WROCŁAW: On writing with a picture. Kopublikacja

A perfect short story should be concise, to the point and emotionally arousing. One of Kurt Vonnegut’s eight pieces of advice for beginning short story writers goes as follows:

"Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted."

A pronounced nature of a short story seems to be an excellent working material for an illustrator. Still, in our country, a book with pictures remains the domain of children’s literature. The Polish publishing market lacks well-edited, interesting publications for adults, in which a text corresponds to a picture. The willingness to change this state of affairs has given birth to the Kopublikacja [Co-publishing] workshop created out of collaboration between the Pillcrow studio, BWA Wroclaw Design Gallery and the International Short Story Festival. The workshop’s second edition will take place in October.


The name Kopublikacja is the coinage of two words – publikacja [publication] and kooperacja [co-operation]. This way, the name describes both the final product of the workshop, as well as the product’s making process. According to the originators of the project – Grzegorz Owczarek and Maciej Kodzis from the Pillcrow studio – the idea behind Kopublikacja assumes the co-operation of three workshop teams – the layout team, the lettering team and the illustrative team. In the course of seven, three-day-long workshops, participants work on specific aspects of publishing. Each participant gets to work on one out of fifteen prose texts provided by the International Short Story Festival. Illustrators and letterers co-operate to create a concise, unitary typographic and illustrative concept, while the layout team members’ task is to compile a publication and prepare the entire body of work for printing. Therefore, the co-operation included in the name of the project becomes an indispensable factor in the creation of a book of high-quality artistic value.




Workshops take the form of meetings with professionals working within specific areas of design. During the first edition, a group of letterers took part in a class with Łukasz Dziedzic and a calligraphy workshop with Ewa Landowska; illustrators worked, e.g., under the curatorship of Paweł Mildner and Ola Niepsuj, while layout classes were led by Zofia Oslislo and Marian Misiak. Registration for the second edition of the project starts in August. This time, however, the event will take a slightly different shape. Grzegorz Owczarek says:

The difference will lie in the final product – we’ll not only have a book, but also a website. It’s not a typical Print vs. Web conflict, I’d rather call it Print & Web  - the two distinct yet equally interesting media. For sure, a website to come will heavily refer to a book and vice versa. Thanks to it we can approach new subjects: a text composition online, an interactive and moving illustration or a generated, changeable lettering.





This change is an answer to a limited distribution of a book which, last time, was published in 500 copies that were sold immediately. Some readers were using a PDF format on the festival’s website, however, it was not adapted to reading on screen. The website poses new challenges for the participants and requires specific skills participants will acquire with the help of invited professionals. We’re still inviting new ones but, for the time being, we know that those who’ll take part in the upcoming edition of Kopublikacja will meet designer and programmer Michał Szota and listen to Waldemar Węgrzyn’s lecture on web typography. The workshop organizers also reveal:


"One of the workshop hosts will be Ania Bil, a young and talented designer from the Chillid studio, who will talk in detail about designing responsive websites, i.e., those that adapt their composition to a device. Moreover, the lettering team will be joined by Dawid Górny, who is less known in Lower Silesia but has completed very interesting projects connecting typography and design with processing."


As of August, it will be possible to register for workshops by filling in a form available on www.kopublikacja.pl, The website will also have current information on the program and workshop hosts. Participants will be chosen on the basis of a submitted portfolio. Those interested in joining the layout team will be required to have at least basic knowledge of InDesign software and each candidate should be ready to learn coding.



The first edition of Kopublikacja was a success. The fruit of participants’ labor was an anthology Opowiadanie, which consisted of articles by prominent authors from all over the world, including Wioletta Grzegorzewska from Poland, Alain Mabanckou from Congo and Petra Soukupova from the Czech Republic. Young illustrators and typographers jointly tried to present a unique atmosphere and their stylistic diversity by creating a visually sophisticated, illustrated publication for adults. Some of them decided to continue a creative collaboration after workshops, giving rise to such projects as Klub Ilustratora or Pantograf, created by lettering apprentices, who currently make sign boards. Just like during the first edition, the second one will take place at BWA Wroclaw Design gallery. Once again, the International Short Story Festival will provide the participants with a set of short and creativity-inspiring prose forms.



Text: Asia Flisek*

Photos of the book: Danuta Salamon
Photos of the workshop: Alicja Kielan
Illustrations in the book, in order: Łukasz Golędzinowski, Łukasz Drzycimski, Joanna Gębal


*Asia Flisek comes from Gdańsk, but, for a year now, she has been living in Wroclaw - the city her grandma used to tell her about. She is a film studies student, who likes Czech cinematography, Franz Kafka and dialogues in Wes Anderson's movies. She collects beautiful books for children and adults. 







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