Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Mock Up as Art

A drawn botanical pattern, with sets of eyes peeking out from within.At some stage in their production, most books get a "mock up." They are usually pretty ugly creations: chunks of galley text that are glued onto a backing with spaces left for illustrations that are sometimes there and more often not. But Abner Dean, Dartmouth Class of 1931, took the mock up to the level of art.

A handmade cover for Not Far From the Jungle, featuring green foliage on a yellow background. To its right is a visual similar finished book.
The manuscript he submitted for his Not Far From the Jungle (Cleveland: World Publishing Company, 1956) is fully bound, hand lettered, and contains an original watercolor for each opening. Topping it off, the end papers and cover are done by hand and the book jacket is also complete in watercolor.

It is an amazing bit of work that makes you appreciate how carefully Dean constructed the physical manifestations of his light verse and comic drawings.

A poem titled "Lines on Lions." To its left is a watercolor illustration of a lion seated at a desk and shouting into a phone.
We only recently acquired this, so it is not yet cataloged, but you can asking for it at the Rauner Reference desk. If you want more, we have dozens of Dean's books and his papers (ML-44).

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