30 March 2018

Book Jacket project: Tarzan of the Apes

Click image to enlarge

This one came together very quickly. I knew I wanted to use the original cover art so I made a cleaned up version of that and also used the original text placement as inspiration for the book title and author name placement.

It is a very thick book, so the space allowed for more creative titles on the spine and remain readable. I also extended the green background into the back covers the text would be offset.

Flickr post: what just happened?

So I posted a pretty standard image from the old port one morning a few days ago and got a message from Flickr saying 400+ people had seen it by the end of the day... and it kept going and going...

I have no idea why this happened. It's an OK photo, I actually have a few better ones of the same thing I posts months ago. I do have some images with many more views, but they are mostly of guys with no shirts or something and took years to accumulate those views.

I am not complaining, it's nice to get noticed, but too bad those 4300+ and counting views are not on one of my animations or documentaries. In that case, the chances of me getting some work from the attention might be dramatically increased. I just find this odd, this is as close as I get to viral anything. it doesn't look like anyone checked out any of my other photos on Flickr as a result so it's some sort of fluke I'm guessing.

16 March 2018

Book jacket project: The Picture of Dorian Gray

click image to enlarge

So this one I tied to break away more from my habits and it has a sort of paperback book cover look to me. These past three book were all from the Modern Library, so I need to maybe look into my collection and find another publisher. I have a few Jules Verne and Burroughs Tarzan of the Apes, so there are other subjects to cover (pun intended).

I deliberately didn't use black backdrops on the last few because I think that while visual short-cuts are useful and sometimes needed, it's best to at least try and avoid them or turn them on their heads now and then. Horror is always some ornate font, in red on a black background. Dripping blood abounds on these covers. You might end up using some of all of those visual tropes in the end, but it's always useful to take another road first.

The Picture of Dorian Gray is very different from the typical gothic horror story, much more psychological and while there are violent turns, there is also a lot of humour. The monster is our own ego and pretentiousness revealed in the character (and portrait0 of the eternally young Dorian Gray.

The illustration is a 3D render I made to look less 3D prices and more painterly. A skin-less looking hand is pushing it's way out of a paining in an ornate frame that has been covered by an old sheet. I made one image that didn't show enough of the frame which made the image a too ambiguous so I made another. The font is simple and clean. None of the text is pure white, I find it easier to read if the text on black is a light grey over pure white.

14 March 2018

Book Jacket Project: Frankenstein Version 3

Click image to enlarge

Thanks to Mike Luce's feedback, I went in a different direction. Did I want to have no illustration? I really wanted a Wrighson on the cover, afterall these will eventually be covering the books in my library. I also liked the white paper and the larger image lets me have that simplicity without sacrificing drama.

13 March 2018

Design Project; Book jackets

It is no secret my work load has been say... reduced over the last year. Getting new contracts has been near impossible despite some very successful projects in the recent past. I guess a well reviewed design for a book and a nomination for an international Emmy don't really carry much weight these days... at least where I am concerned.

I have been taking up the slack by working on my personal projects, mostly animations. That is fine but I need to keep my design work up as well so I've decided to look trough my personal home library and redesign book jackets for a few of the hardcovers I have. 

So I am going to post my results, experiments and ideas here and hope to get some feedback to keep me on my toes with my graphic design work. My plan is use mostly design techniques but I might also try illustrating a few myself - depending on the book. I will try different styles and looks for each book and maybe even several for each book as I go along.

If I can get money to print these up, I plan to use them in my book collection.

Please: click the images to enlarge to see them in detail.


I actually did this one before, I think with Pagestream on my Amiga many years ago. I love the Bernie Wrightson illusions for this book and used this one on the old jacket as well. Originally I liked  the stark white over the textured backdrop, but settled (for now) on an old wet plate texture from the days when photo negatives were on glass. I also tried a version with no cover image.


I read this books every few years over again and researched 100s of other covers - many of which I found pretty terrible. Again I like a clean look and white as a backdrop would also work for this I think. The skull with wings is a royalty free graphic I slightly changed and I chose a font that was not overly decorative. The blood splatter was something I though I should avoid but then thought this needed little more excitement added. 

08 March 2018

In The Future with Nostro-dumbass!

New version is done! Now to raise some money and try it in some festivals.