Tuesday, March 31, 2009

"Crazy School" Book Jacket Illustration

I had bought these butterflies online a couple of years ago, thinking they would soon start showing up in my work, but instead they just sat there on the wall. So I was happy to get a call from Brigid Pearson at Grand Central Publishing, requesting a butterfly image for the cover of the novel, The Crazy School, by Cornelia Read.

In this comic drama, the gates to the Santangelo Academy for Emotionally Disturbed Teenagers are adorned with a wrought-iron butterfly. Above is the finished cover (type design by Brigid Pearson), and below are the comps I presented initially.


Thursday, March 26, 2009

“On Viney’s Mountain” Book Jacket

On Viney’s Mountain, a young adult novel by Joan Donaldson, is the story of a young woman's coming of age in late nineteenth century Tennessee.

The art director asked for an image of the character in her environment. Due to logistical limitations, photographing the model in the actual setting was not possible. To get around this, in the past I have either constructed a diarama, such as in Snow Angels; or, I have created a virtual environment in Photoshop from personal photos as in Crossing Stones. In either case, the figure is photographed separately, attempting to match the lighting as closely as possible, then stripped in on the computer.

In this case, I decided to create the environment in Photoshop from personal photos, because I had some images of trees I really liked. The problem was that I ended up having to shoot the model in her apartment because it was about 10 degrees outside, and the text demanded she be barefoot. So, despite my best efforts, I ended up with the dreaded inconsistency in lighting, where the lighting on the model does not quite match the lighting on the environment. This gives the somewhat odd effect that she is walking across a stage set, rather than the actual environment, though I still like the image.

Below are the original concept sketches submitted.


Thursday, March 5, 2009

“Age 14” Book Cover

In the young adult novel, Age 14, by Geert Spillebeen, a fourteen year-old working class Irish boy impersonates his older brother to enlist in the army in World War I. Before long, he is sent to the front lines in Belgium, where the nightmarish reality of life (and death) in the trenches quickly obliterates any romantic fantasies of military glory.

Below are the initial sketches shown. The client chose the last sketch, with the only request being to change the helmets to hats. The author pointed out that at the time of story, 1915, the soldiers were not yet wearing helmets. It was only after huge numbers of shrapnel head injuries occurred early in the war, that helmets were then provided. Thanks to the excellent reference provided by the author, I was able to closely approximate the exact uniform the Irish soldiers wore.