• Books
  • The making of Incidental Architect. The 5% Ready Book by Maxim Degtyarev

    Overview• Process

    Idea and sketches

    The idea to draw a series of narrow tall houses is born suddenly while waiting for an order at a café.

    One by one, the houses are sketched in the notepad. Some are later discarded, others modified. At the end, there are twenty-three of them.

    Photographing the sketches and importing them in Photoshop. Making sure all houses have matching dimensions and projections. Some of the sketches require small alterations.

    When all the adjustments are made, carefully redrawing every house from scratch.

    Name and cover

    Starting to work on the cover. Generating a couple of ideas.

    One is too childish, the other is too serious. We need something in between.

    The coloring book should be interesting to both adults and children. Coming up with a new name.

    This design leaves little to imagination, there is little variety.

    Moving on to the third sketch.

    Better, but the coloring style looks boring.

    An important subtitle is added: “The 5% ready book.”

    Decorating the house walls with “childish” drawings. Making the roof more “adult.”


    All that’s left is to turn illustrations into a book.

    While we are busy creating the layout, we get the idea to supplement the book with small illustrations on the left side to add some balance to the monotonous houses on the right page. The author approves the idea and sends additional pictures.

    Creating a pattern made of windows for the endpaper.

    The book is made of two parts, so we need to add two half-titles with brief explanatory text.

    Thinking about the title page.

    We need to also decorate the spine. We consider putting a drainpipe on it, a flower pot or a lamp, but the author suggests a birdhouse.

    Typesetter: Why the birdhouse?

    Author: A birdhouse is a house. It is tall and has many levels, like all the houses in the book. A birdhouse is self-irony.

    The book is assembled and has the art director’s approval.

    Preparing the files for printing but realizing that the illustrations were created not in vector and not even in 1200 dpi bitmap, but in 300 dpi grayscale. We need to improve the quality before we can print.

    Manually increasing resolution, blurring and transferring to bitmap.

    The problem is that parts of the graphics were lost as the converting process removed all gray lines. Completing the pictures in the correct resolution.

    Doing the same with the endparpers. Separating them into two layers, gray backing and bitmap. Separating the color image on the cover into CMYK 300 and the lines with no filling into bitmap 1200.

    Sending for printing, getting the copies from the print shop, starting to color.