Tourmaline .

Miniature Diorama Photographer

Posts from the ‘Publications’ category

Making a Blurb Art Book

As many of you know by now I just self published an art book. This isn’t my first go round as I had to get books printed for multiple college photo projects, and used the same platform for felan. I made books for my Italy Souvenirs series, my senior project, the Toy Photographers 2017 yearbook, and a fourth that I can’t quite remember. However, this is the first I’ve produced for my work in my professional life, and I’d like to think it has more substance to it.

I received a couple questions as to how I produced the book, so I I hope this post will give those of you curious your answers, but I’d also like to use the opportunity to explain my thoughts and concept behind what I included, and what I did not.

Choosing a Publishing Platform

First, as you’ve seen in the title, I used for this task. Blurb allows for print on demand publishing which was a must for me. I’ve always wound up using Blurb, whether for my photo books or for my art magazine I produced for 2 years. In each of these instances I tried to find print and cost saving alternatives which largely led to Amazon and Lulu. However, Amazon doesn’t allow for the same quality when it comes to printing high resolution photos on appropriate paper, and Lulu ships to much fewer countries. I believe there were further reasons as well, but I won’t focus too hard on this for the purposes of this post.

I will say, if you intend to publish a text-based book, I would most certainly recommend Amazon CreateSpace instead of Blurb. However, if a self-published art book if what you’re aiming for, Blurb is the way to go.

Working with Blurb

Blurb has a couple different book layout tools you can download to guarantee that your book will fit their standard book sizes. You can either download their software, or a plugin for Adobe InDesign. I did the latter. With either option, once downloading you select your book options – size, paper, cover type, page number (this can be an estimate and updated later), and then get to work.

In my case, I first made sure I had all my photos saved as high resolution (300 dpi), properly sized jpegs (based on how large they’d be printed in the book). I then went into InDesign and created a basic layout that I knew I was going to use for most pages as my master page template, I also added page numbers here. I then selected all pages and allowed for the master page template to be overwritten, so that I’d have each of my image slots available, but I could remove or resize them as necessary.

Making my Specific Book

I wanted the book to be able to be read of sorts either forward or backward. I knew I wanted to make transitional coming and leaving images, with a suitcase for this, but needed each to read as just that – coming or leaving, so that they’d work in either direction whether from Monochrome to Polychrome or vice versa.

In this same vein, I placed a title page at the beginning and end of the book, each followed by an artist info page. The one on the Polychrome side however (the traditional back of the book) has scanned, hand written text, outlining my writing of my artist name and signature. Both artist info pages have hand written @ symbols. Next comes the respective series info pages. Open the book from the Monochrome side, and 3 pages in you’ll get info on the Monochrome series and a background of to-scale Monochrome photo props. Open the Polychrome side and you’ll get info on the Polychrome series and a background of to-scale Polychrome photo props.

Next there are images of the full dollhouses used in each portion of the series. The dollhouse images have their width printed below, and the page numbers on which each dollhouse room (in the series images later in the book) is picture is printed on that corresponding room.

After are behind the scenes collages with images of accessories and written planning pages. And following are contact sheets/further table of contents. Each image of the series, is represented as a thumbnail, ordered by date it was created, with the page number location of it’s larger version listed below each thumbnail.

Then begins the series images. Start from the Monochrome side and you will page through 50 Monochrome images, all horizontal, then 2 leaving/arriving images, these sets being the only vertical in the series, then a spiral of both 15 Polychrome and 15 Monochrome images, followed by another 2 leaving/arriving images. The Monochrome images along side the Polychrome images, serve to show what the grey figure is missing. She reflects on what could be her at her home, a place she is more comfortable than she is in this Polychrome house. To reflect this, the Monochrome images in this section are smaller and offset in compartison to the Polychrome images.

Now Back to Blurb

If you’re using the InDesign plug in, after finalizing your book pages, click back into Blurb Book Creator and create a cover template.

For mine, I placed an image of the Monochrome house on the front cover and the Polychrome house on the back and their subsequent titles. ‘Monochrome’ is writtin in a serif font in medium grey, and ‘Polychrome’ is written in a sans-serif font in a pink/green gradient (both a multicolored take and the colors of the watermelon tourmaline gemstone, my artist namesake).

Then, while you should be able to upload directly from Blurb Book Creator, in my numerous times using this plug in, I’ve never been able to get that feature to work. Instead, I save my 2 files as high resolution, print ready PDFs and upload to Blurb that way.

So Where Do you Go From Here?

I know this might not all be insanely helpful for you with your book. If you’re familiar with InDesign and have a decent sense of book layouts you’re good to go. If not, I recommend downloading Blurb BookWright, Blurb’s book creation software. It’s relatively straight forward to use and there are a lot of helpful resources to guide you along the way.

Let me know if you’d like a walk-through of this software down the line, and I’ll see what I can do.

Also, if you’d like a copy of my book Monochrome|Polychrome, you can get one here. Check the banner at the top of Blurb’s page as there are often coupon codes.

Monochrome | Polychrome the book is here!

I published an art book of my Monochrome | Polychrome series!

A book filled with miniature diorama photography, but it’s so much more than that.

A self portrait, a found identity, a tailored self.

This book is the culmination of over a years worth of photos, planning, painting and soul searching, presented here as my full vision. It includes 84 images (65 from Monochrome, 15 from Polychrome, and 4 that serve as transitions between the 2 halves of the series), as well as full dollhouse images and accessory pages with the accessories printed to scale. There are also info pages on me as an artist and the 2 series halves as well as behind the scenes images. The book can be “read” either forward or backward.

Get either a soft cover travel edition or a hard cover coffee table edition.

Get yours here today:

Make sure to use code SUMMERSAVINGS3RT for 30% off your order.


Monochrome | Polychrome – An Emotive take on Toy Photography

Tourmaline .

Miniatures serve as iconographic objects. Not real people, places or things, but simplistic versions of such. This allows for abstracted views of reality. The perfect medium for creating visual representations of memories and emotions – abstractions of reality within themselves.

Tourmaline . creates emotive imagery by transforming miniature tableaus through her camera lens. Her images draw influence from her midwestern roots and Florida youth.

Tourmaline . graduated from the University of North Florida in the Spring of 2013 with a Bachelors of Fine Art, concentration in Photography, and minors in Art History and Professional Education. She resides in Jacksonville, FL with her fiancé and cat.


Suspend your assumptions. There can be a life well lived inside your comfort zone. She has carved a den of contentment. Everything tailored directly to her truest

As with the majority of my work, these are self portraits, a found identity, a tailored self.

The setting within Monochrome is 1:12 dollhouse scale where 1 inch is equivalent to 1 foot. Meaning, the figure in these photographs is just over 5 inches tall. The figure is a plastic drawing model. Once I had her in my possession I sourced furniture and accessories to create her world. I painted everything a matching tone of grey to that of her plastic. I had the house built for her prior to her arrival.

The 65 images in this series were taken with 1 to 2 studio lights, aiming for a relatively even, but consistent with home interior lighting, feel. Each was photographed horizontally and at a singular aperture. All this to say, balance in focus, lighting, color tone and composition was created intentionally.

Read more

2018, A Reflection

What a year 2018 has been. I thought about not posting a reflection this year, for the first time ever, but I think it’s been a good practice to truly focus on how I’ve grown in my art, online presence, etc.

This year I’ve learned to take my creative process in stride. I can be very hard on myself for not creating. But life gets in the way. Weather you’re busy, or just physically or mentally unable, take care of yourself first and the art will come when it needs to.

I’ve switched my focuses between making photos, creating videos, writing blog posts and just relaxing. And while I probably haven’t made as many photos this year, or written as many blog posts, as I did last year, I’m happier with what I have made. Read more

Introducing Monochromous

I’ve been working on a new series I’m tentatively calling Monochromous. And I’ve had the honor of having a portion of that series featured on the Exclu Collective.

Check it out, and read about my process here:


See even more images on my facebook page here:

Shh, don't tell instagram (or my blog), but here's 27 of the images I've created for this series so far! Some will…

Posted by Tourmaline . on Tuesday, September 4, 2018


And stay tuned for a behind the scenes video coming soon!

Cover Illustration Package: 100 Dreams and their Biblical Interpretations

A recent cover commission by the wonderful Jacob Makaya. I created both Swahili and English versions of this cover and believe the results are quite nice. Check out the links below to get your own copies or to learn more about my cover design.

100 Dreams and their Biblical Interpretations// Tfsari Zs Ndoto 50 Kibiblia Na Hatua Zuchukua by Jacob Makaya. Published 2017.


Life of Toy Photographers, 2017

There’s a brand new book that I’m happy to announce! – Life of Toy Photographers, 2017

It’s a look back at the artists of over the last year. I was part of the team that brought it to fruition, designing the print version of the cover and interior layout. You can also find a spread of my images inside.

Check out the announcement post and find purchase links here –

2017, a timeline

2017 has almost come to an end. One of the quickest years of my life, but then I say that every year…


  • I turned 26, officially transitioning into the last year of my ‘mid 20s.’
  • I created my series Monochopis.




  • Year 2 of Color your World wrapped with a total of 112 participants and numerous creative entries. Make sure to sign up for year 3!
  • I was featured on PopShop Live.
  • I created a facebook group for toy photographers in Florida & the East Coast. This is something I need to focus on building further in 2018.
  • Instagram had an ominous shadow ban, that has again cropped up since. But it seems like we all made it through just fine.
  • I concluded my ‘Why Miniatures?‘ blog series.
  • Numi Organic Tea graciously sent me lots of tea to make photos with.
  • I delved into Lego photography with the Booster Bricks box (shared with me by an internet friend).




  • I left my Office Manager position to become the Lead Studio Photographer at a tech start up. I can now say I am a full-time professional photographer. And subsequently went to Chicago (for training) for the first time.
  • I created a series using only dollar store supplies.
  • My work was shown in a group toy photo show in Lyon, France.


  • I was commissioned to create English & Swahili versions of a book cover – more on that later.
  • I was AntoNova Galleries’ first ever featured artist and was later in their Grand Opening, Black & White and Geometric group shows.




  • The One Word Photo Challenge hit it’s 200th weekly theme.
  • I began posting weekly to YouTube – my main social media endeavor at the current moment.
  • My image was chosen as the cover for Issue 13 of Elsewhere magazine.
  • I stopped writing for Toy Photographers and broke off from most social media to further focus on my creative process. There should be an ebb and flow of this, with me returning to all of the above at some point in the future.
  • I tried out Instagram promotions first hand.


  • December is 2/3 of the way over and I have little to put here as of now. I’ve filmed parts of 4 or 5 more videos for youtube, and I’m waiting on bits and pieces to finish those. I have numerous photos I intend to create and little energy to do it all, so I’m taking it slow, one step at a time. Family is coming in for Christmas, a lot of cleaning and gift wrapping to do before then. Overall, it’s been a good year. A year of transition, and one where you’ve seen significantly less and less of me, but I’m still here working away.


How was your year and what are your holiday plans?


‘Til next time,

Tourmaline .