15 Oct 2022 5:38 AM | Susan Viguers (Administrator)

This story is continued from the previous post

For years I’ve split my time between a graphic design career and making paintings. My first design job was at a magazine, then I moved through a couple different agencies over the years before going freelance. This meant that I had the tools, knowledge, and experience to create a professional-quality book of my paintings. The biggest challenge in making a book wouldn’t be the design process, it would be the funding.

In order to produce a first edition of books, I’d be pretty far in the hole before I had a single sale. Even a small run of small books could cost thousands of dollars. What I needed were pre-orders. If collectors could buy their copy ahead of time, I could run the edition once I had enough orders confirmed in advance.

With the next Lent quickly approaching, I decided to use that season to collect pre-orders through the popular crowdfunding platform Kickstarter. (Forty days is a little long for a crowdfund, but that number carried so much meaning for the project—I couldn’t resist making that connection.) I put together a marketing plan to launch my Kickstarter campaign complete with photo-realistic mock-ups of the book and a rough production schedule.

See the crowdfunding campaign webpage and watch Brian’s overview video on Kickstarter.

I contacted a videographer and an editor and began to plan a project overview video explaining what I made, what I learned, and how excited I was to turn it into a book. I set tiered offerings that could be added on to a book pre-order including postcard and poster sized art prints, and I promised to autograph them.

In the first 24 hours, I received enough pre-orders to get the project 40% funded. Later that week it passed 50%. After 40 days of waiting, thanks to family, friends, and strangers, the project was fully funded. With the initial hurdle overcome, I had a new challenge: real orders to fulfill.

First, I set up a photoshoot in soft natural light and captured detailed, high-resolution images of each painting. I found that lighting the surface of each work at a slight angle helped the canvas texture and the metallic gold accents stand out well. Then I painstakingly touched up each image and color-corrected it to look as accurate as possible to the original paintings.

Laying out the book was fairly intuitive. I kept the pages sparse with a clean white background and simple, classic typefaces. I wanted to print the paintings at actual size: 4 inches square. This would lend a sense of realism, allowing the viewer to clearly see the canvas texture and brush marks. The 40 paintings have been laid out across nearly twice as many pages. This left enough room to intersperse short phrases of poetic prayer that Victoria wrote. (Learn more about Victoria and her involvement in this project in Part 1 of this post.) I also included introductory pages and a few closing statements that tie in with Good Friday and Easter at the end of Lent. Instead of typical page numbers, I decided to number each painting. This would allow a viewer to keep track of the passing of Lent with a daily painting.

For the cover, I planned a contrasting dark dust jacket that featured metallic gold accents from one of the paintings.

Adapting this collection of paintings into an artist book is the perfect form to naturally pace a viewer slowly through the collection, allowing them to consider each painting one at a time and interact with the work at actual size—it’s the next best thing to seeing the full collection in person. As of this writing, I’ll be getting a proof copy from the printer any day now, and I’m eager to preview it.

Successfully launching my first crowdfund was stressful and thrilling. I’m thankful to see the support for this project, and I’m honored for the opportunity to create my first artist book from a collection that has been so meaningful for me creatively and spiritually.

Solemn Season is still in production with expected delivery dates in early December. Around that time, a limited number of signed, first-edition copies will be available at

Brian Behm is an artist working at the intersection of abstract and sacred art. His home studio is in the woods near Durham, North Carolina, and his work can be found online on Instagram or at his website where he sells work directly to collectors and accepts commissions.

This post was moderated by Kathy Hettinga.

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