Johanna Drucker's Artist Books
An online repository of facsimiles, metadata, and commentary

Jane Goes Out w' the Scouts


Project Statement

The original conception of this project combined a desire to write something for Alistair Johnston in response to his obsession with photographing young girls and at the same time create a little book work that would have perfect fine press credentials, and thus be able to pass in the well-heeled world. The combination of perversity, sexual innuendo, and irreverent naughtiness is fairly typical of much of my work, and the text has the usual amount of allusive and suggestive and cryptic qualties. The book looks innocent enough, with its soft white Rives paper, sweet silhouettes of girls, and the yellowy moon rising on the cover behind the outlined tree.

Production Narrative

Cutting the blocks for this book was extremely satisfying. I had Tamia Marg pose for the girl. She was my roommate at the time, and we used to spend afternoons up at Grizzly Peak at her folks, swimming, playing etc., when they weren't around. These images still evoke those afternoons, and her small, fit self, very active and compact. The letterpress type doesn't seem to have been mine -- I have no recollection that I ever owned such an elegant face. But I can't remember where I did the actual letterpress printing. I did buy a press and move it into the warehouse, but I'm not sure if that was before or after I produced this book. My guess is that I printed at Betsy's, in the barn, since she and Jim had moved to Ninth Street by that time. The type was easy, especially as there was so little of it. The text is three-layered (headers, body, small text) in order to mark the register of different tones on the page.

Critical Analysis

Design Features

typographic: Century and century italic, almost a schoolbook face, very classic, very clean, and carefully set, though the lower-case "f" in that size and font was so vulnerable that finding enough with their upper loop intact was difficult.

imagery: Silhouettes in linocut, black, sexy images of a very young female form, almost pre-pubescent.

graphical: The pages are structured with a clean, letterpress layout in which text and image are each discrete, each printed in accord with their own aesthetic.

openings: The book is short and has only one printed sheet, as well as an endpaper in translucent vellum or tissue, so only the middle spread creates any significant dialogue across the gutter. There the girls in the cuts have a playful relation to each other.

Detailed Analysis

The text, like the images, is highly suggestive, but never explicit. The sense that something occurs in the story is made clear, but only a setting out and a return from the woods is actually mentioned, with a peculiar hiatus in-between in which actions and confusions are registered. At the level of composition, this allusive quality shows.



Johanna Drucker

type: initiating


Publication Information

publisher: Druckwerk

publication: 1980-00-00

publication history: One edition only.

Aesthetic Profile

artists' books (LCSH)

content form:
narrative (local)

publication tradition:
artists' book (local)

inspiration: Arthur Rackham, and other classic illustrators.

related works: Kidz and S Crap S Ample are siblings of this book, but in sensibility, perhaps Like Totally, Dark, Kidz, and numerous weird manuscripts (Oh Oh, Pupa House, etc.) are also closely related.

other influences: Fine press and other printing sensibilities in the Bay Area also served as influences, and provocations.

community: other For this book the printing community, and folks' involved in book arts, Betsy Davids, Frances Butler, Wesley Tanner, Alistair Johnston, and others were as much of an influence as the poetry community.

Related Documents

manuscript type: texts

location: other

note: As far as I can tell, none remain.


Publication Information

edition type: editioned

publisher: Druckwerk

place: Oakland, California, probably using Betsy Davids's press.

publication: 1980-00-00

edition size: 46


horizontal: 6.5 inches closed

vertical: 12.2 inches closed

depth: .1 inches closed

Production Information

production means:
letterpress (local)
linoleum (local)

binding: hand sewn (local) pamphlet stitch

bookBlock: paper
endsheets: paper

ink (local)


format: codex (AAT)

cover: A black linoleum print of a tree with grass stretching out from it spans across the front and back cover. An off-white moon has been painted on the front, but it blends in perfectly with the off-white paper of the cover and only catches reflected light.

color: no


pagination: unpaginated 8 pages

numbered?: numbered

signed?: unsigned