Friday, December 20, 2013

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Public Speaking

Even more killed cover sketches for you this week:

Eventually the title was changed, and the final design ended up being a bit more refined:

Friday, December 6, 2013

More kills

Here are some more killed sketches for a fun project that eventually went in a different direction:

This is Improbable Too

some killed sketches:

and the final art:

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Friday, October 4, 2013

Monday, September 30, 2013

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Fruits / Labors / Prints

In addition to my Limited Edition Silkscreens + Originals, you can now purchase selected art prints from my new INPRNT Shop.

I will be adding new art to the store regularly, but right now you can get the first 3 Nabokov illustrations, as well as this brand new poster . . .

Available in 12"x16" and 18"x 24".

Friday, September 13, 2013

Nabokov pt.3

Part 3 of my Nabokov short story series;


You can see the previous 2 illustrations here.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Friday, August 16, 2013

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Monday, August 12, 2013

Necessary Errors

My cover design for Caleb Crain's wonderful new novel Necessary Errors, about young expats in early 90's Prague. I posted some thumbnail comps of it a few months back, but here's a large final version, just because.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Print Store

silkscreen details

Sketchbook pages 8/01/13

Trying to get back into creative sketching. Here's a random spread from this week:

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Rockets' Red Glare

Rockets – black + red ink

Gemini suit sketch – pencil + blue ink

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Morning Doodle

fighting fire with fire

black + red ink

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

A Tale for the Time Being - cover design process

One thing I didn't realize as a young art-student book enthusiast is that cover designers don't get to choose the books they work on. For some naive reason I had assumed that the job consisted of reading great books all day and then simply making them look as beautiful as possible. In reality, each time a designer is assigned a new book, it's kind of like walking into a bookstore blindfolded and picking up whatever you bump into first. As somewhat of a fiction-snob, it's not too often that I get to design a cover for a novel that I would actually buy for myself.

But every once in a while, something really interesting shows up. This was the case with Ruth Ozeki's latest novel, A Tale for the Time Being, which came to me while I was working at Viking/Penguin. As soon as I started reading the manuscript, I realized with a pleasant jolt that this was something I would actually enjoy reading.


The story begins within the diary of a Japanese schoolgirl named Nao, which is found inside a gutted copy of Marcel Proust's À la recherche du temps perdu, which is found inside a Hello Kitty Lunchbox containing several other mysterious objects, which is found inside a plastic bag washed up on the beach, by a character named Ruth Ozeki. After that, things branch off in different directions as Nao and Ruth try to make sense of each other from across the ocean (and the ambiguous amount of time) that separates them.The heart of the story revolves around Nao and her startlingly frank yet vulnerable thoughts on time, language, family, suicide, and culture. Bullied at school and neglected at home, Nao's only real mentors are her 104-year-old-Feminist-Anarchist-Zen-Buddhist-nun-great-grandmother and a prostitute who works at the local cafe. On the first page Nao casually declares her intent to commit suicide, the reasons behind this choice being the biggest and most interesting mystery in the book. 

I decided to run with the first concept that popped into my head: a very simple and tactile facsimile of the red Proust notebook, embossed with an illustration of Nao, floating spectrally above the rocky coast of British Columbia. I think this design is all about questions: How did this book get here? Was it lost intentionally, or by accident? Is Nao alive or dead? Is she even real?

Minimal designs like this is always a hard sell in cover meetings, and it was immediately rejected as too quiet and precious-looking. Loud, colorful, and commercial are popular adjectives in modern book marketing, but it's always fun to start off negotiations with something a little more obscure.


Round 2:

These were still considered a bit too reserved and ethereal, so we decided to change directions completely for the next round, and focus more on the Japanese pop-culture element so prevalent in Nao's diary. I think someone even went so far as to suggest that I put a "Hello Kitty" on the cover. That should give you an idea of how badly I missed the target with those first few designs.

I came across these wonderfully weird patterns, which gave me the idea to make a disjointed collage with pieces from all the interlocking stories, kind of like a chaotic japanese comic book. I especially liked the bizarre floating head (?) pattern, since the young girls and the old lady reminded me a little of Nao and her great-grandmother.

This design might be a case of the pendulum swinging a little too far in the opposite direction, but it's definitely getting closer. One thing that went over very well was the young girl's face. She looks just a bit too young to be the main character in the book, but the sales team loved her, so I kept her in the design.


Round 3:

Things are getting pretty close here. We have the big type, bright colors, and just enough pieces from the story to intrigue a customer without giving too much away. The waves at the bottom are from a beautiful woodcut by Uehara Konen.

Eventually the final design came together. Different parts of the story peek out from layered horizontal windows, each one interrupting and obscuring the next. The further you read into the book, the more they begin to fit together and make sense. 

In summary: the book is very good, and I highly recommend it.