First things first. For our readers out there, could you explain what exactly the Scrollino is?
Scrollino is the new original book form and editorial concept offering a playful experience to all book lovers. You just need your regular pencil, to scroll down the Scrollino, to read, to draw or write and to scroll it up again.
Scrollino has the basic features, almost like a classic book with its own cover and colophon, however it hides a few meters long rolled up piece of paper with an illustrated story, a comics, a children book, a notebook or whatever your hearts desires.
Scrollino My Superhero by Ludmila and Sylvain Favardin, photo credits edition lidu, 2016
It's certainly a novel idea. What inspired you to put comics onto scrolls?
In 2013 I created an online POS system for our pop-up bookshops during exhibitions to be able to give receipts to our clients. I tested my new software and connected it with the thermal POS printers, usually used at cash registers. While I printed the receipts I also thought of printing some visuals on it.
When I saw the printed result with the illustration on the receipt, I knew, we needed to do something artistic with this technique. I ask Sylvain to print more images from a black and white comic book we were going to publish at that time. The result was so nice, that it kind of pushed us to go forward.
As the thermal papers for receipts are delivered in rolls, the idea of printing long scrolled comics presented itself to us.
First comics printed on thermal paper
Our collection of Pocket comic books, representing the first books ever published on a ticket receipt, were presented at the Milano Design Week in April 2014. For this occasion we have also created the workshop The World´s longest live printed book. Visitors could draw their superhero and then see them live published and printed at the end of the festival.
Live printing at the Milano Design Week 2014
We soon realized the amazing possibilities of our idea and the thermal printing technique in our work as publishers.
Later on we wanted to create more ergonomic design, as the first comics, once scrolled down, where difficult to scroll back. At the beginning of 2016 we started with the prototyping and in March Scrollino was born.
A scroll is a pretty atypical "carrier". What are the advantages of this medium? Are there things a Scrollino comic is able to do "better" than a regular comic?
We can do things with Scrollino that we couldn't with a regular book format, such as printing a 2 or more meters long continuous image or comic strip on 1 piece of paper. This allows, to comics artists and then to readers, to experience the book in a completely new way.
Scrollino is also a metaphor to a webpage scrolling or the use of smartphones. In fact, this inspired the name of our invention. We simply cannot compare Scrollino to a regular book or anything else, the result and the experience is completely different.
Scrollino is a result of our main endeavor to make people dream, think different and be creative. And we experienced that through humanly interactive projects and picture books especially, we can achieve this.
While creating a content for Scrollino you can get very creative. You can reinvent comic book rules and boundaries. You can create a continuous comic strip starting at the bottom of the paper to make the reader discover the story little by little. This way you keep the reader always surprised.
Certainly there are going to be disadvantages as well. What kind of difficulties present themselves when using the Scrollino for a comic strip?
The truth is, Scrollino itself and its possibilities give us new creative ideas almost every day. So this may be the biggest trouble - we cannot concentrate on finishing the first one.
Did you "convert" existing comics to the Scrollino format, or were all the Scrollino comics written specifically for this medium?
We created completely new content for our Scrollino Launch Tour starting at Brussels Comic Strip Festival.
To Brussels we brought 3 Scrollino comics: ”My Superhero”, an activity Scrollino that allows you to imagine your own Superhero, “My First Comics” with comics frames for you to be the artist - both designed by us, and almost a wordless Scrollino comic strip Play, created by Catarina Gomes.
Scrollino Play by Catarina Gomes
We did not tell you yet that there are 2 main types of Scrollino.
The Scrollino Simple enables you to unroll the whole strip and scroll it back again. The great thing about this type is that you can see the whole story once you scrolled it all down. The Scrollino cover is ready to be hang on your wall, so once you are tired of reading, you can use it as a poster.
The Scrollino Double has a window, a screen through which you can discover the strip frame by frame.
We felt that both types brings something new an unexpected, so we believe that each of the Scrollino types has its right to exist.
There will be more variants as well in the very near future...
Were the writers/artists enthusiastic about creating stories for the Scrollino? How did they experience it?
We have invited over 30 comics artists, illustrators and graphic designers to create their comic strip, endless image or an illustrated story for our first Scrollino exhibition in France. Their results showed that they had a lot of fun experimenting with this media.
As the typographer Thierry Fetivau, who created a Scrollino strip “A brief history of typography”, said:
“You see, there was the invention of papyrus and writing, then Guttenberg brought the block printing and then comes the Scrollino!".
Scrollino Cool Girls by Noa Snir created for the Scrollino exhibition
Could you tell us something more about the technical aspects? I assume you can't print a Scrollino comic the way you could print a regular comic strip.
I try not to see the technical aspects to let loos my fantasy, but it must be more difficult for Sylvain, who not only creates the content but deals with all the technical issues and there are many.
Ludmila has very often these crazy, almost impossible but genius ideas. And as I always feel the need to make her dreams happen, it forces me to do the impossible. First we printed on this eco thermal POS printers, with no ink used, just the heat creates the image on the paper, and I realized that I have to go a step further than just using the POS software.
Yes, it is true. Sylvain had to hack the thermal POS printer first and developed his own software to be able to print images and long stories on the thermal papers. In 2016 we had to re-invent the printing method and now we can print in color at our studio in France.
Live printing with POS Printers at Fumetti Festival in Nantes, 2015
What will the future hold for the Scrollino? Do you plan to have them sold in comic book stores alongside regular comics, or will they remain more of a novelty item?
Many bookshops are already interested in selling Scrollino, as all of our books, Scrollino will find its place at comics stores, design shops, galleries and all places, where you can find creative products.
The future is wide open to Scrollino. Nowadays, edition lidu organizes Scrollino workshops, creates paper installations, exhibitions, art battles and other interactive live events.
We work with various book and design fairs, cultural organizations and clients who wish to customize the event and the printed result, with the emphasis on interacting with both creatives and visitors, who became part of the final Scrollino book or artwork.
Workshop at KomiksFEST in Prague
How does the audience react to the Scrollino? You already had a big exhibition in France in July, what were the reactions?
A big crowd showed during the Scrollino exhibition opening party at le lieu unique in Nantes. Everyone was pretty excited, people mingled, scrolled up and down and wanted to buy them already. We also experienced a great feedback and support from people who surround us and who regularly follows the development of Scrollino. And this is a big motivation to us.
I did not expect such a huge reactions and direct appropriation of the Scrollino name and object. People understand immediately what to do, they are curious and seems full of joy to discover the stories "scroll by scroll". Now, we are really looking forward to see the reactions of the Belgian public.
Scrollino exhibition at le lieu unique in Nantes
The Interview was published on September 4, 2016 / on Geekster by Jeroen Van Heel
Photo credits: edition lidu 2014 - 2016