May 6, 2022 • 6 min read

Jackie Droujko on Printing Her First Art Book | Mixam

If you've been thinking about printing an Art Book, Jackie Droujko will give you the motivation you need to get started.

Jackie Droujko on Printing Her First Art Book | Mixam

Artists build up a lot of work over time - so printing an Art Book is a compelling way to show off your best pieces. And for Netflix Character Designer Jackie Droujko, creating her first Art Book online was an exciting challenge. 

With a bachelor's degree in Animation, Jackie has experience in conceptual work, design and layout design. A great example of her skill and creativity is apparent in her punchy, award-winning short animated film Bang Bang!. She also has an impressive resume, working with the likes of Warner Brothers, Dreamworks TV and animation studio Titmouse.

From edgy modern-day women to otherworldly creatures, Jackie printed a square, perfect-bound art book full of colourful character illustrations spread across 52 pages on satin paper with a soft-touch laminated cover. A character designer's role is to bring together ideas for concepts in TV, animation, video games, comic books and other media. Also vital in scene and layout development, concept art has truly come into its own as an art form. 

We caught up with Jackie to learn more about her Art Book printing experience and how she brought her ideas together:


Jackie, why did you want to self-publish an Art Book in the first place?

Over the years, I've made a lot of art and illustrations that I post online for the public to see. One day I woke up in a panic realising "I should make a book!" I've always wanted to make a book, but I never thought I had enough artwork or that my pieces were good enough to be printed in a book. I think I realised that if I'm never satisfied with my level of skills, then I'll never make a book. So I said: "screw it, what am I waiting for"?


Why did you decide to print your artwork and not just showcase it online?

I feel like making a book is a step closer to this professional goal I have in mind. And I also personally wanted to see my art in this format. I've collected tons and tons of art books throughout the years as it's one of my preferred methods of supporting artists and consuming content. I wanted to contribute to that. It feels so fulfilling to have my own artwork in a book on my shelves - it makes me feel like I'm really involved in the art community; and that I'm a "real" artist.


How did you decide which images made the final cut?

I gathered all my favourite pieces and illustrations and figured out the layout that worked where each spread had interesting, contrasting images with colours that worked together. The problem wasn't cutting pieces out. The problem was finding enough pieces to fill 52 pages! The older a piece gets, the less I like it. I also have lots of pieces that are way too vibrant for print. I only included pieces that weren't fanart or those that were in print excessively in the past. This created a really narrow window that fitted the requirements I gave myself. 


Did you already know how you wanted it to look?

Absolutely! I usually have a clear vision before starting big projects like this. I knew I wanted my cover to be this mermaid illustration I made a few years back. It's one of my favourite pieces, there's something so striking about her gaze, and I love the mystery this piece gives. Because my artwork is very vibrant, I knew my book would be very saturated and full of energy. I feel like the title "Allure" would represent the mermaid illustration on the cover, but it would also capture the nature of the book itself.


"I was so excited that the books looked exactly like I wanted them to."


Talk us through your process - what was easy and difficult?

The hardest part was choosing a title that worked. I went through a bunch of websites with intriguing words that I thought would fit with my book. I wanted a title that was really enticing and brought the viewer in without being cheesy. Some words on my shortlist were "Iridescent", "Enigmatic", "Emerald", and "Solitude". In the end, those options didn't capture me quite as much as "Allure" did. On the cover page, I had to extend the mermaid drawing to fit the entire spread of the cover and back. Another issue I kept having was with the math behind the cover bleed. I had to add the spine measurements and my bleed measurements, which probably shouldn't have been so hard, but the last time I took math was in high school! Mixam's Customer Service really helped me out with this part. After these few challenges, I could see it coming to life. The easiest and most fun part was deciding which pages should go together. I wanted an interesting colour contrast with each spread, and I think I accomplished that well.


When your book finally arrived, how did you feel?

I was so excited when my book came, I had made a proof to start with to make sure everything was formatted correctly, and I didn't make any mistakes. When I first got my hands on the proof, I was really happy with the colours and texture of the cover and inside pages. I kept my expectations low in case I wasn't going to be happy, but I ended up feeling over the moon with the quality. The book was definitely thin, which was my biggest vice, so I added more pages and thickened the paper stock before printing my bulk order. I also made some tweaks in the book, like making the fonts smaller, removing large signatures from images and adding a bio on the last page. After making these changes and receiving my bulk order, I was so excited that the books looked exactly like I wanted them to.


Any advice for people wanting to print their own Art Book?

Sure! Take a look at artists you admire and see if they have an art book. See how they formatted the copyright info at the beginning of the book, how many pages they have, and how they write their bio. Looking at other self-published art books really helped me get an idea of what I need to put in my book to make it look professional. 


If you'd like to see how Jackie made her art book step-by-step, visit her TikTok account for more information. You can also learn about Jackie and her work via her website. For more news and inspiration, check out the array of posts on Mixam's Blog and visit our Support section for helpful guidance and advice on all things print.


Image Credit: Jackie Droujko