Get ready for some fun. Part planner, part notebook, “My Best 2012 Ever” by Dineke Von Boven is a fanciful hodgepodge of original illustrations, travel memorabilia, and ultra-creative customized layouts. Take a look: No two spreads are alike and each is a small work of art.
Recently we caught up with Dineke to ask her about her book, her art, and exactly what inspired the whimsy behind her book. Here’s a snippet from our conversation.
Blurb: Is your art and bookmaking a hobby or a profession?
Dineke: Sort of both. I’ve always been interested in the arts and studied textile design and art at the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands. After graduating, I worked in India for two years as a designer, stylist, and doing volunteer work. I’m now back in the Netherlands and making books simply because I like to.
Blurb: How did you hear about Blurb?
Dineke: I’d made a planner with another book company and had it printed as a photo book. When it came I was extremely disappointed. The paper was too glossy to write on. I had to carry special pens but there were smudge marks everywhere.
One day while searching the Internet, I found Blurb and was so excited. Finally I could make my own book – with paper I could write on – and at a price I could afford.
Blurb: So how long did it take you to make your first planner with Blurb?
Dineke: I worked on my 2011 planner for almost three months and sometimes I could hardly sleep because I kept thinking of all the wonderful things I could add like special holidays, birthdays, addresses for friends and family, a moon phase chart. The end result was about 200 pages!
I took my planner with me everywhere that year, including on a three-month trip to India, and it grew thicker as I glued concert and museum tickets, and other random souvenirs to the pages.
People saw my planner book and asked if they could order a copy. Since I’d added so many personal addresses and such, this wasn’t possible so I promised to make one for 2012 that I’d make public and that they could buy.
Blurb: When did you start working on your 2012 planner?
Dineke: I started in August and already had orders. By that time Blurb had introduced the Pocket Size which made it even more exciting for me and more affordable for anyone wanting to buy it.
Blurb: Where did you get your inspiration for your creative page layouts? They’re wonderful.
Dineke: I have a thing about store-bought planners. They always look so empty and it feels so uncomfortable when a week has passed and the pages are still empty. So I made my planners with art on every page but still plenty of room to write.
I also love books that feel loved and used. So I took photographs of actual book spreads and used those as backgrounds to work on. I then created full page layouts that looked like an open book, complete with creases and torn pages.
For the address section, I scanned used envelopes. Basically, I just let my imagination run free and incorporated my drawings, collages, and photos from my travels.
Blurb: What bookmaking tool did you use and do you have any tips to share?
The best tip I can share is to have a friend check out your book before you order it.
Blurb: How are you marketing your book?
Dineke: I’ve used Blurb BookShow and posted it on my Facebook page. I also sent emails to friends and family with a link to my book detail page on Blurb. And since my book became a staff pick at Blurb, the metrics have skyrocketed.
Blurb: So what would you tell anyone hoping to make a book with Blurb.
Dineke: Just start and experiment, but be aware that this might turn into an addiction!