40 years ago, I wrote one of my masters theses on William Blake; and his themes of innocence versus experience and also his dedication to making books by hand, self-publishing, both writing and illustrating, etc., have influenced my life and work since that time. I have numerous posts about William Blake in my blog. Search William Blake in my blog to learn more about his life’s work.
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Images and Text from Wikipedia:
Origins of the form: William Blake
Whilst artists have been involved in the production of books in Europe since the early medieval period (such as the Book of Kells and the Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry), most writers on the subject cite the English visionary artist and poet William Blake (1757–1827) as the earliest direct antecedent 
Books such as Songs of Innocence and of Experience were written, illustrated, printed, coloured and bound by Blake and his wife Catherine, and the merging of handwritten texts and images created intensely vivid, hermetic works without any obvious precedents. These works would set the tone for later artists’ books, connecting self-publishing and self-distribution with the integration of text, image and form. All of these factors have remained key concepts in artists’ books up to the present day.