Jennie Erdal

This is a story about a ghost writer. From the back cover: “... she was also secretly writing her boss’s love letters, hundreds of newspaper columns and two well reviewed novels.” The shadow of the hand forms a man’s face.

Dr. Delicious

Robert Lecker

With a title like this and the fact that the book deals with the author's lifelong love of Canadian literature this seemed like the way to go with this one. The sketch version of this is on my website but the printed cover came out much better.

Dead Man’s Float

Nicholas Maes

The Rent Collector

Glen Rotchin

This is actually my wallet which has achieved a certain degree of notoriety over the years. It was sitting beside my computer when I was working on a concept for this cover and I couldn't resist. This is an example of a cover that met with a fair degree of initial resistance and probably would have been rejected if not for the support of the publisher. The only change I had to make to the image was adding a cheque in one of the folds. I no longer have this wallet. It literally exploded one day - no one was hurt.

Nationalism from the Margins

Italians in Alberta and British Columbia
Patricia K. Wood

Learning to Look

Lesley D. Clement

In this work of literary criticism the author traces the evolution of Mavis Gallant’s visually evocative style through five decades of her short fictional works. The author contends that “Gallant envisages and renders her fictional world with the techniques analogous to those of visual artists”.

X,Y and Z

Karen Rivers

This was my first foray into young adult fiction. The mandate was to provide a new and contemporary look for this category. Each book in the series is about a young person with super human powers. X can fly, Y is invisible and Z can read thoughts.

My favorite part of doing this series is the spine treatment. When the spines of all three books are put together, XYZ can be seen in the background.

Bamboo Church

Ricardo Sternberg

A bamboo church is a birdcage. Ricardo Sternberg is a poet who was born in Brazil and now resides in Canada. “Ricardo Sternberg’s poems dance the steps of an earthy muse, traveling from south to north.” The bird on the cover is in a cage but also in a jungle. This seemed like a fitting visual metaphor for the poet’s life and also his poetry. I got so excited about using a dye cut in this way that I was even willing to forgo my cover fee which wasn't necessary in the end.


Kevin Kopelson

This is the printed cover. The only stipulation was that concept had to feature a cigarette prominently.

This was another option that came in a close second.

Can I Have a Word With You?

Howard Richler

This is a book that moves through the alphabet from A to Z singling out words that may look innocuous but contain treasures of hidden meanings. Kudos to the publisher for going with a risky concept.

Theory’s Empire

Daphne Patai and Will H. Corral

Sprawling Places

David Kolb

The author contends that the suburbs and communities away from urban centers are actually more complex than you would think. They are blossoming centers of human activity. From the back cover: "Kolb agrees there is a lot not to like about many contemporary places, but to write them off simply as commodified “nonplaces” does not treat them critically. Ultimately, Kolb believes that human activity within a place is what defines it."

The (Un)Making of the Modern Family

Daniel Dagenais

This is a book about non-traditional families. I had done another cover a couple of years ago on a similar subject. The challenge was to find an image that shows where families come together without defining what type of family it is. The collection of toothbrushes did that and so does the cutlery drawer which can be found in every kitchen.

The Art of Living Series

This is a project I am working on now. “The Art of Living” invites philosophers to write for a popular readership on aspects of contemporary life that interest them. There will be 10 titles in the series: sport, fame, sex, clothes, illness, work, wellbeing, pets, hunger and deception. Here are the first four.

Pardon Our Monsters

Andrew Hood

Quoting from the back cover: These unapologetic stories deal with an assortment of foolish self-destructive small town anti-heroes. They are unlikely odes and elegies for human shabbiness.

Another novel in the same fiction series. As technology erases the lines between reality and virtual reality, a boy nicknamed Garbage Head develops the ability to say what those on TV and radio will say before they say it.

After Auschwitz

Herman Gruenwald

This was a case where the author had come up with a sketch on his own that he wanted to use for cover art. The visual metaphor of a single shaft of wheat figured prominently in his story of surviving Auschwitz and his life after the war.

I felt the same idea could be expressed in a more sophisticated and poignant manner and in the end, after a fair amount of convincing, he accepted my version. His tattoo number was moved from the front cover to the back.

Shopping Our Way to Safety

Andrew Szasz

Making Witches

Newfoundland Traditions of Spells and Counterspells
Barbara Rieti

This is another one for the salon des refusés. I rearranged the icebergs – a common sight off the Newfoundland coast – to form the letter W but nobody got it.

This is the approved cover which shows two crows on a rock. This makes reference to “the Rock” which is what Newfoundland is often called in Canada.

Digitizing Race

lisa Nakamura

This was one of the options I really liked for this cover but in the end it wasn't chosen.

This is the printed cover.


Christopher Patton

For this poetry book cover the poet was adamant he didn't want an ox on the cover which I could totally understand. No ox, just the evidence of it passing through.

Wet Apples, White Blood

Naomi Guttman

Another recent poetry cover. From the back cover copy: “In Wet Apples, White Blood, Naomi Guttman offers glimpses into the ambivalences and pleasures of breastfeeding mothers and wet nurses.”

Her blue robe opened
for his lips
and in jealous
gulps he drank
like any other.

The descending drop has a spot UV gloss varnish.

The Human Rights Reader

Micheline R. Ishay

Here is the original image.

AIGA 50 Books/50 Covers 2008

These four covers were selected in 50 Books/50 Covers this year.

The Devil Notebooks

Dan Rickels

March 11

This is the final chosen cover. I wanted to find an unusual way of depicting the devil and found this cool piece of origami on the web and couldn’t resist.

This is the other option I was really excited about. It features the black and white illustration of the devil by the very talented Meats Meier.

The faux comic book style has kind of been done to death but I thought it was worth exploring.

Anna’s Shadow

David Manciom

April 4
final approval pending

The brief was that the cover had to portray espionage/Russia/subatomic particles. From the catalogue copy: Soon after the collapse of the Soviet Union, a young diplomat encounters Anna Mikataev, a particle physicist and possible recruiter of Iraqi agents. Anna has discovered how to carve light to manipulate the paths of one of the building blocks of reality: the photon. In the small basement room where Anna Mikataev lived, the force fields of sub-atomic particles, individual lives, and the politics of terror all meet.

Sonic Experience

A Guide to Everyday Sounds
Edited by Jean-François Augoyard and Henry Torgue

From the back cover: Never before has the “everyday soundtrack” of urban space been so cacophonous. Sonic Experience is an alphabetical sourcebook of eighty-two sonic effects. This book integrates information about the physical spaces in which sounds occur with cultural contexts and individual auditory experience.

Seven Days in the Art World

Sarah Thornton

The book is a total immersion in the art world – from creation to art sale glamour. The word “glamour” was key in the initial briefing for the cover.

This was the original sketch that was rejected because it wasn't representative of contemporary art – just shows painting.

Blind Speed

Josh Barkan