Hilo Bay (13) - Done!
Posted by Dave Bull at 11:43 PM, July 8, 2006
Getting on for midnight here in Tokyo ... just back a short time ago from a long day downtown, working with Numabe-san. Where to start ... ??
At the beginning, I guess! When I arrived at the workroom, he had the finished batch of prints laid out on a table waiting for me. How are they? In a word ...
There is no good light here just now, so there is no point trying to post a photo here in this entry. Tomorrow morning I'll set up the lights and stuff downstairs, take a proper photo, and update the Mokuhankan catalogue page with the real print image [... done ...].
He has got the sky beautifully smooth and clean, and the sea a rich deep but without being over-saturated. The islands have a nice maroon tinge, like the original master copy ... The three distant peaks are now an important part of the image, instead of being 'hidden' away, as in my proof (I had been wishing they would just go away!). And the 'morning glow' across the print has come out so well ...
The registration is now perfect. My copies had been well registered, but his first proofs weren't, as he missed the thin light-coloured strip of water in the distance, opting instead for a blurred shoreline. It's now done properly ...
Honestly speaking, I don't think there are any flaws at all. Maybe Gary will manage to find something (as he should, I guess ...), but for the rest of us mortals, this is as good as it gets!
Tomorrow, I'll put the embossments on a couple of sample copies (carver/printer; print title; Mokuhankan seal), and will then just sit and look at it for a while ... Mokuhankan's first 'real' print!
So ... so much for the print itself; what about the business stuff? This one took a long time to print, and based on our previous agreement of a payment of his standard fee of 20,000 per day, where do we stand, and how much has it all cost me?
He had the prints prepared for me in three stacks, and a proposal on the table. One small stack - pushed aside - had the proof copies and print waste; a half-dozen sheets that will be tossed in the bottom drawer. The rest he split into two stacks: the 60 copies that I had asked for in one pile, and 23 more that he had made in another (identical prints).
He said it took him basically 13 days to produce the 83 copies once printing proper started, so doing the math gives us a printer's cost of 3,200 yen per sheet. I owe him 13 printing days + 3 proofing days, all @ 20,000 yen, for a total of 320,000 yen.
Now I had only asked for 60 copies to be printed, but both he and I know that adding another 20 or so sheets to the pile doesn't add 1/3 more time, because when playing around with such a small quantity as this, so much time is spent in block prep/brush washing/etc. etc. So although it might have taken, say, 10~11 days to do the 60 copies, he could do 80 in 13 days (impossible to calculate this number exactly of course, but anyway, somewhere around there ...)
So he suggested that in lieu of three of the printing days (around 1/4 of the edition printing time), he would keep those 23 copies. I would thus pay for only ten days @ 20,000 yen, plus 50,000 for a similarly discounted share of the proofing for a total of 250,000 yen. The benefit for me is that my cost per sheet is reduced somewhat. The benefit for him is that he now has a nice little pile of prints that represent a potential revenue for him. (Part of the 'back story' here is that this is also an attempt to try and help him recoup the loss of working time he suffered due to my rejection of his first print job for me a few months back ...)
But letting him 'take' prints like this ignores a couple of things: I'm going to pay Gary a royalty, and have to pay it on the entire batch of course, not just the 60 copies that I am going to sell, and secondly, I supplied the paper and blocks for those 23 copies, and should be compensated for those.
He was ready for this of course, but without knowing how much the royalty is, hadn't been able to come up with a number. As far as royalty, I had previously talked about this with the designers using 1/2 the raw printer's fee as a starting point for discussion. That would mean 1,600 yen in this case. So ... at the least he has to compensate me 1,600 + 175 for paper ... just over 40,000 yen for the batch. Knocking this off the 250,000 I owe him brings that down to 210,000 yen.
Now ... turning around to look the other way, I have to figure out how much to pay Gary ... or, if he will take it 'in prints' - as we earlier discussed - how many copies. Royalty for 83 prints @ 1,600 comes to 132,800 yen, but just how many prints this represents is difficult to figure out. Before I can do that, I must now try and decide what these things are actually going to sell for, and to do that I have to add up my costs, but before I can come up with a cost per sheet, I have to know how many sheets I will have on hand after all the expenses are covered ...
Confused? So am I ... Let's get out my original spreadsheet and look at what I have been trying to 'target' for a print like this.
Given a retail price (on the website) of 100%, I have been thinking of that as breaking into three parts: 40% - discount to dealers (people buying in quantity for resale), 40% - cost of production (from raw paper right through packaging), 20% - left for Mokuhankan.
20% doesn't seem like much of a margin, and if all sales were wholesale, it wouldn't work, but I'm thinking that it will be a retail/wholesale mix, so should work out at something better than 20%.
So, let's start adding things up:
- printer: 3,200 yen
- carver: 1,600
- designer: 1,600
- paper: 175
- packaging: 125
.. for a cost of production of 6,700 yen. Now if that represents 40%, then the retail price should be 16,750 yen. If this print were o-ban size, I think that would be a great deal, but it's not - it's much smaller than that. 16,000 yen is too much, and I think 15,000 - where I 'guesstimated' it to fall, is as much as I can honestly ask for it.
The dealer price for this would thus be 9,000 yen, so is that the way to calculate how many sheets Gary would get? A royalty of 132,800 yen paid in 'wholesale' prints would be 15 copies. If Gary sells these to dealers at that wholesale price, he would end up (eventually) with his normal royalty (having had to work extra for it!); if he sells them retail, he will end up with a bit more in his pocket, but for that he would have to work even harder to get it ...
So I think everybody might be basically happy at this point: Gary has a beautiful print now out in circulation, as well as a (small) pile for himself; Numabe-san has had work for two weeks, as well as (I assume) the satisfaction and pleasure from doing good work. He also has a 'bonus' in that stack of prints, which actually is (potentially) a very nice bonus indeed, if he can manage to sell some of them. (And if you are perhaps thinking that he's coming out of this in pretty good condition, please remember that I think he has 'bent' that total of '13' days downward somewhat ... it was June 19th he started, it's now July 8th, and this isn't the kind of work you can just lay aside for a couple of days while you do something else ...)
And publisher Dave? Well, next week when I pay Numabe, I'll be 'out' 210,000 yen (not quite sure just yet where that's coming from ...), but in return I'll have 45 prints left in stock, which should - if the market will cooperate - gradually help support my activities as they fly away one-by-one.
And as for 'carver' Dave, who supposedly got 1,600 per sheet as a carver's royalty ... Well, that money doesn't seem to actually exist - at least I can't find it anywhere - but anyway ... the blocks are here, and still in very nice condition, so maybe one day ...
Now ... what about the rest of today's activity ... Proofing work on Aspen Grove ... Mike, are you reading this? "Kansas City ... we . have . a . problem . "
But it's too late tonight to start that story ... it'll have to wait until the morning ...
The thread continues in Hilo Bay  ...
Added by: Julio Rodriguez on July 12, 2006 8:41 AM
What can I say ? Wonderful image...great to be able to read along in the making of this print...I want one, I want one now !!!!
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