The one below is the actual cover. The other one (sea serpent) was an also ran.
From the brief: The notion that each person is the free author of his thoughts and actions, rests on a cognitive and emotional illusion. The red cover is the final one. The author suggested the idea of somehow using marionette strings and luckily the title had just the right number of letters in each word. Two preliminary ideas are below.
Every designer has at least one old-style/poster type only cover. I guess this is mine.
Just finished the third one in this series.
From the back of my book shelf
Fresh from the printers
I didn't really think they would go for a real heart on the cover but I gave it a shot. The book chronicles a father's experience with his infant son's serious heart disease. In the end we went with a 3D rendering by the illustrator Jeannie Saylor who was nice enough to let us use it on the cover.
Illustration for NY Times Magazine
From the brief: “Sumptuary laws in 17th century France were the legislated rules that determined what a person was permitted to wear according to his or her social rank. Capitalism exercises the same kind of absolutism, dictating the polarities of rich and poor, luxury and necessity, splendour and squalor.” This is a poetry cover.
From the brief: "According to legend, Achilles used the plant yarrow during the Battle of Troy to help treat wounds. This is how the poet is using the plant in her title: to treat the wound of mortality."
I designed 20 of the Richard Stark (Parker) novels for the University of Chicago Press and they asked me to design the Grofield ones as well - The Dame, The Damsel, Blackbird and Lemons Never Lie. The 4 Alan Grofield novels work in tandem with the Parker novels.They wanted a visual connection to the first series but also wanted them to stand on their own.
Instead of a gun silhouette as the identifying motif I went for a silhouette of a "dame" - intentionally cheesy - to highlight the fact that these novels are kind of pulp-y and are a little more about women and relationships. I inverted the visual content from the first series and put the illustrative elements inside the silhouette. The first option below was a deemed a little too cool and sci-fi looking.
I went back to the gun motif but updated the style of revolver because these novels take place in the late sixties and early seventies. They wanted Richard Stark to stand out more as well. I thought it would be cool to treat his name as though it were a cheap motel sign from that era. The idea would be to have a different sign for each of the four novels. I also injected more colour as befitting the time period.
This option had to be reined in a bit because we were moving too far away from the Parker series and there had to be a stronger connection. Richard Stark's name, a huge selling point, had to be more standardized and quickly recognizable. I went back to the woman silhouette and used the motel sign idea for Richard Stark but treated it the same on all of them.
The author suggested the idea of a double umbrella which is alluded to in the book. I must have spent my entire Saturday trying an assortment of umbrellas with different rain effects but couldn't get the right tone for this book on Dante and medieval culture. The one with the black background was where I arrived at the end of the day - kind of static and lifeless. After putting it aside for the rest of the weekend I gave another stab at it this morning in the style of Leonardo's sketches.
This is book 3 in this series
These two just went through for the same press. The first one is a fictionalized memoir. The main character is a reporter for a yiddish press in New York. The author asked if Don Quixote could be worked into the cover somehow.
Work in progress
The title for this book of poetry is The Little Yellow House, in reference to Van Gogh's house in Arles. The titles of the poems are all the titles of his paintings
Sketch for upcoming catalogue cover. Hand lettering will remain but final will use textured papers.

Big Oil as rapacious sea serpent. Another one for the Salon des refus├ęs



This is the source photograph from Shutterstock.


Book covers to flour bags - just got this from the printers.


I am sure every cover designer can relate to this. How many times are you supplied with a black and white image for a cover and have to make it visually interesting? I don't think I have another duotone effect left in my arsenal. I really liked this image of an aboriginal youth striking an Elvis pose for a book on aboriginal music in Canada - not the kind of image usually associated with this kind of music - but couldn't get it to work using duotones, tritones, sepiatone etc. Instead, I played around with it in Photoshop by adding colour and filters and arrived at something more graphically interesting. This is still a work in progress and needs some finessing but I like where it is going.



New Web Site

After 10 years I figured it was time to update my website

The Boy

Betty Jane Hegerat

This is a work of fiction based on the murder case of Robert Cook, who in 1959 murdered his entire family. From the back cover: ...the author and her narrator engage in a dialogue that explores what drives a young boy to murder, and what ultimately constitutes reality and fiction.

The cover image is a crime scene photo of the families shoes.

Went in another direction but this was one of the initial sketches.