Why you must attend the next self-publishing workshop at MONA

Recently, the wonderful MONA gallery played host to TasRes and an assortment of visual artists and writers at a weekend-long workshop for self-publishers.

The focus was on software training for writers and artists keen to improve their technology skills.

Ensure your book is proof read

Julianne demonstrating Photoshop

The weekend kicked off with artist Julianne Clifford delivering a grammar quiz. Participants strained a few brain cells punctuating sentences and correcting grammatical errors.

The highest score was 18 out of 20 questions while the average was 10 to 12. Quite obviously, grammatical errors are a common problem for self-publishers. This means that even the most accomplished author needs an editor who can proofread a manuscript prior to publication.

Slate as a social media tool

Dr Tim Kitchn

Next, Dr Tim Kitchen spoke about Adobe Slate, an iPad-compatible product that turns images and messages into stories. A URL is generated to share quickly and easily and is helpful in establishing an online presence.

Keep book covers simple


Brett Kent followed with how to create Photoshop book covers and he encouraged participants to use original images to avoid copyright issues.

He took a book template cover (which can be downloaded from CreateSpace and Blurb) and filled it with text and images. He then altered its composition by selecting, masking, blending, and refining the edges.

Brett encouraged participants to keep book covers simple because too much clutter, color and typography looks amateurish and deters readers.

Photoshop tips

After lunch it was back to Julianne who demonstrated easy Photoshop techniques — such as adjustment layers and curves —  to improve images.

Creating flip books is fun

I delivered Day One’s last workshop on how to create a flip book in InDesign. Flip books are really quite simple and with a bit of InDesign savvy, self-publishers can create brochures, catalogs, picture books, albums and those cute little page curls that simulate page turning.

Day 2

Avatars make a memorable online presence

Brett Kent encouraged everyone to create an avatar for their social media pages. Building on techniques used in previous sessions, participants used textures and color to enhance their image and create an avatar to complement their online presence.

Video inspires

Tim Kitchen directing

Tim Kitchen followed with a popular session on promotional videos. Tim demonstrated green screen, audio recording, lighting and editing in Premiere Pro. The video was then exported and ready to upload to social media pages.

This workshop inspired many to create their own videos to use as an effective promotional tool.

Residencies are cool

Julianne concluded the weekend by discussing the value of artists’ residencies and how these events can inspire artists and provide plenty of networking opportunities. Her most recent residency was in Budapest where she came away with a wonderful collection of photographs and artwork.

The Venue

MONA was a fantastic venue to host a self-publishing residency. The highlight was the outstanding catering and the mixture of sweet and savoury dishes created by the gourmet chefs.

If you were unable to attend this unique event then please check out TasRes for upcoming news.


Lisa would smile at this MONA: Why you must see Tasmania’s MONA Gallery

mona lisa

It’s carved from a sandstone cliff on the edge of Hobart’s Derwent river. Its owner is a public-spirited mathematical genius whose talent for gambling made him a fortune and gave him the means to build an art gallery like no other.  It’s called MONA (Museum of Old and New Art) gallery and since it opened in January, 2011, it has become Tasmania’s biggest tourist magnet.

After encountering this strange and mysterious place recently, I see why.

To visit MONA is to experience a shift in consciousness without recourse to drugs.  MONA’s surreal, dream-like atmosphere is due to three main things: its design (the gallery’s three levels are all underground), the way in which people must navigate its terrain (with a high-tech gizmo) and the startling nature and placement of its art (the old and the new are juxtaposed in unexpected ways).

On entry, I was given earphones and an iPhone-like gadget with a GPS that tracks your movements through the gallery.  A staff member explained that, as all the art is unlabeled, you must use this device to obtain details about each work (and its artist) as you encounter it.  You may also record whether you like or dislike each exhibit and your opinion is compared with other MONA visitors.

What became apparent as I stepped from the elevator and began exploring MONA’s subterranean depths was the way in which all my senses were engaged – often in confronting ways.  I was especially revolted by an exhibit mimicking the human digestive system – an enormous apparatus occupying an entire room – which smelled, sounded and looked appalling.  My gizmo explained the artist’s idea was to expose the degree to which “all modern art is shit”.  I left the room, took a deep breath and continued on my way.

I found works of mesmerizing beauty.  My favourite was Julius Popp’s Bit.fall.  I stood for ages watching a waterfall of short phrases  – taken from recent news headlines –   that formed in the air, stayed for a second, then dissolved and cascaded to the floor below.  The artist’s intention, explained my navigation device, was to illustrate how we are all awash in information, most of which we struggle to process

Time barely existed as I travelled from floor to floor. At one point, I found myself in a long, dark and narrow tunnel that reminded me of a birth canal and each step I took made sounds that echoed eerily off the walls.

More surprises appeared: Egyptian mummies placed beside sparkling modern art; a white library; a room full of light bulbs flashing to the heartbeats of individual gallery visitors; drawers that speak to you as they are opened.

It all felt as if I’d fallen down the rabbit hole into a psychedelic version of Alice in Wonderland. Its owner, David Walsh, calls MONA “a subversive adult Disneyland” and it certainly took me on a wild ride. Even the toilets are magical.

One thing’s for sure.

I’ll be back.

Publishing Workshops at MONA

man writing

Publishing Workshops at MONA:

 October 31 – November 2, 2015

Writers, educators, journalists, designers and bloggers turn your self-publishing idea into reality at Hobart’s world famous MONA gallery. Join Adobe evangelist Dr Tim Kitchen, author and Adobe education leader Susan Bell and artist Julianne Clifford, ​in a series of ​​workshops to help your project stand out in a competitive industry.

Workshops include:
  • ​Flip book creation
  • ​Book cover design
  • How to film and edit a book promotion trailer
  • Self-publishing options including print-on-demand and eBooks
  • Effective social media strategies
  • ​Networking ideas​
  • ​An introduction to publishing software including Photoshop, InDesign and Premiere
  • ​Grammar and punctuation for the self-publisher.

Enjoy a weekend at MONA and imbibe​ the creative atmosphere of ​this ​​unique, world-class gallery.​

​Retreat cost​ includes MONA entry,​ morning & afternoon tea and lunch.

Download a brochure for further information.

* Workshops run over October 31 to November 1. Workshop ticket guarantees entry to the Gallery on November 2 or at your earliest convenience.

Eventbrite - MONA publishing workshops