DIY Incendiary Codex: The Robert Chaplin Interview

Chaplin Vault 02In the vault with Rob Chaplin: to listen to our conversation click this link.

I’ve known Rob Chaplin for a few years.  Ever since he walked into Sophia Books – back when I was buyer there for art books & graphic weirdness – and asked me to take a few copies of Ten Counting Cat into stock for general sale.

10 CountingNo problem. After all, the writing was funny, the drawings were great and the design was bang-on.

It had everything that I wanted from a book: independent spirit, unique and well realized vision and a sense of humor.

So we took the books, put them in the shelves and displayed them in the window.  It didn’t take long for them to sell.

Part of the magic of Robert’s books is that he does all the work himself.  He writes, illustrates and designs each of his books.  Then he sends the files to Friesens in Winnipeg and they send him a couple thousand books a few weeks later that he then sells to people, bookstores, libraries, whomever.  It’s an act of fine art, true dedication to his vision and more than a little wariness toward the entanglements of the standard book publishing process.

Brussel SproutsRobert and I have a tendency to bump into each other a couple of times a year at various speakeasy establishments and nocturnal gathering places where we’ll sketch out plans for global conquest on napkins on the bartop.

When I was helping to plan Bookcamp Vancouver I knew that I had to include Robert in the program somehow.

He showed up in his trademark sweater with a backpack full of books.

Every time I turned a corner Robert was singing the rhymes of the Brussel Sprout or leading small groups of confused conference goers in the Oath Regarding the Existence of Unicorns.

It was hilarious.

I really like Rob’s energy, his enthusiasm and his desire to demonstrate his independent approach.  He’s out there slinging funny rhymes, perpetrating great design and generating new ideas every day.

I just can’t argue with that kind of dedication.

I’m really happy to be able to share this interview because we really get a chance to hear the fundamental breakdown of how Rob sees the creative/publishing process.  It should be like manna from heaven for anyone out there looking for inspiration or help in their own DIY book projects.

For more information on Robert Chaplin, Library Editions and sterling silver brussel sprouts check out his website.


Sean Cranbury is the Executive Editor of Books on the Radio. He's also Founder and Creative Director of the Real Vancouver Writers' Series. Sean is General Manager at the legendary Storm Crow Tavern and consults with literary arts organizations on digital communications strategies.

Be first to comment