A special edition reissue of The Sleeping Giant has been in the pipelines for two years. Because the original film – old technology equivalent of today’s scans/computer files – PLUS the original art for four of the spreads were lost in a flood in 2002, it’s been quite a feat to get it back together ready for reprint. At first I was just overseeing the process, then at some point I ended up in charge of production…
The book had to be redesigned, rescanned, re-blooming-everything, but earlier this month it made it to the printing stage. Myself and Michael went along to watch it start its journey through the printing process, not something we normally get to do as picturebooks are usually printed in China. The Giant is being printed here in Ireland by the good folk at Hudson Killeen. The print job being gathered now has four sections including the cover – you can see a sample of each section hanging above the machine for reference. At the bottom you can see the gathered sections coming through to be stapled and then trimmed.
The Sleeping Giant won’t be gathered on this machine. It will be sown, not stapled, and the cover will be ‘drawn’ on – glued – so this part of the process will be sent out to be done elsewhere.
A last look down at the floor. One section of the book will be printed today, the other a couple of days later, and the cover a few days after that. The press is kept running with a queue of jobs lined up 24 hours a day for 5 days a week. Time for us to let the folk at Hudson Killeen get on with it while we go get a late breakfast!
Two weeks later my first copy of the special edition arrives and it’s looking great. It really is fantastic to have this twenty-two year old book in my hands again, looking all fresh and fine in its updated cover and with new typefaces inside and out. Meanwhile my niece Ann, the little girl in the book, has just had her 30th birthday.
Happy birthday, Ann. Happy birthday, Giant. So glad you’re awake again!
PS: Picturebooks can also be 24, 48, 64 pages long, but always multiples of 8. A 32 page book may also be printed on a single sheet – like the one in the top photo, but twice the size. This depends on the paper size the press can take.