Today we got an email from an Idiots’Books sympathizer embedded on the Williams College campus.
Apparently, our Ephropology posters have landed in the first-year dorms. And apparently, students are actually hanging them on the walls.
Below the AP Scholar Award? Next to Gorey’s Gashleycrumb Tinies? We’re not sure which is the greater honor.
And adjacent to a poster of that guy from that popular show? We’re a hit.
As for the person responsible for the shrine to Ephropology below, either he really likes our poster, or he really doesn’t like looking at his door.
Either way, we’re going to take it as a compliment.
Apparently, various offices at Williams are planning Bucket List-themed events for the semester ahead, including a scavenger hunt in which students will Instagram themselves doing as many of the Bucket List items in an afternoon as they can.
We’re used to making a book, sending it out, and not really knowing it’s fate.
It’s fun to see photographic proof that a thing we made is out there in the world, actually being used as intended.
If you’ve been meaning to buy your copy, here’s the link to the Bucket List page in our store.
For those of you not in the know, Matthew and I worked on a cool project for our alma mater last fall. We designed a poster that will be handed out to freshmen that is a bucket list of sorts – a checklist of a bunch of things that alumni have said students should see or do before graduating. It’s called “Ephropology 101: The Williams Bucket List” and can be bought here. Ok. Now that I’m done shilling, I can get to the point.
We worked with Ashley on this project. Ashley has her hands in all kinds of pies, from working with the alumni office at Williams to doing her own design projects to running a photography boot camp (ooh, sign me up!) to repurposing vintage (read: cast-off) clothes from her mother’s attic . The woman is an inferno of awesomeness (she has two kids, two dogs, and chickens, too). She also blogs about it all, and in a much more timely fashion than we do (I have been meaning to write this post since January 1! Holy crap that’s a whole month ago already!! She also beat us to the posting punch about our visit to Williamstown by two days. Embarrassing – ). Anyway – at the changeover of the new year, she wanted to change up her header and asked me if I could tackle it. Her only requirements were that it showed her two dogs, some chickens and a cart wheel.
This is what I came up with (I confess, I love it):
One of her dogs, the noble Ursa, recently lost a leg to cancer, so Ashley asked that I show her in her tri-pawd state. I just hope I did the girl right.
Read all about Ashley, her brood, and her big ideas over at Blog A La Cart. She also happens to be a great writer and photographer, so prepare to be charmed.
To the many, many of you who kindly ordered copies of our Williams poster: we picked them up from the printer last week and are pleased as proverbial punch with how they came out. The colors are lush. The blacks are black. The paper is pleasing to touch.
The posters have been rolled and stuffed into tubes and will be heading your way first thing Wednesday morning.
We still have plenty left, but not nearly as many as we once did. Which is to say, if you’re interested in getting one, better not wait too long.
Here’s the link. Bring a smile to the face of a fellow Eph (or to your own).
And even this?
Apologies for those of you who did not go to Williams College, don’t care a lick about Williams College, and are sick and tired of hearing us yammer on about our Williams College poster project, but Robbi and I have, at long last, reached the exciting conclusion of six months of hard work.
Several of you have asked whether the posters will be printed and ready to ship by Christmas, and we feel you deserve an answer.
The truth is, we’re not quite sure and don’t want to make any promises. At the same time, we want nothing more than to make you happy.
What we propose is this: anyone who would like to give the poster as a holiday gift can click here to preorder. Once your order has been placed, we’ll be happy to send you a PDF that you can use to print out a small-scale stand-in on your desktop printer, put in an envelope, and give to your loved one on Christmas morning, with assurances that the genuine article will arrive within a few weeks. We expect to have the final posters no later than January 7.
In other news, the proofs arrived from the printer today, and we think they look great.
There are two versions on two different types of paper. The smaller poster is 18″ x 24″ and printed on a Mohawk Via Felt a rich, velvety matte stock. We’ll be selling this one for $20.
This version includes small yellow circles next to all the items so that anyone who wants to can use it as a checklist (the subtitle of this poster is “The Williams Bucket List”).
The larger poster is a fine art print at 24″ x 32,” printed on thick (120lb), textured, archival, 100% rag watercolor paper with archival ink. Because of the fancy paper, and the inkjet printing process, the colors are especially lush. We removed the little yellow dots from this version to give it more of an high-end feel. Anyone considering framing will probably want to go in this direction. We’ll be selling this one for $100.
Here they are, side-by-side, to give you a sense of relative scale.
Iggy, who is generally a penny-pincher but also a total sucker for fancy paper, is still struggling to make her choice.
We’ll let you know the moment we get the actual posters from the printer, but if you are feeling awash in holiday generosity and want to get your order in now, click here to preorder.
And click here to link to a large-scale version where you can zoom in and do some perusing and click here for a glimpse into the sausage-making.
And once you’ve placed your order, just email me to request a PDF to print and put under the tree.
And, if you happen to be looking for that one-of-a-kind Christmas gift for kids, check out our other new venture, Bobbledy Books, a picture books and music club for kids. You sign them up, and over the course of a year, kids get five books, a five-headed crayon, a birthday card, and an album of original children’s music by fellow Williams ’97 Drew Bunting.
Here’s that poster again.
Today was a major deadline in the barn. The final artwork of our Williams poster was due. Robbi finished the black and white version weeks ago and has been scribbling away day and night ever since. At 3:37am, in the wee hours of this morning, she finished and fell into an exhausted heap. Moments ago, I woke her up so that we could take a final look before sending the file for review.
Before we send our books to the printer, we make a printed proof on our desktop laser printer. But the poster is far too large to print out in one piece. So Robbi printed it on 9 sheets of paper and carefully stitched it together with an x-acto knife and scotch tape.
She is careful and such. I am not. So she does the cutting and taping, etc. while I stand around making “helpful comments.”
It was kind of like assembling a jigsaw puzzle.
Once all the pieces were connected, Robbi took a moment to revel.
Then a few moments to admire.
Before getting back to the reveling.
We love how the poster turned out. It’s fun to see this place we both love so much depicted in a completely new way. And so many of our favorite memories are represented. We’re looking forward to sharing it with you. Soon, we promise. Just have to get it printed and then we’ll add it to the store.
Robbi and I went to Williams College, founded by Ephraim Williams, which makes us Ephs. Because we are Ephs, and because we make stuff together, Ashley Weeks Cart of the Williams College Office of Alumni Relations (and creative lifestyle blogger extraordinaire) asked us to create a poster detailing all the things that a Williams student “must do” before graduating. This list was compiled via a massive social media outreach to Williams alums. Some of you were kind enough to contribute memories and recommendations. Williams sent us a list of 450 items, and we picked the ones that were cited most often (thus most beloved, in our estimation). The result, a compilation of 80 or so things to do in the proverbial “Purple Valley.” We’ve dubbed it “The Williams Bucket List.”
The first draft of the poster is complete. We sent it to Ashley yesterday, and she gave us her blessing to share little bits of it with you. This post will surely be more exciting to those of you who actually went to Williams, but perhaps you’ll enjoy Robbi’s illustrations even if you didn’t.
Most of the poster is still in black and white, but Robbi did this small color study to give Ashley a sense of what it would look like.
How many of you Williams folk did, indeed, take a class on the fourth floor of Hopkins?
It was amazing how many items on the “must do” list had to do with mountains.
Here you go. Mountains AND food.
Good old Chapin Hall.
Here are two things I did not do. Three, actually.
I did not take a tutorial. I did not go tubing in the Green River. And I did not go tubing in the Green River naked.
I did, however, do this. As often as I could.
These are just a few sketches from a sprawling 18″ x 24″ jumble that vaguely resembles a scene from a “Where’s Waldo?” book.
The sketch approved, Robbi is moving on to the coloring. Which takes almost as long as drawing the thing in the first place. Wish her luck.
When it’s done, this poster will be handed out to all the first year students, a kind of challenge to them to make the most of their time at Williams.
It will also be available for anyone to purchase right here on Idiots’Books. We’re not quite sure when this will be, but probably some time early in the new year.
If you know what an Eph is, this post is for you. If you don’t know, and care to find out, Eph is short for Ephraim, the first name of Ephraim Williams, the ill-fated benefactor of my alma mater Williams College. Eph Williams wrote up his will on the way to do battle a long time ago, bequeathing his fortunes for the founding of a small college in northwestern Massachusetts (provided the college and the town it was in be named after him). Eph went to battle and promptly died. But many of us are grateful for the bequest, on account of the fine time we had living for four years in the town that bears his name.
Onward to the business at hand: Robbi and I have been commissioned by the visionary Ashley Weeks Cart (be sure to check out her blog) at the Williams Office of Alumni Relations to create a special something to welcome first-year students to the Purple Valley. Basically, we will be making an illustrated map/checklist of all the things that a Williams student must do before graduation, a kind of guide to getting the most out of one’s years in Williamsmtown.
Eating every flavor of Hot Tomatoes Pizza, for example. Or taking a sunrise hike up Pine Cobble. Or stealing books from the Amherst College library. You name it. The resulting piece will be a detailed, sprawling poster that features all of these items roughly related to one another geographically, with short descriptions, and a way to check off an item when it’s done.
To get the best possible list of ideas, we are asking all you Ephs to share your favorite experiences—at Williams, in Williamstown, or anywhere in the surrounding areas. What is it that you would have the next generation of dewy-eyed freshman do as they get to know that place you love so well?
Please share your thoughts as comments for all to enjoy. If you are not an Eph and would like to make stuff up, that is also perfectly acceptable. We place no restrictions here at Idiots’Blog. At least not this early in the morning.
FYI all you Bombadil fans out there: All That the Rain Promises will be available on vinyl starting July 24. You can pre-order here now if you need the next month or so try to find a record player to buy.
Here’s a sneak peek, compliments of Bryan and Instagram:
Be particularly impressed by the bone-colored vinyl. Be somewhat less impressed by the album art and insert by yours trulies. Order now!
For our 15th reunion, I was the lucky alumna who was offered a shot at designing the class gift: a gigantic, several-serving-size ceramic mug. The requirements were that it needed to include our class year info on it as well as a picture of “Rock Fan” – a piece of public art by David Hammons that was installed in front of the Neo-Classical Chapin Hall for our freshman year.
It caused all kinds of uproar and controversy within the community (as all good art should, I suppose) and took a turn into infamy when a mystery collaborator (likely from the outraged college community) spray painted it purple (college colors). Apparently Hammons liked the contribution.
Anyway. Here’s my illustration.
And here’s my mug.
I kinda love how it turned out. And I also kinda love that even though Rock Fan has long since been disassembled, it’s still stirring in the wind, fifteen years later. Art is the bomb.
It has been brought to our attention (thank you, Sam!) that some copies of our first real published book (one that wasn’t published by us) have officially hit the streets. Apparently, if you pre-ordered The Super Hero Squad Flips Out! from Amazon, you should have already gotten your copy. We did not pre-order, so we’re still waiting to see the real deal – but we did get our hands on a proof from the publisher.
I pretty much flipped out:
Matthew was able to contain himself, and perused the 216 different story combinations with a critical eye:
We were basically asked to do the book because we have some experience working with these mix and match/exquisite corpse-style books (see Ten Thousand Stories, After EverAfter), not because we are particularly well-known in the Marvel Universe. Basically, there are 6 stories along with 6 matching illustrations which are divided into three horizontal strips. Each of the strips can be turned as if it were its own page, thus mixing different parts of each story.
The trick to this kind of book lies in making the writing and the illustrations cross over the page breaks naturally (for the writing, this means grammatically, for the illustrations, it means that lines and colors have to line up nicely) – which, it turns out, is so much of a trick that LB Kids actually sought out little old us to do it for them. This was almost a year ago now, which is why it had to be brought to our attention that the books were out (not that we’re already so jaded about publishing our first book that we weren’t keeping tabs). In all fairness, we were told they weren’t being released until September.
Matthew’s father pointed out that he wasn’t even sure we had worked on the book, until he found our credit in miniscule type on the back:
Further evidence that our names really aren’t the big draw on this particular book. But we’re happy to ride the coattails (or are they called “capes”?) of the Super Hero Squad any day.
So happy, in fact, that we decided to celebrate with another piece of Hurricane Pie. We’re now calling it Super Pie, since it seems to be invincible.
We’re really not sure we’re going to be able to defeat it.
If you’d like to get your own copy of The Super Hero Squad Flips Out! CLICK HERE. Amazon will ship it directly to your house in a nice sturdy box in no time at all, unlike the shoddy manila envelope service you’d get if it were an Idiots’Book.