A Peek Inside the Covers of DA 90

It’s spring, so you know what that means–a new issue of DA hits the post office to arrive at homes, libraries and businesses all over Canada as well as to subscribers further afield. Many of you have already discovered the delights to be found in the most recent issue, #90, but if you haven’t yet purchased a copy, here are a few highlights in store for you.

DA 90, including keepsake and bookmark
As always, each issue comes with a printed keepsake. This one was printed letterpress by Duncan Major at Running the Goat. We’ve also included a neat little bookmark featuring dingbats from our Dingbats Resource.
The feature article is by Tim Inkster, publisher of DA and of the Porcupine’s Quill. It details some of the more interesting (and humorous) anecdotes surrounding the publication of several books by Canadian poetry icon P. K. Page. A must-read piece!
Another great article in this issue is Duncan Major’s reflection on the accomplishments of Tara Bryan and walking bird press of Flatrock, Newfoundland. The piece is chock-a-block with images of the beautiful work produced by walking bird press.
Of course, we always include a rogue to keep things lively. This issue shines the spotlight on one of the founders of the Devil’s Artisan, Paul Forage.
Be sure to add DA 90 to your collection!

We hope you’ve enjoyed this peek at the pages of our latest issue. If you’re fascinated by these snippets and tempted to make a copy your own, you can purchase in print from Abe Books, or buy a digital copy from our eStore.

Happy reading!

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Sneak Peek! A Look at What’s Next in DA 90

Can’t wait to find out what we’re working on for DA 90? You’re in luck! Here’s a taste of what you’ll find in the pages of the spring/summer issue.

DA 90 cover

As many fans may already know, the Porcupine’s Quill has published several books of poetry and prose by the beloved literary figure P. K. Page. From the first volume of collected poetry, The Hidden Room, in 1997 to the Griffin-shortlisted Coal and Roses in 2009, to the volume of her selected children’s fiction, Metamorphosis, in 2020, the Porcupine’s Quill has attempted to preserve Page’s legacy for new readers across Canada.

DA 90 will feature Tim Inkster’s recollections on his professional relationship with P. K. Page, which began in the spring of 1985 when Constance Rooke commissioned a broadside of P. K.’s ‘Deaf Mute in a Pear Tree’ poem as a promotion for The Malahat Review. An anecdotal history of their many collaborations over the next two decades serves to highlight the gulf of misunderstanding that continues to bedevil the aspirations of scholarship as well as the increasingly threatened copyrights of commercial book publishers.

What else can be found in this issue?

Duncan Major contributes a letterpress keepsake and reflects on his role as the printer’s devil at Tara Bryan’s walking bird press of Flatrock, Newfoundland. Richard Kegler presents Fairbank Italic that was issued by Monotype in 1929 as Bembo Condensed Italic, though it was never intended to be anything of the sort. Sarah Lough remembers her brother Paul Forage, who was one of the three founding editors of the Devil’s Artisan. And editor Don McLeod shares snapshots of printmaker Mark Huebner beginning work on a new graphic novel in the boardroom of the Arts & Letters Club on Elm Street in Toronto.

And there you have it. Subscribers can look forward to seeing copies in their mailbox sometime in May. If you’re not yet a subscriber, consider signing up–individual subscriptions start at $27!

We hope you enjoyed this sneak peek of our upcoming issue. And just in case you need something to keep you busy until DA 90 comes out, don’t forget to browse our available previous issues for more retro print culture.


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From DA 88: The David B. Milne Playing Card Project

sample card from the David B. Milne Playing Card Project featuring a watercolour of various king, queen and knave images used on the face cards.

One of the fascinating articles in the latest issue of the Devil’s Artisan dives into a rather non-traditional project taken on by Canadian painter David B. Milne in the early 1940s. Milne became fascinated by the history of playing cards and created a series of watercolours featuring the characters we normally see on face cards–kings, queens and knaves/jacks. These watercolours were later used to create actual decks of playing cards in 1973 by Stan Bevington and David Silcox.

You can read about this fascinating project in DA 88.

You can also purchase one of a limited number of sets of these playing cards, should you find the project of particular interest. Keep reading for information about the set and how to order.

* * *

(David Milne/Coach House Press/Stan Bevington/David Silcox). A set of two decks of the standard 52 playing cards plus two jokers each, measuring 9 x 6.3 cm (standard size), designs based on two watercolours by David Milne. (Toronto: Coach House Press, 1973). 1 of 100 sets in a custom-made wooden box (11.5 x 14.8 cm, either Ontario white pine or Ontario walnut) with a sliding lid.

The set of decks, showing recto and verso cards, displayed in a custom-made wooden box.

The rectos of both decks are illustrated with a watercolour design from Milne’s ‘King, Queen, and Jokers’ I and II — the first deck features a reproduction of figures taken from of one watercolour image in ‘King, Queen, and Jokers I’, while the second deck features a reproduction of figures from one watercolour image in ‘King, Queen, and Jokers II.’ The figures for the knaves, queens, kings and jokers are taken from the Milne watercolours, which in the original watercolours are full-figures but for the face cards in the decks are depicted in the more traditional three-quarter figure.

In an interview with Don McLeod in DA: The Devil’s Artisan (issue 88, 2021), Stan Bevington discusses the genesis and evolution of these cards and details their printing and production. The process involved the use of integrated random grain screenless photography and a complicated colour separation procedure.


Sets of the cards can be ordered from David Mason Books at:  or 416-598-1015

Appointment is necessary to view. Please call.

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Cover Reveal: Sneak Peek at DA 87

DA 87 cover reveal with blank cover decorated with question mark

Can you believe that in a few short months we’ll be celebrating the release of yet another fascinating issue of Canada’s journal of the printing arts, The Devil’s Artisan? It seems like forever ago, but also just yesterday that we were announcing the arrival of DA 86.

But we don’t like to be idle, so even as you’ve sat down to enjoy the latest issue, we’ve been turning our attention to the next, and we’re too excited not to let you in on some of the developments.

So, to whet your appetite for the Fall/Winter 2020 issue, today we he have a treat for you: a cover reveal! You (yes, you!) are the first to clap eyes on the outstanding cover, and, if you look closely, you’ll be able to discern the lead article, too.

Drumroll please…

DA 87 cover, featuring circus design and title "Trading in the Real: Andrew King and Design on the Canadian Prairies"

Isn’t it stupendous? I absolutely love the bright carnival design–it evokes such joy and nostalgia! It definitely promises and entertaining look at some regional Canadian design history.

We hope you enjoyed this sneak peek at the cover of our next issue. Check back in a few weeks for a sneak peek at the contents!


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The Devil's Artisan is remarkable in Canadian publishing in that most of the physical production of our journal is completed in-house at the shop on the Main Street of Erin Village. We print on a twenty-five inch Heidelberg KORD, typically onto acid-free Zephyr Antique laid. The sheets are then folded, and sewn into signatures on a 1907 model Smyth National Book Sewing machine.

To take a virtual tour of the pressroom, visit us at YouTube for a discussion of offset printing in general, and the operation of a Heidelberg KORD in particular. Other videos include Four Colour Printing, Smyth Sewing and Wood Engraving. Photographs of production machinery used on these pages were taken by Sandra Traversy on site at the printing office of the Porcupine's Quill, December 2008.

The Devil's Artisan would like to acknowledge the financial support of the Government of Canada through the Canada Magazine Fund (CMF) through the Support for Arts and Literary Magazines (SALM) component toward our editorial and production costs. Thanks, as well, for the generosity of the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, and the Sleeman Brewing Company.