) yet is almost entirely a media event. All technologies came out of printing from the day that someone in a setting, at a time before recorded history (yet, by their act of printing their hand on stone, recorded history) made an intentional print.

Non standard printmaking subjects

People are cutting blocks for printing plates with CNC routers, laser engravers, and 3-D printers. They are casting blocks in plastic and producing prints and books with all kinds of technologies. To the diehard printmaker who is deeply invested in handcraft and a tight-knit social network and collector world, these are not printmaking.
To the Millennial, however, it is not a problem to consider that a block was cut with a laser engraver or that the print they are looking at was made in part by a printing plate that was downloaded on a computer, an image that came from another part of the world. In fact, the Millennial communicates in kind with people all over the world—why should artists be locked in the past? Are not artist’s ideas and expressions of importance?

My history is involved

What about teachers? I consider myself a teacher without a school—a “de-institutionalized” teacher compared to those who, in the words of one of my former students, “institutionalized artists.” I chuckled when she said that, but then I realized that the expression didn’t carry the same implication for her that it did for me.

It is crazy to think a 3-D printer that is capable of printing out a plastic gun that really works can also be a way to print out a printing press—but I am not crazy to think so, and I plan to make this happen. However, it will take a village, as they say, or a factory school, to realize this dream of mine.

Saturday, February 22, 2014


Soul of a new printmaking magazine online  

For months on end he has speculated about the form and startup of a new printmaking magazine online. Writing about it puts him in the same mood as when he wrote the bible for his game, Emeralda. Essays too lengthy for blogs may become chapters in a bible.

What mean, Ozine?

OZine is the word I tried out to describe a hybrid that results by combining the ‘Zine with Online magazine. It’s the same as when electronic mail became e-mail, and then simply email. Ozine is also the name of an annual convention produced in the Philippines for Cosplayers, a performance art based on sources such as anime, comic books, video games, TV shows and movies, i.e., any entity from the real or virtual world that lends itself to dramatic interpretation . 

British benefits

Last October, Rachel Bartlett, in Great Britain, wrote an article for called “10 tips for running crowd sourced magazine projects,” and I copied it, and then copy-wrote over it. Copy-writing is one of the benefits of the age of digital reproduction so you can glean ideas from other people who publish digitally. The immediacy of typing words with your ten digits that become digital words is one of the wonders of the age of digital reproduction.
Our PrintmakingWorld Online magazine (PMWO) . . . I started this sentence with “my,” then—remembering I owe Rachel Bartlett and numerous other people for teaching me this is not only Bill Ritchie’s idea, but the sum of the parts thousands of other people have given me to work with . . . must show the social and communal nature of printmaking. Being able to use a British writer’s help, and thinking also about Warren Ralls in England who is helping the press-making business along, is one of the benefits of the age of digital reproduction.
The PrintmakingWorld Online magazine must also inherit the genome of printmaking if it is to be valid—the fact that printmaking is the ancestor of all media arts, a channel for individual expression that allows for repetition over time and space.
It follows that financing PMWO should come from its subscribers. How to begin? One way is to offer my legacy—artworks, memorabilia, videos, etc.—as incentives in a crowd-funding scheme.


Individual expression is a much hallowed (some say ballyhooed) thing. In screenplay writing I was taught by books that you can succeed in the movie business only if you write from the outside in, not from the inside out. You must, in other words, use the tried-and-true formulae that have been part of story-telling since Aristotle laid down his principles of the three act play.
It makes sense. However, as the media evolved to the point where anyone can be a printer, thanks to cheaper printing, then anyone who wants to write from the inside out may do so—as long as he or she does not expect anyone to pay for it. To fill five-hundred, $10 seats at a movie theater, your story had better be good!


According to Wikipedia, zines started a long time ago. In the 18th century, Benjamin Franklin started a literary magazine for psychiatric patients at a Pennsylvania hospital, which was distributed amongst the patients and hospital staff. This could be considered the first zine, since it captures the essence of the philosophy and meaning of zines. The concept of zines clearly had an ancestor in the amateur press movement, which would in its turn cross-pollinate with the subculture of science fiction fandom in the 1930s.
I used the word Zines to describe my ten magazines that are published in my fictional (some might call science fictional) Emeralda Region—one on each island devoted to some aspect of the study of multimedia arts. The origins of the word "zine" are uncertain, but it was a term widely in use in the 1970s, as a shortened version of the word magazine, a time period coinciding with the transformation of printmaking into multimedia.

So it must follow that PrintmakingWorld Online is as much a part of the zine movement that started in the revolutionary days of Thomas Paine (“Common Sense”) and Ben Franklin (“Poor Richard’s Almanac”) as it is today’s online magazines that are adding to the paper-based magazine industry. Thus, I say, Ozine, but this is different than the Philippine Ozine Fest, an annual anime convention organized by the editorial committee of Otakuzine Anime Magazine.


The pejorative, “amateurish,” fits what every beginner is—usually youth but may also be applied to people enjoying printmaking at an advanced age, such as myself—in the arts. No doubt the term is applied when there is money at stake. No theater owner in his right mind would show amateur films in an expensive movie theater, and few art galleries can afford to show children’s art or student printmakers’ work. It’s not economical.
What, then, of the Ozine? Actually, every blogger may claim that their musings constitute “online magazines” as much as they are blogs, without the bother of advertising or trying to make money. The fact that many bloggers have gained notoriety due to their blogs—even becoming stars on TV shows as they are experts, thanks to their blogs and the huge followings they accrue.
A printmaking blog may become an online magazine if it fits the definition of a paper-based magazine: LFCPTC. However, with “writing from the inside out” in its genome, the same self-ish expression such as may have inspired the first handprints on the walls of caves made in prehistoric times, you face the probability that a printmaking magazine will have features of the zine. It may not be professional printmaking as it is known by the insiders of art schools, art museums and art galleries.

In her article, “Ten tips . . .,” Bartlett gives expert advice from those experienced in using crowdsourcing to work hand-in-hand with readers on the work of magazine production. What follows is a more or less copy of her words; as time goes on, I will adopt some or all of these into a plan for financing PrintmakingWorld Online. Her chapter will greatly assist in my planning for the launch of PMWO.

Friday, February 21, 2014

iPrintmaking Experience  

Interactive printmaking coming?  

Relying on industrial reports about the growth of online magazines designed for iPads and mobiles, the author forecasts making widely-read printmaking magazine with a different foundation for a superstructure of printmaking and the printmaking experience.

Today’s topic

Consumers—and, like it or not, this includes printmakers—might love reading a printmaking magazine on tablets and mobiles more than they do in their native print-on-paper. I am paraphrasing Mequoda’s Digital Magazine Handbook, a consulting group in Boston which claims to be in partnership with huge online magazines.

They say that, in FOLIO—which is a digital publishing trade magazine, Time Inc. has been researching its subscribers since it launched its app, and those readers say they return to view the same issue close to five times, and spend about 40 minutes with each tablet edition, comparable to the average for printed magazines. Condé Nast—another trade magazine—said their tablet subscribers (including those who are tablet-plus-print subscribers) are renewing their subscriptions at a higher rate than their print-only subscribers; they’re also paying higher prices for their renewal subscriptions.

Who wants an online printmaking magazine?

As I plan for publishing a niche market, online magazine, I am as tiny as a flea among a forest of giants. When I read reports such as those cited by Mequoda and other online industrial figures, I feel slightly insane. With numbers they report—readership in associations, for example, belong to 25,000 to 50,000 member organizations.
In Seattle, we have one print club with a membership of about 100 people. There are about 80 print clubs scattered around the USA, and maybe that many more scattered around the world. At this rate, I can calculate fewer than 10,000 potential readers of an online printmaking magazine like my planned PrintmakingWorld Online.
But wait! Because you are not a member of a printmaking club or workshop does not mean you are not interested in printmaking. My approach to the market size is different. I start from the inside out—from my personal experience over fifty years in printmaking, beginning with my undergraduate course I took when I was twenty years old.
When I calculate this experience and its setting—four-year college or six—and estimate the number of people who attended college-level printmaking classes over two generations, the number grows to 400,000 people in the US alone who would likely be interested in an online printmaking magazine.

Cheaper by the dozen

What I learned in college was that there were at least ten areas of concentration that helped my students advance their careers; after I left college and got deeper into the age of digital reproduction—and the internet—I added video games to the list of forms which descended from printmaking, plus a portal to reach these. There will be 12 magazines in all, all under the name of PrintmakingWorld Online.
Illustration: A mock-up of what the landing pages might look like—copied from a page in Folio, the digital publishing trade magazine.

Why isn’t someone doing it?

College-level printmaking courses are taught by people like me, or else these course are taught by people who were like me and are still flummoxed because we college printmaking professor were lying to our students.
I forgive myself, however, because I, too, was taught by a lying art teacher—a man who had been given the job of teaching printmaking even though his expertise was art history. He taught from a book about etching and drypoint, paper lithography using paper plates, and a sign-maker turned art teacher. As a student, I trusted my professors. I didn’t question the notion that printing became an art form thanks to painters and sculptors.
They themselves had been taught the same idea—printmaking is a cousin of painting and drawing. What else could it be? Later, teaching college, I did some digging and, thanks to some informal teaching by people like Stephen Hazel, Rolf Nesch, Stanley W. Hayter and books like those by Ivins, Hayter and Walter Benjamin, I learned that printmaking is about four degrees removed from painting and drawing, but only two degrees from performing arts, literature, theater and all the media.


In his story about handicappers, Kurt Vonnegut described a society where fast runners had to wear sandbags on their ankles so that their special skill at running would not allow them to outshine other people who were less adept at running. Printmaking has suffered a similar treatment in most art schools, tied to drawing and painting and, as a consequent, a minor art form. To my knowledge (admittedly limited insofar I don’t hang out with college people) there are few, if any, college art departments that link the printmaking classes to performance arts.
What I will do with PrintmakingWorld Online is to restore the connection between printmaking and the performance arts. I will invite people who work with their hands and with the aid of machines and devices to search for interesting, creativity, imagination, discoveries and inventions in time and space.
Performance is usually associated with time—repetition, for example, duration, delay and other characteristics that typify music and dance, for example. A printmaker makes a plate, then prints it, and probably prints it again. They make changes in the plate, they change the color of the ink, the paper, or some element in the procedure to build and build their experience and in some way share that experience with their audience. The printmaking engages time, in other words and, thanks to photography and digital media such as the internet, they share their printmaking experience with the world.

Printmakers are handicapped, in my opinion, by four generations (80 years!) of misconstrued meaning of the printmaking medium. However, with a potential of almost half-million users in the United States alone, the PrintmakingWorld Online magazine will work to remove the limitations imposed by the art world that venerates visual arts as if painting and drawing mothered printmaking. I will bring performance to the studio and the open air.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Funding PrintmakingWorld Online  

The four F’s  

Continuing education on the new project he set for himself (a digital magazine in the field of printmaking) he takes hints in chance occurrences such as emails and online articles on the subject to puzzle out where the money will come from for the launch.  


The next section in this essay begins with, “Digital magazine publishing and US printmakers,” copied from my Mequoda study; but it originally read, “Digital magazine publishing and you.” I erased you and retyped it to emphasize the community aspect of printmaking, so it read with us instead of you.

Next I capitalized us to become US, meaning that the PrintmakingWorld Online digital magazine will come from the United States, but it will be for the whole world to engage in—just as our little Halfwood Presses have found a wide-world audience and ownership in, so far, 14 countries.

I am not in the printmaking world alone; I never was, and never will be. I have hundreds—maybe thousands—of friends and former students both in and on the edges of the printmaking world and, third (and most importantly, my family). My support has come from these “Three F’s” and some are scattered over the world.

What we need is a “Fourth F,” like the fourth leg on a stool. A three-legged stool is unstable and if you sit on the seat of a three-legged stool, it may wobble. You have to be alert and keep your balance. Every Yogi knows that is a good thing because you need to practice to keep your balance in all things in life.

However, when the platform you’re sitting on—the seat is as big as the printmaking world is big, and digital magazines are big and getting bigger, then a fourth leg is essential. One friend wrote an email after I announced the creation of our digital magazine, “Best wishes for your new enterprise, after 10 years of building the foundation, now you can concentrate on the superstructure!!”

This man happens to be an engineer, so I took his remark seriously. Engineers know a lot about structure—the four F’s. Family, friends and former students should be joined by funders. You build a superstructure on the foundation, and you must build it—the digital magazine—with funds from funders.

Digital magazine publishing and US printmakers

Mequoda, my source of information on planning PrintmakingWorld Online, urges established magazine publishers to get going with a digital edition, whether it’s a small, niche magazine like the Biblical Archeology Review, BAR or a huge one like Forbes, as examples. The monetization of our content—also known as the assets of printmakers all over the world--will go through the roof for a “plethora of reasons.”

First, the Mequoda handbook lists, is FOLIO. “Folio” means notes, digital tablet editions that open printmaking up to Millennials who are younger readers. Usually you can get either younger or older people in your reading market, but not both; but with a digital, tablet, smart phone and desktop printmaking magazine you can get the best of all worlds.

Mequoda: "In addition, with the cost of printing and mailing traditional print issues eliminated, your content can be delivered and read all over the world. Then there’s advertising. They say that advertisers are fleeing print for digital advertising. People put their items on craigslist nowadays, not in the newspaper classifieds.

Paraphrasing Mequoda, what most people don’t know is that magazine publishers can charge more for digital ads because rich content enhanced with extra photos, slideshows, videos and audio content is worth more to printmakers and other readers. Augment this with interactive social networks and it keeps people engaged longer and builds a bigger audience base.

For printmaking artists, this is probably a good thing. Plus, many types of digital systems allow for interactive buying from within an advertisement or article. There are dozens of companies out there looking for printmakers' offerings because they are in the business in translating print products for a mobiles.

My legacy for funders

Years ago, when I left the security of the UW art school teaching job, I took with me the assets I had gained. For example, the retirement program for almost all college teachers in the United States (funded by TIAA/CREF) gave me a little cushion from the get-go. I had no job, but my wife was willing to take up the breadwinner’s role.

Partly, my assets are what is called Intellectual Property, or IP. I took early retirement at 43, in the year 1985—ten years before the time when IP, as content for Internet enterprises, was being called “King.” “Content is King,” is the phrase coined by Bill Gates in a 1996 article about the Internet (January 3).

Besides my IP, I also took with me important physical assets I created on my own in the time I was at the UW—the direct results of my research into the future of printmaking. These findings were of no interest to the UW art school administration and faculty at the time.

Videotapes, for example, documenting my former students’ experiments in creative uses of TV (aka Video Art), and hundreds of artworks I made in my pursuit of a place in the known art world—the world of art galleries, museums, art competitions and collectors’ homes.

Emeralda, my kingdom

I left the UW to continue my quest for a “Perfect Studio,” and the perfect studio is based on printmaking studios where a lot is going on: Teaching, research, production and services. The research that came out of my printmaking teaching gave me the idea of a fantasy land I call Emeralda, where asset management and legacy transfer is studied and practiced as a service to the printmaking world community. Emeralda could only be developed on the web, however.

Nevertheless, it was my kingdom; but it would always be under threat of annihilation.
“My kingdom for a horse,” in Richard III by Shakespeare, refers to the need for something relatively small (a horse) to secure something very large (a kingdom). Also, the old proverb, “For want of a nail, a kingdom was lost,” is how the need or want for something small can have huge consequences in the future if it is not found.

My legacy—my intellectual property (content) and physical property is the “nail” that I offer to support the PrintmakingWorld Online. All my art and artworks by other people, all the memorabilia, the videotape archive, valuable books, and digital data—all this can be the fourth leg on the stool, the platform, or the superstructure to support the launch of the PrintmakingWorld Online magazine.

My legacy is also at risk. Without funding, all my legacy will be lost. The legacies of my family, friends and former students may be at risk, too, without a PrintmakingWorld Online magazine. This, to me, is like the metaphor of the slain horse in Richard III, or the shoe-less horse in the proverb, lost for want of a nail.

I think this idea could be crowd-sourcing at its best.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Asset Aggregation

A Printmaking Magazine online essential  

Copy-writing over one of the nation’s expert adviser’s words, the author recycles text to fit a vision of an online printmaking magazine. Assets are the most precious possession of artists, and artists who make prints have the most valuable assets of any.  

Asset Aggregation

In 2014, every publisher—including publishers of fine art prints—must study the model subscription website, called “the nexus” for all the other publishing platforms by the authors of the Digital Magazine Publishing Handbook from the Mequoda Group in Boston. Nexus means connection; therefore, the hands-on, real and personal artist who makes prints must connect to his or her world of patrons by being connected to—or creator of—a subscription website. 

Of course, the subscription website must enable the user to experience their magazine using all the criteria of traditional magazines, with the modifications such as I described in my earlier essay, Multifaceted Magazine

With a companion, global magazine website (such as my planned PrintmakingWorld Online), independent fine art print publishers will disaggregate all the magazine content of the main title—PrintmakingWorld Online—and create a searchable content database. 

Searchable magazines is like when you are confronted with a stack of back issues of, say, Journal of the Print World or Print Collector’s Newsletters and you want to get something you remember having read. You have page through each issue. It’s kind of fun, in a way, to browse.  

However, even though this can bring new things to light serendipitously, it may not be the best way to reach your audience if you are a producing artist with prints to offer. Or, if you have more to offer than prints, such as workshops, parties, presentations, etc., you definitely won’t find your audience in a stack of back issues of paper magazines.  

While the traditional paper-based print magazine could only be searchable in a linear review of past issues, a companion magazine website enables the fine art print publisher a way to offer subscribers a searchable Hyper Text Markup Language (HTML) database of content. For example, take the following story.


My wife and I happened to be going to Myrtle Edwards Park and we arrived near the pier where the cruise ships dock and passengers were streaming from there in taxis. It was like a train—bumper to bumper taxis all headed toward downtown Seattle. There were buses, too. It is likely they would be going to, among the other sites, the Pike Street Market. 

I picture some of these tourists using their smart phones and tablets to see what there is to see, in addition to the printed brochures and travel magazines. Printmaking artists, I realized, should be online and at the Pike Street Market. In the past, it was enough to be represented by an art gallery as surely there would be some tourist who would go there.  

Printmaking is, in my opinion, a public kind of art—a social art and, if you can be with your audience and printing—a performance, too. I think that stream of taxis and buses headed to town made me think of somehow getting my Mini Etching Press in front of those tourists.  

Also, it made me think that the tourists who plan their day partly by going online should find the printmaker at the Pike Street Market by way of the website, PrintmakingWorld Online. A few months later I was able to interest a printmaker in trying out for a spot at the Market, and—by the next season—he will be there.  

Illustration: Ethan Lind checks out an unfinished Mini Etching Press loaner which he will use at his spot in the Pike Street Market. He is the Market’s “Busker Etcher,” so-called because his specialty is musicians—like himself—who play on the market’s streets (buskers).

Asset management

In 1984, I advised the UW art school to build out the printmaking division to get students ready for the coming age of digital reproduction, but the administration and faculty were not interested. I persisted and, since they thought I wanted to transform printmaking, they took me out of the printmaking division and, eventually, eliminated the printmaking major—transforming it themselves (to become something by a name that is impossible to remember).

Of course, I gathered up my assets and I left. I figure I had a fortune in experiences built over my 19-years there, for which the State had paid me roughly $350,000 in salaries. Because I managed my assets--my investments in R&D and teaching--I came out smelling like a rose.

Thus, today, I can independently build out my concept for the perfect PrintmakingWorld Online magazine, designing it to publish on ten platforms and offer two separate subscriptions for each one.  

(1) One is a good old print magazine, for a linear, one-hour, once-a-month kind of experience.

(2) The other is a persistent, online database that is like a reference book or even an encyclopedia, if you like, for researching previously written but not necessarily published on paper editorial content.  

Too much emphasis, in my opinion, is devoted to advertising in a “hidden message” manner. Magazine publishers who publish only on dwindling natural resources must give their readers preparation for making a purchase of a consumer good or service.  

Advisers like those at Mequoda offer the same advice for online magazines—treat everyone like a consumer because, unless you are a hands-on producer of prints, that’s what audiences are. Thus, artists like Ethan—who is used to playing for his supper—now can be in both worlds—the online magazine and the public space, an artist-in-action, a real art activist.  

Mequoda group recommends the launch of a second website — a truly subscription website — that would enable subscribers those “nine magazine user experiences” that Mequoda Group described in their articles online.  

End note

At this point I got tired of copy-writing over the Mequoda’s original essay; what follows is their original text, which bears thinking. - BR


“As one studies the article about the nine experiences, make note of the difference between a “subscription” to the “reference book” website and a subscription to the magazine content website. The magazine website would enable users to buy and download individual issues or a 12-month subscription.
“The magazine website would power the digital issues, viewable on the iPad and other tablet platforms, and would have a searchable archive of all the editorial content that appeared in the magazine as a subset of the reference book website.
“The subscription magazine website and the subscription online reference book are different products with different uses. These differences are detailed in our handbook on subscription website strategy. The Consumer Reports reference website is used exactly like a book. The average subscriber accesses it 2.7 times annually for 5-10 minutes each time.

“In contrast, the average Consumer Reports magazine subscriber spends 50-60 minutes per month with each new issue. Subscribers access the online reference book for solutions. They read the magazine for mastery. Users can buy either the subscription magazine, or the subscription reference book, or both.”

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Printmaking Zine Seen 

Future of a printmaking online magazine 

In the heyday of printmaking, as hundreds and thousands of us who were from 20 to 60 years of age enjoyed a boom in the field of printmaking due to post WWII economic growth, we spoke of the “printmaking scene.” We are poised for a new “Printmaking Seen.” 

Crow or human, creativity doesn’t change

We watched a crow on YouTube as he figured out how to solve an 8-part puzzle and win his reward. As I ready for the launch of the world’s first printmaking magazine online, I think how like that crow we are, driven toward a reward to the extent that we create solutions to problems and overcome obstacles.
For the crow, it was short stick versus long stick, two pebbles versus one pebble, and so forth. His first challenge was to get the first stick, and then use the first, short little stick, to get a longer stick. That crow must have practiced to achieve the knowledge of getting the short stick out of the string in which it was bound.
I am like that crow, figuring out how to get the first thing I need to launch an exciting new online magazine which is inspired by printmaking and which inspires people to think about printmaking in ways that are suitable—and sustainable—in the 21st Century.

First, what is the reward?

The crow wanted the prize—a piece of meat; through many trial-and-error sessions, the trainer taught the crow how to get rewards. Maybe I am like that crow--who was hatched to be a mere crow. I was born and raised to be a farmer,but since I was captivated by comic book graphics, record jackets and movie posters, I was tempted by a great notion of a better prize.
I credit my father (whose birthday is today) for showing me how to win prizes in livestock competitions, how to take apart machines or fix them, sell scrap metal and pumpkins to make extra cash, and many more things—including a love of Nature and growing things, and about birth and death and the cycles of life.
However, my school teachers saw—among all the many farm kids like me who were in their classes—one who was very good at drawing: me. I got more praise from my teachers and peers for my art than I did for my prize livestock or mechanical skills. Plus, there was artistic talent on my mother’s side. A painting by my Great Grandmother Jennie Davis had always been in our home, and my mother painted watercolors.
At an early age, I thought that to be an artist must be a fine thing—better, probably, than farming with its gritty work, meager payback, and no praise. There must be a better life, I thought, a better reward; if only I could find a way to get it. Like the crow in the video, I needed a short stick.

Stick to it

Farming teaches you persistence, so that, when I left the farm to go to college and pursue art, I had persistence going for me. If an art teacher made us spend hours staring at the same thing and drawing every detail, it was not as difficult for me as it is for some. If you had to take courses that seemed to have nothing to do with art, then I would do it if I were rewarded with a degree or a certificate and pursue my love of art—not end up back on the farm.
When the Vietnam conflict was taking young men like me, I stayed the course I set, which was to be a college art teacher. Luckily, a position opened up at the last minute and saved me from the draft. I taught for nineteen years. What a prize that was!
It must have felt like that for that crow when it first saw the connection between getting a stick and using it to rake up a piece of meat. It was a generation when printmaking-as-art was booming and printmaking classes gained enrollment. My students were intrigued with making images by any means other than drawing and painting. Mixing media came with Pop Art and new technologies; printmaking served me as a starting point to extend the printing to electronic and digital arts. My students showed me links to performing arts, too.

The longer stick

What is the “longer stick” that I need to get to the next step—making an online printmaking magazine—come about? It took fifty years for me to get the “short stick”, which is the reward of understanding that—ever lucky in love and my passion for printmaking—I have a vision of things just over the horizon in the field of printmaking.
Is this stick, my vision and the persistence to follow it, adequate? Printmaking, as I experienced it then, was buoyed up by painters in a healthy economy. Publishers were investing millions to make large-scale, multiple color prints by name artists; profits were astounding. Universities responded and built up their printmaking departments—buying presses at $25,000 apiece for their faculties’ facilities.
If the economic health of the US had sustained, then printmaking—and the careers of students who took printmaking in college—might be more secure today. Printmaking studios would flourish and artists would sell out their editions via numerous art gallery shows, and printmaking exhibitions would be popping up all over. There would be a printmaking magazine of renown, plus an online printmaking magazine.

A different path

I want an online printmaking magazine that compares with Ceramics Today, or ArtNews. However, I do not want to copy these “Legacy” magazines, i.e., digital versions of paper magazines.
On the other hand, mainstream magazines and newspapers like Wired and The Wall Street Journal are too large-scale to use as models for a niche such as printmaking. Printmaking shares something with ceramics, however, because printmaking is an experience-based art. People make prints for many of the same reasons people make pots. It is fun, and the rewards of the experience are larger than the financial rewards. Also, they do it again and again, step-wise.

I would have been a potter had it not been a field that is so crowded; also, my hand-eye coordination helped me win attention as a drawer. College—those lecture classes that had little appeal to me at first—taught me something about content in art, literature, and history. At the outset of the digital boom of the 1980s, content became king and the basis for the new economy of the age of digital reproduction and the internet. I am glad I mingled new technologies with traditional printmaking when I did, but I still have the crow’s dilemma: How do I get the longer stick?