It Was A Learning Experience After All

This week I started making the covers for the edition of A Clear Midnight. I had already done a test copy which had turned out perfectly. Here’s a view of the back.

I opened the file in Illustrator, and without actually looking at it, printed the entire run of covers for the edition. Sixteen of them.

That was a mistake, or rather, every copy had a mistake.

I had used white masking to alter the original painted image into the diamond shape I needed for the cover. Somehow the masking had shifted. But everything was locked. How could this possibly be?!

I went in and unlocked everything and found the masking and moved it back where it belonged. I printed a test copy.

The masking worked but the cover was too large.

I went back into the program and resized the cover, then saved it. I double checked all the measurements, then decided to make the cover a teeny bit larger just to be sure the book wasn’t squashed at the edges, then saved again. I printed a test copy.

The cover was the smaller size, the second last thing I had saved.

I re-checked the measurements on screen. They were the correct size.

I closed the program. I re-opened the program and re-opened the file.

The cover was the smaller size, the second last thing I had saved.

I re-sized the cover and saved it again, this time using the save control in the drop down menu rather than Command S on the keyboard.

I closed the program. I re-opened the program and the file. It was the correct size.

I hate learning experiences, but I think I have a possible explanation for what has been happening. I use key strokes for commands whenever possible. Illustrator is not, for the most part, set up to use keystroke commands. I thought some of them —like Command S— worked but apparently not, or not reliably. (This despite the fact that when you use Command S, the asterisk in the title at the top of the file window disappears after a slight pause indicating that you have saved the file.)

Why have I only discovered this now?

Normally I save my Illustrator files to PDF format before printing, thereby ensuring that things don’t get accidentally moved/altered. I didn’t bother this time as it is an extra step and I just wanted to get the job done quickly. To save to PDF format, you have to use the menu. Therefor I have previously been using the menu’s Save command for the final version of a file. Lesson learned: don’t use keystroke commands in Illustrator.

All the covers are now printed correctly and some are even cut and assembled.

By next week I am hoping to have something to show from more playing with bits of paper to make star shapes.

In other book arts news:

Have you ever thought about taking a Skillshare on-line class in bookbinding?

Judith Hoffman took Hilke Kurzke’s class on indirect tacketing. You can read about Judith’s experience here. You can find links to Hilke’s on-line courses here.

In garden news:

It is the height of summer and we could use a decent rainfall, but some things in the garden are doing well so far.

Basil. (You can find a pesto recipe at the end of this previous post.)

Burgundy beans.

Rainbow chard.


Watermelon. (This will definitely need more water to grow!)

Lovely Assistant Kemuri inspecting the parsley for grasshoppers.

Nasturtiums. (You can eat both the leaves and the flowers. They taste peppery. The latter look spectacular on top of salads.)

And to finish off, a sunflower.


About Byopia Press

I have been working in the book arts field for more than twenty years, and operating Byopia Press with my husband David since the late 1990s. I began producing artist's books and altered books in 2004.
This entry was posted in artist's books, book arts, bookbinding and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to It Was A Learning Experience After All

  1. dinahmow says:

    The garden and the cat and eating nasturtiums I ubderstand perfectly. The key-stroke commands and wayward computer programmes? Nope! TV remote control doo-flickies? Nope!
    So I am ever grateful for people like you who also go through the agony of the “learning experience.”


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