Saturday, August 25, 2012

Ella and the Pirates Dust Jacket

So here's the dusk jacket for my hand bound mini book.

The extra room on the sides is for the French folds (I think that's what they're called). You know, those things that keep the dusk jacket hanging onto the book. I usually prefer a case wrapped cover, meaning: a cover that is actually glued onto the book--but my options in that area for hand binding are limited. I remember a friend of mine who use to throw away the dust jackets for all his books! I was appalled. "But the cover art!" I protested. But dust jackets are kind of drag in a practical sense.

The influence here is, in part, John Gray's hand-lettered book covers, and the work of Miro, particularly his lithographs, and maybe a little Gary Panter thrown in for good measure. I thought the design could be a little more progressive since it's only made for art directors and editors to admire.

There was a lot of experimentation with this one, checking out what I considered successful designs without appropriating them outright, even if they're 100 years old. So there's the inevitable risk of trying something new. I can measure its success by what I know about color and design--that worked, and that worked, so maybe the whole thing works--but ultimately, there's a risk.  Especially with unconventional hand-lettering. Clearly I've made no attempt at uniformity in the characters of my lettering. It wasn't done unintentionally--I did it numerous times, and was going for a certain fluidity with the marks--I wanted it to reflect the character of the brush that you see in my dry brush pieces, and since dry brush is incorporated into the book--the character of the book. The bold black boat symbol and overlapping colored shapes is all about Miro, that intense, graphic lithogaphic look. I always like it when I have the opportunity to let one color peak out from underneath another.

Does it work? What do you think? 


  1. I think you got it just right. Fabulous colors. I love it (and I love the little skull and crossbones).

  2. THanks Elizabeth! I hope so. It's not set in stone just yet, but I think I'm mostly happy with it.

  3. Oh, yes. That works jes' fine.