Saturday, November 29, 2008

“Escape By Sea” Book Cover

Escape By Sea
, a young adult historical novel by L.S. Lawrence, takes place during the Carthaginian-Roman wars. Sara, the fifteen year-old daughter of a wealthy Carthaginian senator, transforms herself by force of circumstance, from an over-protected child into a leader of men during a time of war. I had not done anything from this time period before, so it was fun doing the research to get the styling and scenery right. A bit of a challenge, too, since apparently there is practically no surviving art from the culture of ancient Carthage. In the end, I created the costume based on a synthesis of Roman and pre-Islamic Arabic dress. The model was photographed against a white backdrop, and the background created separately from images in my archives. Then the two images were composited in Photoshop.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Oberlin Alumni Magazine Cover

Oberlin College has embraced environmental sustainability as a core aspect of what its students should learn. The cover story of this issue of the alumni magazine discussed the many initiatives now underway at the College, including innovations in waste water treatment, use of locally grown produce, energy use monitoring, a solar parking pavilion, and an exceptionally bike-friendly campus.

They wanted a cover image suggesting a variety of these initiatives, so that details could be pulled out for use as spot illustrations throughout the article. Below are the original rough sketches presented.


Monday, November 17, 2008

“Crossing Stones” Book Cover

Though the conventional wisdom in cover design is to avoid having the visual literally duplicate the title, I felt I could not avoid it for this young adult novel told in verse form. Set in rural Michigan in the year 1918, Crossing Stones, by Helen Frost, follows the intertwined lives of two pairs of young adult siblings all struggling to find their paths in life. World War I, the flu pandemic, and the women’s Suffragette movement all figure prominently in the story. The over-riding tone of the book is heartfelt and bittersweet, and this is what I tried to convey in the artwork.

After the concept was nailed down and approved, my biggest challenge was finding the right setting to make the photographs for the montage. Though, as luck would have it, I am very familiar with rural Michigan. Unfortunately, I live now in southwest Florida, which bears little resemblance. For one thing, while there are plenty of creeks here (and no palm trees in Michigan), there are virtually no creeks here with stones. In the final image, I was able to use a creek I shot near my house, but the stones were added using a tabletop still life I made for the project. The model was shot separately in a park nearby, and the rest of the landscape was added with images from my archives.


Thursday, November 6, 2008

“When I Crossed No-Bob” Book Jacket

In this middle-grade novel, When I Crossed No-Bob, by Margaret McMullen, 12 year-old Addy O’Donnell struggles to break free from her troubled family amid the poverty and devastation of post Civil War Mississippi.

After submitting the sketches below, the publisher decided it would be best to show the character on the cover. As it turned out, the most difficult part of the job was finding the right girl. I have no idea how many candidates’ photos I emailed to the art director for approval. In the end, I drove 200 miles to photograph the girl above.