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1. Book-O-Beards: A Wearable Book

Book-O-Beards by Donald Lemke and Bob Lentzby Donald Lemke and Bob Lentz

Guys. So if book-gifting isn’t a thing for April Fool’s Day, then it totally should be. These books aren’t a joke, but they are a huge bunch of laughs.

Here they are in action:

How funny is that? Such clever design. A perfect accessory.

Book-O-Beards by Donald Lemke and Bob Lentz

Hipster popularity aside, these punchy beards provide a secret identity for the preschool set. It’s dress up meets poetry meets a barrel of laughs.

And these guys don’t stop there! Beards have some series teammates in Book-O-Hats, Book-O-Teeth, and Book-O-Masks.Book-O-Beards by Donald Lemke and Bob Lentz Book-O-Beards by Donald Lemke and Bob Lentz

 

Sure to spice up story time!

ch

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2. Moodog

Medium Moodog Logo_final mediumI just finished this logo for a local start-up. The client wanted her dog included in the logo. Lots of elements and detail, but I think it works. She will watch your home when you can't, making sure your pool does not turn green and bugs don't over take your space.

      

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3. The Art of Making Gelato

The Art of Making Gelato by Morgan Moranoby Morgan Morano (Race Point Publishing, 2015)

And now for a little something different. And delicious.

Last week we spent a bit of time in Paris, so won’t you join me in Italy? It’s only a hop, skip, and a spoon away.

I’m not the only author in this family. Our cousin Morgan is a superstar in the gelato world, and her debut book holds all of her sweet secrets. She’s a traditionalist. A purist. An artist.

Gelato 2

Forbes called her gelato the best in America, so you don’t just have to take my word for it.

Take a look.

The Art of Making Gelato by Morgan MoranoThe Art of Making Gelato by Morgan Morano

(click to enlarge)

Morgan’s expertise and love of this art form are fingerprinted here. And for someone who just learned how to make pancakes (me!), she’s an encouraging teacher.

And it’s beautiful. Hard not to make such a confection look so lovely, but the attention to composition and warmth in these pictures is a real treat.

The Art of Making Gelato by Morgan Morano The Art of Making Gelato by Morgan Morano(click to enlarge)

We’ve been pushing the mid-90s here in southern California, but for those of you still under winter’s freeze, the thaw is coming. And it looks delicious.

You can pre-order The Art of Making Gelato here or here.

And why not pair it with Olivia Goes to Venice? Or grab one of M. Sasek’s sharp and simple classics This is Rome or This is Venice.

That’s some tasty reading!

ch

PS: Thanks for all of the Cat Says Meow support! Congrats to our giveaway winner, Clark Haaland!

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4. Sample Logos

Logos I have made-01 Logos I have made-02 Logos I have made-03Over the years I have had the opportunity to design many logos. Here is a representative set of examples. They are all vector.

      

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5. Sample Packaging

Caffè FAMIGLIA 1kg-Regulara Caffé FAMIGLIA 500 g-Esp~l3 Caffé FAMIGLIA 500 g-DecafThree varieties of coffee bean packaging designed by yours truly.

      

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6. It's Official

My very first intentional collection, from start to finish. A sweet Easter lamb surrounded by tulips, joyful bold colors, and a hint of earthy textures.


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7. StrawberryLuna studio : a dynamic duo

Post by Jeanine

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I’ve been a long time fan of the super talented design, illustration, and printmaking team known as Strawberry Luna. My art crush on this husband-wife studio might have a little to do with the fact that some of my favorite rock bands are among their impressive client list. And because they hand pull their beautiful silkscreens the super old-fashioned way. Or, because they hail from my hometown of Pittsburgh, PA. But, mostly I just am in love with their distinctive and smart graphic style! Best known for their silkscreen prints and posters, they also work on custom illustration and design projects including CD & vinyl packaging,web-ready icons, t-shirt designs, and logos & identity packages.

Their impressive client list includes Belle and Sebastion, Camera Obscura, Andrew Bird, Feist, Bright Eyes, Death Cab for Cutie and many, many more.

It was hard to choose just a few favorite pieces to share, so be sure to stop by their website and Etsy shop to see more!

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8. Tricky Vic: The Impossibly True Story of the Man Who Sold the Eiffel Tower

Tricky Vic by Greg Pizzoli

by Greg Pizzoli (Viking, 2015)

I’ve read lots and lots and lots of books for kids. I’ve read lots of questionable ones and I’ve read lots of spectacular ones. And then I’ve read a handful that are simultaneously spectacular and fresh and inventive and completely honor how smart kids are.

This is one of those.

You might know Greg from that burping crocodile or the hound with a need for speed, but did you know a book about an impossible con is exactly what the world of kids’ books needed? Meet this Greg.

Actually, meet Robert Miller.

Tricky Vic by Greg Pizzoli

(click to enlarge)

A normal kid, one who leaves home to become an artist despite his parents’ best efforts. A normal kid with a penchant for billiards, poker, and gin.

A grifter known as Count Victor Lustig.

Tricky Vic by Greg Pizzoli

(click to enlarge)

This liqour induced pow-wow below the Totally Legit delivery truck might be one of my favorite moments in this thing. It’s accompanied by a sidebar of Totally Legit information about the Prohibition. This blend of grit and truth and history hangs right in the suspense of Vic’s story. It feels like Saul Bass made one of those The More You Know PSAs right there on the page.

Tricky Vic by Greg Pizzoli

(click to enlarge)

One of the greatest tricks in this whole book is how we see the silly, unsuspecting faces of Vic’s marks, but never his. Only a thumprint. Both the clearest and fuzziest identification.

Mixed-media collage always yields great texture, just by its very nature. But Greg adds custom-made rubber stamps, actual photo texture from the floor of the Eiffel Tower, and like we’ve already seen, his very own thumbprint. This approach is as layered and grungy as Vic himself. This book can’t be slick and clean and soft–it needs depth and dirt and intrigue. That’s what it’s got.

That’s no con.

Check out these endpapers. Brick wall, posted bills, danger, and suspense.

Tricky Vic by Greg Pizzoli

(click to enlarge)

Why does that not look like the full width of the book, you ask?

Because then there’s this:

Tricky Vic by Greg PizzoliIn the best of places, that sneaky space under the dust jacket, where unsuspecting grownups don’t dare peek. Kids do. They know where the good stuff is. And this is the good stuff: The Ten Commandments for Con Artists by our hero.

I think 8 is my favorite. Or 5. Or 10.

And now, don’t miss Greg and Julie’s chat about this book over at Seven Impossible Things. Lots to digest. Commandment 2 will be an impossibility.

ch

 

I received a copy of Tricky Vic from Viking, but the comments are all my own. And speaking of Viking, huge kudos to the publicity team that sent the book like so:

Tricky Vic by Greg Pizzoli

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9. Illustrator Submission :: Dean Gorissen

By Chloe

CCueBooks Gorissen-Kinglake+Cookbook+Family Gorissen-LSJ+Sherlock Gorissen-TenLittleElviTitle

Dean Gorissen’s illustrations are packed with character. His warm colour palettes and subtle textures add depth to his work and give a slight retro feel. Dean Gorissen has worked for a large variety of editorial clients and has also illustrated several picture books.

You can see more of Dean Gorrisen’s work here.

 

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10. Sarah Andreacchio

andreacchiofloralpattern

 

Sarah Andreacchio is an illustrator living in France. Her playful patterns are packed with florals and happy critters in cheerful colorways. In all of her pieces there is an energy and rhythm that keeps a captive audience while eliciting a happy mood. Her work has appeared on journals, cards, silk scarves and even dimensional object such as rings, little sculptures and pendants.bl

bl3

card1

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forestbluepatternandreacchio

fox

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rabbitring

summerpattern
underwaterblogBe sure to follow along with Sarah’s creative adventures on her blog, or add some of her cheery prints to your art collection by visiting her shop.

Written by Bryna Shields.

 

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11. Cat Says Meow (and a giveaway!)

Cat Says Meow by Michael P. Arndtby Michael Arndt (Chronicle Books, 2014)

This book won me over when I saw it last year, and it’s one that is fun to peek into again and again. And how is that the case with something so simple, but so sophisticated? So spare, but so complex? That’s the best truth of design.

Here’s what’s happening. Each spread shows an animal and its sound. And each animal is mostly made up of the letters of that sound.

It’s a fun puzzle to unlock. The portraits are bold and saturated in color, often different than we’d see them in the wild.

But here they are, wild anyway.

Cat Says Meow by Michael P. Arndt Cat Says Meow by Michael P. Arndt Cat Says Meow by Michael P. Arndt

I do love an animal book that goes beyond the usual suspects, don’t you? A mosquito! Not my favorite friend by any means, but he looks good and menacing here.

Cat Says Meow by Michael P. Arndt Cat Says Meow by Michael P. Arndt Cat Says Meow by Michael P. Arndt

This small volume is a perfect primer on both typography and onomatopoeia.

And it’s got killer endpapers.

Cat Says Meow by Michael P. Arndt

A portion of  proceeds from Cat Says Meow goes to support animal rescue organizations, including the ones from where Michael’s dog (Clooney!) and cat (Aiden!) were rescued.

And for more type fun, play this kerning game and see how your eye stacks up to a designer’s. Or this one on letter forms, which is a bezier curve bonanza.

Would you like a signed copy? And these one of a kind bookmarks and vinyl stickers! You do, yes. Leave a comment here or share this post on Twitter before midnight on March 8st, PST. Good luck!

Cat Says Meow by Michael P. ArndtCat Says Meow by Michael P. Arndt

 

ch

All images are © 2014 Michael Arndt. Thanks to the artist for sharing them (and an awesome giveaway!) here. And be sure to check out his Instagram if you love all things type, animal, and lovely. It’s a great one!

 

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12. Wood Block Painting

blocks03

Updated version of my modular wood-block-painting in the BYU-Idaho Faculty Art Show in the Spori Gallery.

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13. Who made the Oscars look so great? Designer Henry Hobson

guardians-of-the-galaxy-vfx.png

It’s not often you come away from an awards show thinking “Man those title cards were amazing!” but that’s exactly what I thought while watching the Oscars on Sunday. Everything about the graphics used to introduce the nominees was spot on — from the gorgeously curated objects used for the Production Design nominees to the lovely photos morphing into line drawings used for the in memoriam.

grand-budapest-hotel-oscars.jpg

I wasn’t alone in my admiration. And Deadline has a profile of the man behind it: commercial director and Oscar design vet Henry Hobson who is about to make his feature film directing debut. Hobson worked with a variety of talented producers and production houses to introduce a bracingly modern and startlingly stylish look too something that people see for literally five seconds.

Those title cards showing the 3D elements of the visual effects category? The makeup swipes that transformed the actors to their characters? The Best Picture montage from Birdman‘s silhouette fluttering away to the voting ballot from Selma that turned from white to black? It was Hobson, visual producer Lee Lodge and design/production house Elastic who brought it all to life. (How lucky is Maggie‘s financier Lotus Entertainment and its distribs Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions to be able to tap Hobson’s talent for the film’s marketing materials?)

Hobson is quick to give credit all around. “The charge from (producers) Craig (Zadan) and Neil (Meron) was to make each category stand out and as much as possible and not to rely on clips because the audience gets turned off after awhile,” he said. “This year, I wanted to mix it up a bit, so I worked with Elastic for the first time. We had 23 out of 24 categories this year, and we wanted to showcase the uniqueness of each event.” He worked closely with Jennifer Sofio Hall, a producer at Elastic.

glory-selma-oscars-2.jpg

Hobson also worked with production designer Derek McLane with Hobson, Lodge and Elastic to recreate the Edmond Pettus bridge set where Common and John Legend sang “Glory,” which had almost everyone watching it in tears.

Here’s a video montage of Hobson’s designs for the title cards for the eight Best Picture nominees. Call it post Saul Bass/Milton Glaser.

Best Picture Oscar Nomination Title Sequence – 2015 from henry hobson directing & design on Vimeo.

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Hobson has gotten a ton of attention for his work, including a fascintating interview on Slate where he reveals he such an Alan turing fan that he had reserved alanturing.com back in the 90s.

Sadly I can’t find any large images of his title cards, but you can get an idea of his fusion of classic and modern design sensibilities.

Hobson’s first film, Maggie, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Abigail Breslin, comes out in the Spring. While the casting may make you think it’s a “Professional” riff, t’s an offbeat zombie story about a father who stays by the side of a girl who’s been infected. Pretty sure it will look amazing.

maggie-arnold-schwarzenegger-abigail-breslin.jpg

1 Comments on Who made the Oscars look so great? Designer Henry Hobson, last added: 2/24/2015
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14. This is not recent, but I forgot to repost after website...







This is not recent, but I forgot to repost after website overhaul until now. Very Poe-inspired, of course.







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15. Stunning book covers by artist Iacopo Bruno

Post by Jeanine

IacopoBruno_IF_01a

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IacopoBruno_IF_01

Beautiful drawings, stellar storytelling, and gorgeous typography are among the many skills and expertise of Italian illustrator, Iacopo Bruno. They are also the key components of truly successful book covers, so it’s no surprise that Iacopo’s portfolio is jam-packed with delightful covers and his client list inclusive of many major publishers.

His style varies just enough to adapt to an impressive range of audience and subject matter. Sometimes his covers feature delicate hand lettering, vivid silhouettes, lively characters, or a touch of vintage or steampunk details—and often a combination of these elements. But the end result is always an inviting cover, drawing any reader into the world that lies within.

Iacopo founded DOT, a graphic design studio based in Milan that specializes in editorial and book design, illustration, and typography for a range of client markets. He’s created over 300 book covers, always bringing enthusiasm to each new project.

More of his work can be seen here: studio site | cover blog |sketch blog 

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16. Package design/illustration for a new gourmet ice cream brand...













Package design/illustration for a new gourmet ice cream brand emerging in LA soon…better hope they can airlift their products, if you don’t live within driving distance. 













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17. Year of the Sheep calendar….check! My all-time favorite...



Year of the Sheep calendar….check! My all-time favorite holiday. Somehow end of February is a time when I’m actually able to process the previous year & to think about what themes reflect things that actually matter to me in the new year to come. (I think I’m selling them locally, but email me if you insist on having one & are far from Portland - I could stick ‘em on my webstore if there’s a screaming demand?)



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18. a print designer named Aless Baylis

Post by Alice Palace

Aless has just set up her own studio label called ‘This is gold’. Based in London, she is available for freelance surface pattern, illustration and childrenswear graphics. I love her characters…

Untitled-1AlessBaylis2AlessBaylis3

See her New Website

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19. I Know a Lot of Things

I Know a Lot of Things by Ann and Paul Rand

by Ann and Paul Rand (Chronicle Books, 2009; originially published in 1956.)

I Know a Lot of Things by Ann and Paul Rand I Know a Lot of Things by Ann and Paul Rand

You might remember how much I love this pair’s Sparkle and Spin, and this one is just as playful and just as true. That case cover surprise is an a delight, and complementary-colored endpapers start this book with a bang.

I Know a Lot of Things by Ann and Paul Rand I Know a Lot of Things by Ann and Paul Rand I Know a Lot of Things by Ann and Paul Rand

Paul Rand’s graphic genius is so well-matched by the simple and spare words of his wife, Ann. The text and the pictures both glide through that magical reality of childhood. Things that might seem daunting to someone bested by time are small and accessible. Things that may seem obvious or forgettable are ripe for play and adventure.

I Know a Lot of Things by Ann and Paul Rand I Know a Lot of Things by Ann and Paul Rand

It’s a reminder to slow down, listen, and watch. The world is built of wonderful things. The big picture is as beautiful as the details.

I Know a Lot of Things by Ann and Paul Rand

Here, the sentiment is the whole of this person. I’m not sure there’s an ending more perfect, not for kids or their grownups. There’s so much more to know, but what you carry with you can stay.

ch

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20. ….still in the works, stay tuned for more package design...















….still in the works, stay tuned for more package design & story-telling imagery for Seven Stones coffee roasters…website should be up and rolling this month! (The names of the farms are still in flux…during the interim, I make up my own & use ‘em as filler)















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21. Judging a Book....Eve Ainsworth



I have always been a bit fussy when it comes to books. It goes without saying that I have to love the concept and in a lot of cases I'm swayed by recommendations. But what can often make me decide to pick up a book in the first place is the cover. If it is striking, if it grabs my attention - I very often want it, or at least want to know more about it.


So it goes without saying that I was delighted when Scholastic sent me the design for Seven Days. I immediately loved its bright, bold statement and the fact that words, spiteful words from my text, were plastered across it. It represents bullying so well for me. It's a big, bold statement. I was confident that this cover could have impact.
I guess I'd worried a lot about the cover. I really wanted to love it, so it was such a relief to see it. I just wanted to hug the designer behind it (in fact I did at the Scholastic party...!)

It got me thinking just how important cover design can be, and how authors could be blessed or cursed with a cover that they do not like, or do not feel reflects their story.

With this in mind, I spoke to a few authors about their favourite covers and asked what it was about them that made them stand out.

What were their cover stories?




Helen Grant - Urban Legends (Random House)


" I was very pleased this cover because it shows a female (dead?) body but in such a way that it appears almost abstract; you can only see one eye and the line of the face runs diagonally across the cover. I thought that was quite stylish."








    Keren David selected Salvage (Atom Books)

  " I love both the published versions of Salvage. They are very different, but still have lots of impact."












Hilary Freeman selected The Camden Town Tales (Piccadilly Press)

"I love all my Camden Town Tales covers. I think that they appeal to the readership because they are pretty and perfectly targeted."  










Emma Haughton  selected Now You See Me (Usbourne)



'I love this cover because it's so simple, and yet so striking, And that gorgeous zingy green!'









Sheena Wilkinson selected Still Falling (Little Island)


"What I loved was the feel of the cover. I couldn't in a million years have said what I wanted but when I saw what the designer had done I just thought, yeah, that's it. I wanted the book to have a sexy grown up feel which I think it does. My last books all featured horses and I really wanted this one to feel like a departure which it does. "








Caroline Green  selected Hold Your Breath (Piccadilly Press)



"I loved the metallic look that gave it an underwater feel. And the colours are gorgeous."










It's fascinating looking at different front covers and wondering what the author felt about each one. I guess when an area such as design is taken out of their hands, it's even more important that it works, that they connect to it.


What front covers do you especially like? Have you ever picked up a book initially because of the design?


I know I have...

Eve x

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22. …making more progress on the Year of the Sheep...



…making more progress on the Year of the Sheep calendar/poster…



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23. More for Seven Stones Roasters….labels for coffee...







More for Seven Stones Roasters….labels for coffee collections….the site design is still running a final lap, but should surface this month.







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24. Nate Powell and Chris Ross on How They Designed ‘March’

by Nate Powell and Chris Ross

[Editor’s note: The release this week of March Book Two by Rep. John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell has already made headlines with its story of the fight for civil rights in the 60s, and the covers to both volumes have become iconic in their own right. The message of the courage to fight for equality for all in the face of violent opposition is as relevant and needed today as it was 50 years ago. But powerful images to cover powerful times don’t always spring up fully formed. Here Powell and Top Shelf designer Chris Ross with an in-depth breakdown of how they created these covers and combined imagery to capture both history and ideals.]

Beat March A Nate Powell and Chris Ross on How They Designed March

Beat March B Nate Powell and Chris Ross on How They Designed March

NATE: March was originally a single, massive volume, so the initial front and back covers were intended to house the entire narrative: the front introduced the basic visual theme of opposition, with two elements facing off against each other, though a contingent of riot-ready white supremacist police were prominently featured across the bottom. After some discussion with Chris Ross, Andrew Aydin, and Congressman Lewis, we all agreed that we should shift some of that focus to the folks on the front lines, and away from Jim Crow police forces. Around that time, we decided to release the saga as a trilogy, so Chris and I jumped in to further develop the oppositional themes, but playing with different angles and approaches to the cover’s division.

Beat March C Nate Powell and Chris Ross on How They Designed March

NATE: The marching feet motif, like the book’s title, are rooted in one of Congressman Lewis’ favorite Martin Luther King quotes, “There is no sound more powerful than the marching feet of a determined people.” We experimented with a lot of other design elements, but in the end kept coming back to that unshakable image.

CHRIS: I think we also had to be very conscious of being white males metaphorically designing the “skin” of a graphic novel about the civil rights movement. For example, there’s a common trope in graphic design, especially featuring marginalized people, of representing characters as body parts, “cut off” by the edges and removed from any context. Women are reduced to legs, breasts, or butts. Black men are reduced to chests and backs. Lots of folks believe that that’s not coincidental, and doing that carries a unique meaning when we represent the race and the body. So in the context of marching feet, it’s important to add depth and see whole bodies in the background, while also showing faces where we can, conveying an accurate and diverse range of these folks’ unique experiences and emotional states. It gives context to the movement and The Movement.

Beat March D Nate Powell and Chris Ross on How They Designed MarchNATE: Once we settled on the lunch counter setting and I’d rendered it, a few more essential steps unfolded; importantly, there were a few re-draws of young John Lewis’ face to more perfectly capture his likeness, but several compositional changes occurred (eliminating the crowd of white heckers in the background, making the “Counter Closed” sign more legible, and adding condiment bottles to the counter, which really tied the whole room together, as The Dude might put it).

CHRIS: The type treatment began as Nate’s hand-rendered type, but the book “read” as a Nate Powell Book (alongside the fantastic Any Empire and Swallow Me Whole). This isn’t a problem because a Nate Powell Book is important and beautiful (as is Nate Powell), but March is in a different category and should have its own identity. So, we made a type treatment that was drawn from the interstate highway system, alongside some key fonts that I completely ripped off serve as homage to Eric Skillman [designer of Alec: The Years Have Pants and the Criterion Collection], whose spirit I tried to summon. Skillman is such a talented designer. So then I played with the type until it looked like the logotype March has always existed.

NATE: Chris had an incredible vision of the books as objects, as documents of that era whose contents had also survived the struggle. He brilliantly envisioned Book One as a second-hand textbook one might find in a segregated rural African-American school, like the one young John Lewis attended; the volume would bear the marks of excessive taping and binding, spine and corner wear… and the signed-and-numbered hardcover itself would include mid-century library card inserts and stamps.

CHRIS: Thanks Tualatin Elementary School librarians! But that is sort of an emerging trope—books as objects from other time periods and existing as living objects. I think it works when the designer and artist and author consider that the cover is not only going to communicate something to the reader, but that it will live a life exclusively with the reader. That’s a nice way of saying patina works in interesting ways and meanings on a cover, but it really does detract, in my opinion, when it’s an interior design choice. It makes me wonder how these books with interior patinas will affect readability in ten–twenty years. I’m guilty of thinking and designing like that myself. I think it seems like an easy tool in the toolchest, and I have to remember these books will last (and should be built to last) a long time. They live, as any teacher or librarian will tell you.

NATE: Likewise, Book Two’s cover is a survivor of that fateful bus burning along the Freedom Ride in Alabama, bearing the scorch marks and reconstructive tape necessary to keep it together as the Movement itself was threatened to be derailed.

CHRIS: The tape was originally the tape I was going to use on The Underwater Welder cover, but decided to go with a fabric texture with Welder and remembered the tape when we were noodling on March.

Beat March E Nate Powell and Chris Ross on How They Designed March NATE: We knew almost immediately what I wanted to be represented on the cover of Book Two, so it came together with very minimal sketching, but also opened up a series of conversations among the creative team. Congressman Lewis wanted to make sure that, even as a young man amidst the center of the Freedom Ride, he wasn’t exploiting the power of that burning bus’s image for the cover. Rep. Lewis had actually left the Freedom Ride for a couple of days to interview for activist work abroad, and as he was about to rejoin the Riders he discovered his bus had been attacked.

CHRIS: It’s such a dramatic rendering.

NATE: It was a powerful moment for reflection: that these experiences and their suffering were, part of a collective journey for liberation, but that can never undermine the fact that they were specific, real acts of terrorism inflicting deep trauma, injury, and death. To young John Lewis’ friends, neighbors, heroes, and to himself. It was a call to be mindful of ownership over these experiences. At the same time, he (and we) measured his own mandate to “tell the whole story,” to “make it plain.” At our consensus, I drew an alternate top for the Book Two cover depicting demonstrators at the March On Washington moving across the National Mall. After careful consideration, Congressman Lewis concluded that the original cover spoke more powerfully to the whole truth of the Movement and its struggle.

 

CHRIS: That alternative cover is really interesting, and it plays against the angles that we had set up, the angles of action. If we were going that way, we’d have to reconsider the dutch angle and the directions of movement above and below the title.

 

Beat March F Nate Powell and Chris Ross on How They Designed MarchNATE: Color and angles have played an important role in reflecting both the books’ individual contents and their placement in the narrative arc: Book One is largely the yellow of caution and instruction, urging slow, careful movements before the saga intensifies. Book Two is mostly the blue-and-grey of the previous century’s American Civil War, but carrying the gold/green/red palette of the first book forward as well. I will only briefly mention that the cover of Book Three may use the color scheme of the Alabama state flag, and the previously separated opposing elements have now been pushed into the same picture plane. The volumes begin with flat, ninety-degree compositions, but shift in design and camera placement as the Movement intensifies, echoing a literal escalation of angles across the covers.

 

CHRIS: I remember one of the color guides we were thinking about was really blue and yellow (the second from the left above), like Boy Scout blue and yellow, and it made the cover vibrate, but not really in a way that was communicating what we wanted to communicate. Beat March G Nate Powell and Chris Ross on How They Designed March

 

NATE: Just as we aimed for consistency and progression of theme on the front covers and total package, Chris Ross presented the idea of creating a triptych out of the saga’s back covers. One of us brought up the idea of Theodore Parker’s quote, adapted and immortalized by Dr. King, that the “arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice”, and we didn’t have to look long to find a perfect physical arc in the Edmund Pettus Bridge itself.

 

CHRIS: I wanted that as an art piece—a consistent narrative arc through time and this project. Standalone. Thematically linked through history that these conflicts get played out over longer time periods than humans live, and that through hard work and sacrifice, it gets incrementally better…we hope.

 

NATE: As I remember, I drew the Book One back cover waaaaay back in late 2011, when March was a single volume. I could see it very clearly in my mind’s eye, and just did one quick watercolor sketch before turning in the finished piece. Once we decided to make it a trilogy the next summer, we started looking ahead in content to pull out physical arcs and arches that might apply to our concept. I knew that Book Two would end with the bombing of 16th Street Baptist in Birmingham and wanted the blown-out window to be on the back cover as an eternal echo of the book itself, but it wasn’t until I started gathering more reference, much closer to the book’s end, that I realized the arch already continued in the blown-out window’s design.

 

Beat March H Nate Powell and Chris Ross on How They Designed MarchCHRIS: We also chose to crop the image on the back so that it displayed four missing panels—representing the four girls killed in the bombing. Then those missing panels become rays of sunshine.

 

Beat March I Nate Powell and Chris Ross on How They Designed MarchCHRIS: We find these coincidental things in our “discovery” of a cover, and it’s like they’re always already there. It’s also why I like designing covers FAR in advance of their release: not just for marketing reasons, but so that the creators can live with it for a long time, to become intimate with the cover, to feel like that cover has always existed. In fact, the book cover for March: Book Two was finished a few days after we finished the cover for Book One. Right now, we’re narrowing down the cover for Book Three.

 

NATE: On that note, I remembered the Birmingham window from my initial reading of Walking with the Wind, its Christ’s face blown out by the explosion—but I had to check in with Andrew and the Congressman halfway through drawing Book Two, in which the face of Christ is also blown out by a brick at First Baptist in Montgomery in 1961. It was eerie and disturbing to confirm both of these events, and from a writing perspective, the kind of thing you just can’t make up. So there it was. There they both were.

 

CHRIS: I didn’t know that—and that both these representations become something a bit more profound, a bit more representative of the movement. Kindness in the face (literally) of violent oppression.

 

NATE: We have elements in place to continue the overarching composition for Book Three—that’s being worked on right now (it’s sitting next to me at the desk!), but nothing to show yet. Back to the drawing table… gotta get these color sketches for the next cover done pronto!

 

CHRIS: That’s really the fun, terrifying, crazy, beautiful part: finding the engine of meaning and narrative in this story and doing some very Deep Thinking about what this engine looks like, how the elements that aesthetically speak to you play with Rep. Lewis’, Andrew’s, and Nate’s story. And represent them in meaningful ways. And hope that they always appear to have always existed.

 

March: Book One and March: Book Two are in stores now from Top Shelf Productions, an imprint of IDW Publishing.

3 Comments on Nate Powell and Chris Ross on How They Designed ‘March’, last added: 1/26/2015
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25. Comics Illustrator of the Week :: Francesco Francavilla

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Francesco Francavilla is an Italian comic-book artist who’s fame has skyrocketed the last 5 years. He’d been working in the independent comics scene since the mid-2000’s on projects like The Black Coat, and Sorrow. Francavilla’s first high-profile project came in 2008 when he collaborated with Matt Wagner on a new Zorro series for Dynamite Entertainment. From there he got to infuse his classic pulp style art on Marvel’s Black Panther, and Scott Snyder’s first Batman story arc in Detective Comics.

In 2012 Francavilla introduced his own noir vigilante, The Black Beetle, to the world in the pages of Dark Horse Presents. Since then, 2 volumes of the critically acclaimed series have been published(No Way Out, 2013 & Necrologue, 2014).

Most of Francesco Francavilla’s recent work has been focused on the mega-hit Afterlife with Archie, which gives readers a more mature, horror take on those classic Riverdale characters. He also continues to work on various personal, and professional illustration projects, including some exclusive movie posters for Mondo.

Francavilla is frequently updating his blog with new art, so if you like what you see click here for more!

For more comics related art, you can follow me on my website comicstavern.com - Andy Yates

0 Comments on Comics Illustrator of the Week :: Francesco Francavilla as of 1/23/2015 12:49:00 AM
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