Blog 8: The Publishing Wizard Nobrow


Just before I start discussing the lecture given by one of the co-founders of the innovative company ‘Nobrow’, there will be no jokes about eye brows

(I know your devastated, heartbroken even, but it simply isn’t the time nor the place).


As mentioned above this post will be discuss the lecture revolving around the company Nobrow and their sister company Fly Eye Books who master craft ‘beautiful’ books and illustrated publications as an independent publisher. He went on to provide his origin story detailing the creation of both publishing house, which began after university studying graphic design.

Image result for nobrow logo

Words of Wisdom:

The leap into becoming publishing was after noticing a massive niche hole in the market for visual publishes who didn’t prioritize on the literary pieces. This isn’t to say that there aren’t visual aspects to publishers in the industry such as Penguin or Ladybird Books, yet they accompanied vast amounts of text which seemed to have industry bias or consensus. Although the startup was intriguingly new at the time with developments such as a store front, festivals and moving store fronts; the company grew in fame due to a growing list of contributing illustrators. There rise to infamy, poetically put was down to their practices of reviving print from its presumed death due to digital applications. They overcame this idea of the digital revolution destroying the ideals of print so that objects must be both beautiful and practical in use; rather than being in contest with one another. Although this could be a modern take on William Morris and his craft design movement that followed the same basis but with all manner of possessions.

This celebration of visual communication was the principle behind this new publisher. It’s clear to say that the founders clearly found a niche to celebrate the creative side of the publishing industry be it graphic novels or children’s books, to encourage visual designers and designers to spread their ideas and earn from the exposure.

There was also mention of the early pan-tone colour process and the actual printing side of the industry, where we were told that in the early months of Nobrow it became cost efficient to print in less colours such as two colour prints, which makes sense. Since two colours requires less ink thus reduced costs in purchasing inks due to two colours which can be mixed. Although the hindrance in the eye of a designer here is that, if you create a publication for print that is less than four colour print it could work against you. Since the publisher might pay you less due to minimal use of ink, in a business sense that seems logical but it could undermine the designers work with such technicalities just by the creative choice on colour. With that in mind, such a choice would most likely be at your expense knowingly rather than some savage deceit by the publisher. As at the end of the day the publisher is a business and the illustrator in their own right is one too, in this case they are collaborating.

Nobrow publications has followed the same methodology of the Ladybird Book publishers who during wartime and the cost of restricting printing resources found a format in order to publish visual and written material in one sheet of paper to reduce waste. This is still be used toddy by Nobrow as it keeps costs down on paper and machine time, whilst being environmentally friendly as you get my publications per tree.

(Insert historical knowledge approval here)


My thoughts:

In my own conclusion from this lecture, it became apart that from a visual publisher who has grown with illustrators, that you must take every consideration into your thought process. Be it from the work or the earnings from it, just like submitting for competitions or editorial work you have to think if your work is suited to the publisher. The publisher will be looking for original and fresh takes on creative works that done correctly will increase their sales, otherwise if you haven’t invested yourself in application towards your work and considerations of trends in the world then the company won’t see how they could move forward. This application of analysis of the current times is vital it would seem in-order to gain that exposure and get your work published. Since nobody with common sense would take job that has substantial risk of failure on both sides, as its economical suicide.

After the lecture, I took the chance to personally speak with the Nobrow representative to showcase my last semesters sequential work as I was quite proud of it being my first attempt at a graphic novel. We exchanged comments about the reality of how a book like mine with no text inside tends to accumulate less income. This is primarily down to the publications in English being translated for other languages which come in the form of royalties; without any text, you wouldn’t earn anything in this translation process as there is near to nothing to translate. All in all, this information was vital when I consider to ever publish a silent graphic novel in the future into whether or not the money or creative work is more vital in such a venture.

Work can be seen below:

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Up until this lecture I only knew Nobrow from their work with Robert Frank Hunter and his publication ‘ The New Ghost’. The book itself is rich and mysterious narrative that breaks the normal boundaries of an illustrative novel with a newly appointed ghost finding his purpose through a set of events that put a ghost story on its head. Here is what I believe to be a prime and trending example of the standard that Nobrow publisher with their designers by following trends and allowing such insightful works to be exposed and adored in the world, this really evidences their masterful craftsmanship creating beautiful publications.

Below is Robert Frank Hunters work.


New discipline:

The lecture had also showcased the potential of other industries such as animation, where one of their illustrative books created by Luke Pearson’s dubbed Hilda gained such success as publication that it caught the eye of producers at the company Netflix. Netflix are an online streaming service for an endless archive of TV shows and films alike be it new and old, they even create their own material such as when they decided to turn Pearson’s Hilda into an animated show.


This really shows the possibilities that can occur with a well refined and well communicated creative publication can reach new form and audiences through publishers. The fact an illustration was taken into the realm of moving image is quite an event, despite higher exposure and earnings it just shows that all work has potential to take new heights in the world. This lead me to look at an area I haven’t really noticed before relating to my skill set, Storyboarding. I realized it is a transferrable skill and so researched what options or responsibilities such a career can hold.

A storyboard artist tends to work within advertising, films, games and music based projects; where they ‘re tasked with compiling a set of sketches to detail the events of each project. This is vital to such industries as they require guidance and additional vision to complete a project. The skills for this career are as follows:

This discipline applies to me because it takes me into another comfortable area, as I myself enjoy films, games and music and the opportunity to direct or visualize the making of such projects would put my sequential skills in to practice, As I have to create story boards for my narrative in order for the final product to make sense and communicate clearly, which is a skill within other such industries require.

Here are some current vacancies that are open that involve such a skills set:,17.htm



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