In my 8 plus years of book design I’ve never actually seen a stranger with a book whose cover I designed—until this morning. The book was The Age of Sinatra from softskull press. David Ohle’s sequel to his legendary postmodern novel Motorman. It was gratifying to see my book cover “out in the wild” but even more gratifying to see a young woman in her mid 20’s reading David Ohle.
The past week was and eventful one for two contributors to The Hypothetical Library—Lydia Millet, and Colum McCann. Lydia was a finalist for the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, and Colum was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship.
Lydia’s most recent book Love in Infant Monkeys, is a wonderful collection of stories that’s over arching theme is the interplay of animals, humans and everything in between. I highly recommend you go out and get this brilliant collection—the opening story Sexing the Pheasant is reason enough. Imagine being privy to pop star Madonna’s internal monologue as she considers the pheasant she just shot in the English country side “(Good work, self!)”.
In honor of Lydia’s nomination I thought I would show a sort of process—before/after of the main turtle image from the cover for Apocalypse Animals. Of all of the covers I’ve done to date for The Hypothetical Library, this was the most labor intensive, and fun.
For Colum I’ve decided to go back in time a little. In my very first entry I said “Colum is someone I have wanted to work with for years and now I get my wish.” That was not exactly true, Colum and I have worked together before—sort of. When Colum was finishing up the manuscript for his amazing novel Dancer back in 2002, he contacted me because he needed an image for the interior of the book. The main character Rudolf Nureyev had drawn a picture of lips on a napkin, and Colum wanted an image to accompany the text. “It should look like a drawing, by someone who can’t draw” He needed it that day and did some quick “drawings” using my left hand and my computer. Here is the final result.
I was never very happy with it, mainly because it does look like it was drawn on a computer. In honor of Colum’s recent success I’ve decided after 8 years, to revise the image. The drawing below is the 3rd of 14 napkin sketches, again done with my left hand but this time with a pen. If you have a copy of Dancer, I encourage you to print this out and place it on page 208.
Comic Book Legal Defense Fund
On a completely separate non-hypothetical note I'd like to announce the relaunch of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund website, and design. It's a project that I have worked on and off for about 2 years now. The CBLDF is a free speech organization
One note of designer irony/karma—I actually asked that the logo on the website be made "bigger" than it is now. It's that very request that makes me groan when an advertising client asks the same thing of me. But it's—you know—different when I ask. Right?