The First Step

Hi everyone. I don’t normally do this, but over the past few months I’ve increasingly struggled with some of the things I’ve seen of fellow Christians, myself included, doing and saying, as well as, struggles within my faith. I’d like to start out by saying that this is directed towards myself, as much as anyone else, and I would please ask if anyone feels targeted by this to let me know. I promise it wasn’t my intent, and I ask that you show me mercy and grace.

First off, I’d like to ask a seemingly simple question for my brothers and sisters in Christ, but one that I know will cause many of us to think introspectively about ourselves and our relationship with Christ: “Why do we allow ourselves to put political views/’patriotism’ over the lives of others and sharing the love of Jesus with them?” This has caused many questions within my faith that I struggled to answer, starting with our treatment of foreigners, members of the LGBT+ community, and our ‘enemies,’ too. Not to say that we as Christians should be weak willed or lacking in conviction, but that we should never let our pride get in the way of talking to others and sharing the gospel. That is our calling. Scripture gives many examples of how to treat non-believers, and even those we consider the lowest of the low:

Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person (Colossians 4:5-6 ESV).

44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Matthew 5:44-48 NIV).

We are called to be much more loving than many of us are. I am not saying we should not judge, for that is un-scriptural, in fact we are called to judge, but in righteousness. This judging however, should be used to bring light to the world, to bring truth. Not to push outsiders from Christ, but to show them the way to Him. On another note, shouldn’t we as the church be concerned about the sin rampant in the church, too? That’s what we are called to do scripturally. “For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? (1 Corinthians 5:12 ESV).” I think, and this is just my opinion, that the church has spends too much time focused on getting people to church, rather than getting them to commit to Jesus. We seem to think getting people to church is more important than getting people to follow Christ. I fully believe that helping followers develop deep, meaningful relationships with Christ will lead to the evangelism.

Furthermore, we as followers of Christ, seem to treat our nationality as a bigger part of our identity than we do our dedication to Jesus. This is scary to think about. I’ve had the best opportunity to spend time this past weekend at Camp Cowen at Fall Retreat with BCM. During this weekend, the Traveling Team spoke about global missions, and touched on the prejudices/discrimination that many Middle Eastern/Muslim people/students face. This same weekend, I was in a small group with a Muslim student, whom was very respectful and caring, and wanted to learn more about Christ. Like him, many of these people are willing and open to develop relationships with American Christians, but many have closed the doors that the Lord has opened for them. This student questioned (benevolently) my beliefs and the parts of my faith that I normally take for granted, and I am a better Christian because of it. As the traveling team said: “Either they’re normal people with the same wants and needs as us, or they are enemies. But, what does it matter? We are called to love our enemies, and the greatest love is that of Christ. So what if they are, like many misguided and prejudiced Americans think, ‘terrorists’!? Philippians 1:21 said it best: “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” So, while we live, we should live for Christ, and even if we are to die, then we are to gain the most perfect gift in all eternity! If anyone feels I am over stepping my bounds then please consider this: When was the last time you spoke to a good friend, whom you know is not a follower of Christ, about Jesus? I’ve found that I am guilty of ignoring the salvation of even my closest friends, so how could I ever share it with some of my worst ‘enemies’? I don’t have an answer to these questions, but I know that even if I am flawed and unable to achieve anything for God through my own power, that God will use me as a tool for his Kingdom, and that should give us all confidence to speak with conviction:

For God gave us a spirit not of fear, but of power and love and self-control. Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God… (2 Timothy 1:7-8 ESV).

These are my thoughts so far. Please, let me know if what I’ve said is incorrect. I would rather be called out, than to live not knowing the Truth. Thank you for your time and patience.



Hey Everyone!

I’ve decided to put this blog to good use by re-purposing it for a blog about my faith. I can’t promise consistent updates, and in fact, I can’t promise anything. Just wanted to let everyone know, this is where I stop talking about books(for the most part).

Ties that Bind: Book Binding Techniques

Hey Everyone!

This week I’ll be talking about book binding techniques.


First, the book binding technique used for most editions of Dracula is called case binding. Case bindings are the most common binding technique used for hardback books. Watch this quick video about case binding. This video focuses more on the binding process than the components.

Wasn’t that helpful?

Now, the first edition of Dracula was publisher’s bound with a bright yellow cloth, and stamped with red lettering. The book was machine bound. The first publisher’s cloth bound book was created in 1821 by William Pickering, although this book had a paper spine. Around 1830, a process to stamp case bindings mechanically was designed. For a quick history on book binding, click here!

Now, the binding technique I really want to talk about is Japanese stab binding. Japanese stab binding originated in China. I know, weird, but the reason stab binding is most commonly known as Japanese is because after China and Korea gave up stab binding for more traditional books, Japan kept the technique and mastered it. Chinese stab bindings are the most common form, and are often misrepresented as Japanese. Not to mean it is wrong to call Chinese stab bindings Japanese, but rather Japanese is a catch all term when talking about this particular binding technique. The Chinese stab binding uses four holes to bind individual sheets of paper together, while the Korean technique uses 3, and the Japanese uses any number. I created a short diagram below to help explain the differences.

Stab binding

The image on the left is the basic Chinese stab binding. The middle is a basic Korean stab binding. The right is an example of Japanese stab binding. There are many different patterns of Japanese stab binding, and the process is hard to explain with just words. Through my research I found this blog that has many different patterns and tutorials on them. Also, I found videos to be helpful in understanding how stab binding works. Here is a list of videos on Japanese stab binding that range from beginner to expert.

Beginner – This is an example of the basic stab binding technique, which was used predominately in China. The artist who made this tutorial also made the case bound tutorial, and has many other videos on book arts!

Amateur – this is a tutorial on Asa-no-ha Toji. This tutorial explains how to create the design with both diagrams, and a demonstration.

Expert – this is a tutorial on a tortoise stitch stab binding. This is a more complicated pattern, but uses repetition and geometric figures to make beautiful designs.

That’s all for this week! I hop everyone enjoyed learning about bindings!


Hey Everyone! This week I’ll be talking about the illustrations used in Dracula, and how they would have been created.

The black and white image to the right is the cover illustration to a rare 1901 edition of Dracula.

So, what exactly is an illustration? According to Wikipedia: “An illustration is a visualization or a depiction made by an artist, such as a drawing, sketch, painting, photograph, or other kind of image of things seen, remembered or imagined, using a graphical representation.” But, what do illustrations do then? Illustrations are pieces of art that work complementary or supplementary to a text to create more meaning or detail to a piece. To get an idea of what the different functions illustrations do for books, watch this video.

This doesn’t mean artists only use one of these styles in their illustrations, though. For instance, artist Abigail Rorer has illustrated books using a combination of wood engraving and watercolor painting.

Rorer is one of the many artist that has illustrated Dracula since it’s release. Rorer illustrated the Dracula Special Edition. The book includes 9 signed original engravings for the edition, which is considered a folio edition. One of these engravings, the frontispiece, was hand-colored. The image to the left is the frontispiece engraving. The illustrations added to this edition of Dracula create another layer of beauty to the book. These illustrations act as visual representations of the author’s words, and also reflect the artist’s mind. Illustrations not only add this reflection of the author and artist, but add another level of design and intricacy when it comes to creating them for a book. For more information on Abigail Rorer click here!

Rorer wasn’t the only one to illustrate, however. Artist’s like Edward Gorey, Greg Hildebrandt, Rick Berry, Becky Cloonan, and Jae Lee have also illustrated editions of Dracula. Berry, for instance, illustrated a deluxe limited edition boxed set of Dracula that is valued at over $375. Each book includes 8 full-color images. Each of Berry’s illustrations were created using oil paints. Berry is also credited as the first person to create a digitally painted book cover.

Becky Cloonan’s illustrations.

Rick Berry’s illustrations.

Jae Lee’s illustrations.

That’s all for this week. If you have any comments or questions, then feel free to leave me a message. Thanks!


Hey Everyone!

This week I’ll be talking about paper and it’s manufacturing from around the 1890s and today.

I’ll begin by talking about what I could find on the paper used for the first print, first edition of Dracula. According to many different sites, the paper used in the first print, first edition of Dracula is thicker and uncoated. This, although not much, helps us understand what paper was actually used for the book. Using this information I was able to determine that the paper used was probably made using wood pulp, which up until the beginning of the 1890s was still in the experimental stages. Before wood pulp, paper was created using fibers from linen, cotton, and other natural fibers. Uncoated paper means that the paper was not covered in a finish. This means the paper is more absorbent of ink, and  probably porous and textured. I also know that copies of the first edition experience yellowing, which suggests the paper is mechanically pulped rather than chemically. I know this because mechanical wood pulp has a high lignin content. Lignin in paper can cause pages to yellow when exposed to light and oxygen. A mechanical process was used to create pulp because it was more efficient than using a chemical process. The first print, first edition of Dracula was probably unsmoothed since the paper was uncoated. This means the paper probably wasn’t run through a calendaring(smoothing) process. This would help explain the thicker paper mentioned in many of the book’s descriptions. The first print, first edition is also known to have a deckled edge, which suggests the paper was handmade, or produced to have the appearance of being handmade. Also, later editions of Dracula have ads placed in the back of the book. Earlier editions tended to have last ad pages in the back. These papers are said to be laid paper, meaning they were handmade using a mould. You can tell when paper is laid paper because you can see the lines left by the wires in the mould. Now, I don’t know about you, but that was actually really interesting. Who would have guessed that the paper used in Dracula would have such a neat history?

The Mass Production of PaperPaper making has an interesting history, and modern paper making is different from traditional paper making in many ways. Modern manufacturers have become almost entirely mechanized, and many use chemicals to create the pulp they use in producing paper. Many modern paper manufacturers produce “wood-free pulp.” This means that most or all of the lignin is removed using acidic chemicals. This helps prevent books from yellowing. Although, this also makes books acidic, and can degrade the paper over time. Some paper manufacturer’s also use recycled pulp, which is created by using chemicals to remove ink and other alien agents from the paper that they make into pulp. This information helps me narrow down what paper was used in my copy of Dracula. I believe it is most likely a “wood-free pulp” paper. If you’d like to learn more about modern manufacturers, and how they create paper from start to finish, then click here! It’s a really interesting video that details all the necessary steps needed to create the type of paper we use everyday of our lives! And don’t worry. For you visual learner’s I found a cool info-graphic that shows the steps to paper making for mass production!

Anyways, the paper in my copy of Dracula is made from these modern processes. My book is a modern printing, which narrows the type of process considerably. The paper in my copy is trimmed, off-white, and bound in multiple signatures with a flexi-bound binding. Off-white paper is chosen for modern books to prevent show-through from the opposite side of the page. My book was also most likely printed using “Machine-finished coated paper.” This is the most common finish used for books. Finishes also help remove irregularities from the paper, therefore, helping create a smoother writing surface. How cool is that?

Next, my book was printed in China, which is the leading producer of paper. They beat out The United States for the top spot in 2009, and continue to hold the spot. The type of wood used in my book is nearly impossible to know, but interestingly enough, paper used to almost exclusively be made from softwood trees (coniferous). Now, paper is made from both hardwood and softwood trees. Paper can also be created using bamboo. This occurs because in some parts of China where hardwood and softwood is scarce.

That’s all for this post! I hope you enjoyed reading, and hopefully you learned something. If you’d like to ask questions or comments, then please feel free to do so. Bye!


Hey Everyone!

Today I’ll be talking about print methods used in creating “Dracula.” To start, I’ll talk a little about the first print, first edition (issue) of “Dracula,” and then I’ll finish with how modern versions are most likely printed.

Okay, so the first printing, first issue of “Dracula,” or The Un-Dead, as it would have been known for the first printing, was published by Constable & Co., which is now known as Constable & Robinson, at Westminster, England. This edition of “Dracula” was created for review purposes, and was most likely printed on an Iron Hand Press. Although 1897 would have been a little late for use of the Iron Hand Press, the pages of the first edition are uncut, so I believe that it is probable that the printing process had not been mechanized yet. The first print was most likely printed in May of 1897, and sent out by the publishers for review. This date was also used for copyright purposes after 1897, so even copies printed after this would still be marked as created in 1987. This first print is especially known for its thicker paper, and most of these first prints had stamps on the top right of the title page saying, “Presented by Archibald Constable & Co.”

My edition of “Dracula” was most likely printed using a offset lithography, although I am not positive. Offset Lithography “became the most popular form of commercial printing from the 1950s.” Approximately 50 percent or more of printed material is created using offset printing. I have emailed Thunder Bay Press to see if I could ask questions about their printing method for my blog, and am awaiting a response. I will let you guys know what they say! This edition of “Dracula” is Flexibound.

Well, that’s it for now guys. I hope everyone enjoyed this week’s post. Please feel free to leave a comment or question on my blog.