Should I Create An Artist Book?

I received an email the other day from one of my favourite artists Erin Hanson, in this email I saw that she had published a book of her work called 'Open Impressionism'.

The book looks stunning but it got me thinking. Why create an artist book and will it really make a difference? I dropped a note to Erin with these questions and below you can read what I discovered.

Interview with Erin Hanson about creating an Artist Book

1 – What made you decide to create a book?

It allows another angle for collectors and fans to enjoy my work and a controlled way to tell my story cohesively. I was looking for another avenue for my work to be experienced and a book seemed like a wonderful option.

2 – How did you go about creating it? What were your first steps?

The process has evolved and fine tuned over the years. The first and most important step is being inspired by a theme and a message. One of my most passionate themes has been concept of Open Impressionism, a phrase I coined years ago to allow me to create unrestricted by genres. My first book was Open Impressionism Volume I (Volume Two was recently released). I have also published a book on my Wine Country paintings.

The next step is the process of selecting the content; paintings, images, creating or compiling quotes and background information. This means thinking through the overall message and that each piece of the puzzle contributes to the overall story.

The book itself is a work of art, so I put much attention on its presentation, layout, the quality of the binding, the quality of the dust jacket, etc. The book is in part a tactile experience, so it is important to me that the paper feel rich and soft, and that the pigments of the print are rich and strong just like the original oils.

3 – In your eyes – what is the main purpose of creating this book?

Frankly, I want everyone to be able to enjoy my work, and I know that not everyone can afford an original oil painting. A book and high quality prints are generally more accessible and after some time fans of my books may come back and buy a commission or original piece of work.

In his day-and-age there is so much control any professional can take, there are so many resources and I decided quite some time ago to use each high quality resource possible to share my works so that they may be enjoyed by as many as possible.


I think Erin's answers are really interesting and I really like the idea of being able to tell your story in a controlled but high quality way. The process sounds like a huge amount of fun and the final output highly satisfying.

I think as an artist, you have to be at a certain point in your career for this approach to work. You need a certain level of following which will ensure that you can generate enough interest to sell your book.

She also has a handful of other books for sale in her shop.

One day, I would look to be in a position to do something similar and know that I could leave a tangible legacy of my story, told in the way I want it told.

Something to look forward to!

Thanks again to Erin, who always responds promptly and with thoughtful answers to my questions!
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