And so my sketchbook saga continues…
Shortly after publishing my last Epson printed sketchbook, “Unfinished Business”, I was contacted by Ross Ritchie of Boom Studios about doing a sketchbook for him. We decided to use a combination of the material from my first three books (since the print runs were so low, the material would still be fresh to most buyers) and a few new pieces to create my 4th sketchbook. We cleverly named it The Aaron Lopresti Sketchbook! This ended up selling well over 1,000 copies as it was distributed through Diamond and other outlets.
I followed this up in 2004 with an 8.5 X11 64 page perfect bound book that had both sketches and finished illustratioins in it, titled “Imagine This”. I actually rolled the dice and paid a real life printer to print me 500 copies which I signed and numbered and distributed through Diamond as well. It took about two years but I sold them all.
That led to The Aaron Lopresti Sketchbook vol.2 in 2007. This I was my most successful self published sketchbook in terms of selling out fastest. It also may be the best of my sketchbooks in terms of overall quality of the interior content.
You may be wondering why I have not posted cover images of the fore mentioned books. After the 2007 book I started taking a hard look at the subject matter of my work and what I was really presenting myself as and I wasn’t to happy with myself. All those books had bikini-clad jungle girls on the cover, a clear bit of exploitation to try and sell copies. When I googled my name and all that came up was “girly” art I really had to take a step back and re-assess what I was in comics for. That combined with my Christian convictions as well as my young daughter looking over my shoulder when I was drawing, made me turn away from the “anything for a buck mentality”. So I moved forward with the intent of portraying female characters as beautiful and strong but with respect. The same way I would portray a male character.
So in 2009 I went bold and did not put a female character on the cover of my “Saved From the Trash” sketchbook and paid the price. I did sell a good amount of copies over time and in fact they are still available on this website but it was slow going. I also put a lot of varying material in the book including a lot of humor and non-comic related images. The result I think is a really strong book. I printed up 1,000 copies instead of 500, put a bar code on it and sold it through Amazon along with Diamond. Definitely a great learning experience.