We recently received a Facebook post showing off an awesome looking, fan-made Insomniac history book. We were blown away by it, and wanted to learn more about the book, its creator and his reasons for making it. We also wanted to see more images of what it looks like inside and out. We tracked down Jesus Valdivia of Spain and asked him about his creation.
First, a little backstory. Jesus writes:
This book started as a project at college. Despite studying English and German Translation and Interpreting, we have a subject (Book Graphic Design and Layout) where the final exam is a book that we have to build ourselves from scratch. In fact, before deciding to turn it into a complete book, my idea was to design a small brochure about Insomniac Games. I was going to give a little information about the history, games and studio, but then I started to write like there was no tomorrow and totally changed my mind. I had so much to write and say about Insomniac and even more about the games. My teacher gave me the green light. I remember his words, “This is big. It is a risky choice because of the time. You just don’t have to write it; you have to edit the text, correct your mistakes AND make a design. Then check that everything is correct and have it printed.” I just wanted to make it real. The idea of making a book about Insomniac Games that I someday could show to the people at the studio was motivation enough.
How did you compiled this?
In order to make this project I had to know how to use word processing programs such as Microsoft Word and we were asked to know their more advancing editing features. Once I had the text written and proofread, it was Adobe InDesign’s turn. I had never used it before, but I did use Photoshop since I was a kid and they are similar. Photoshop and InDesign have been my main tools. However, I also used Illustrator, Vector Magic and Snagit to make screenshots of the layouts and transfer them from one program to another. It was crazy. It was all about the timeline; we had less than five months to finish our projects. That is not a lot when you have to design every single page and adapt the text length, choose the right images and even design the small Easter eggs that appear over the 80 pages of the book.
Was it printed and bound by you?
We had that option, but you need a professional level printer and some printing/bounding skills, as well as time. We could also work with a printer and have it finished at a printing house, which is what I did. The final result looks pretty cool. The quality of the paper and the finish are great. The printing house glued it too. Next time I will probably have it bound rather than glued, it just feels more professional.
How much of this work is your work and how much is taken from other sources?
This is an interesting point. I cannot give you a clear percentage. The book is divided into three chapters: ‘History of Insomniac Games’, ‘Games’ and ‘The Studio’. We do not have much information about Insomniac in Spanish so I thought that making this book was the best gift to the Spanish-speaking community. Most of the information I used in the making of the book is reliable information (taken from the official Insomniac site, Moonlighting with Insomniac and Baker’s Dozen blogs, PlayStation, IGN.com, etc.) translated into Spanish and rewritten so as the style is always the same. I call it the ‘Insomniac Style’. Casual, close to the reader, sometimes irreverent, festive and full of humour. Rewriting the translations was such a hard job but it turned out totally worth it. And the puns… ah the puns! Also I looked up some info in Spanish (reviews, posts, my own game boxes…) just to make sure that what I was writing made sense and was accurate.
Regarding the images and photos used, I have a list of sources in the bibliography.
Did you do any of the art?
I made some of the artwork. For example, the time machine (second chapter) that allows you to travel through the history of Insomniac and the games. I also vectorized many silhouettes (I love working with them, it is totally my style) and then designed new artwork like the Captain America / Superman Insomniac logo. I even vectorized North Carolina and Burbank’s building skyline for the last page! The design of the cover and back of the book was also an idea of mine, again with silhouettes.
How long did this take you?
5-6 months. At this point I think that you can figure the amount of work behind this project. Also I had to deal with the other subjects. German is challenging!
For a deeper look at Jesus’ project, check out the full gallery of pics here: https://www.flickr.com/gp/135374984@N04/89DY36
We love fan art, writings, images, cosplay and anything else Insomniac (or our games) may have inspired. Please don’t stop sending them to our Twitter and/or Facebook page, and swing by our Community forum for a chat!