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Production Narrative

by J. Drucker

A number of difficulties arose in production of this book. The first was the cutting of the tissue paper. Putting it into the guillotine cutter and keeping it flat, even, and straight was almost impossible. We used quite a number of extra sheets around the tissue as packing. Printing the tissue letterpress wasn't difficult, though handling it required some care. The images were drawn in ballpoint, with blue ink, so photographing them in the copy camera took some extra effort.

Critical Analysis

by J. Drucker

Design Features

typographic: Stymie light, nicely set and printed in color. The type wraps around each image differently, shaping the text on the pages.

imagery: The images are carefully drawn caricatures.

openings: Not the best feature of the design, since the verso of the white pages is left blank.

Critical Discussion

Not a great work, but clever, mean-spirited caricatures of four people. As a book-object, it was sufficient to its purpose -- meant to look like a party favor, designed to have the ephemerality and immediate appeal of a birthday present. Successful enough on its own terms, but the terms are pretty narrow. This is an early book, done to make something and see it through, to realize an idea in a short space of time, have the satisfaction of doing some drawings, writing, and pulling them together.

The Surprise Party Or: on not going not ongoing


Johanna Drucker

type: initiating


born: United States
active: United States
citizenship: United States

birth: 1952-05-30

Publication Information

edition type: editioned

publisher: self-published

place: West Coast Print Center, Berkeley, California.

publication: 1977-00-00

edition size: 120 copies.


horizontal: 10 inches closed

vertical: 7 inches closed

depth: .1 inches closed

Production Information

production means:
offset (local) Images
letterpress (local) Text

binding: other Tied together with ribbon.

bookBlock: paper A combination of multi-colored tissue paper and substantial off-white opaque paper.

ink (local)

other materials: white ribbon tied over the staples on the spine.


general description: The book measures 7 inches tall and 10 inches wide, with a depth of approximately .1 inches. The book is bound on the left, opening on the right; it is held together with two staples, and white ribbon has been tied over top of them.

format: codex (AAT)

cover: 10" x 7", with a double layer of paper. A thin, translucent off-white sheet with the title printed on it in red over a drawing of a party scene on off-white paper. The binding, staples covered with white ribbon is visible on the right.

color: yes


pagination: unpaginated 18 pages

numbered?: unnumbered

signed?: unsigned

Exhibition Information

exhibition history: First exhibited at the Berkeley Art Center in 1976 in a group show of Bay Area artists' books. Rebis Press (Betsy Davids and Jim Petrillo), Poltroon Press (Alistair Johnston and Frances Butler), Arif Press (Wesley Tanner) and others showed work. We all hung our books on strings so that they dangled into the room at reading height.

Related Documents

manuscript type: other

location: artist's archive

note: The drawings are still in the artist's collection.