Christmas 2009

Beau was hit by a car just before Christmas and after a week in the animal hospital spent the holidays convalescing on the living room floor. Our other dog isn't up for long walks in the snow so up on my shoulders she goes.

The Crow’s Vow

Susan Briscoe

Another Way the River Has

Robin Cody

The author recommended this photo for the cover of the book:

The risk was that the cover might look too sentimental or clich├ęd but I thought there could be an interesting way of making the splashes interact with the title. The photo was manipulated quite a bit to make everything fit. I changed the shirt colour as well to give it a bit more punch.

The author was asked to write 44 letters about the modern world for the Italian daily newspaper, La Republicca which published them serially. The letters capture a world which is in a constant state of flux. The number 44 is made up of the falling letters.

I wasn't sure how I was going to photograph this one to convey the feeling of falling envelopes. I actually started to construct a mobile of envelopes that I was going to photograph from below and then I thought there might be an easier way.

Series, series, series....

We all have to do them once in a while and it is always a challenge. This one is about the geopolitics of resources. I wanted to create a very simple, bold, graphic look for this. The global aspect comes through in the circular element on each cover where the resource is featured.

Sometimes you come up with a solution and think that it is either too obvious or that it must have been done before. This was the first one I came up with and I put it aside for those very reasons but I came back to it in the end and they ended up going for it.

Managed Annihilation

Dean Bavington

From the brief: The commercial cod fishery in Newfoundland and Labrador was once the most successful in the world. When it collapsed in 1992 – causing the largest single-day layoff in Canadian history and irrevocable ecological damage – fishermen, scholars, and scientists pointed to the state management of the fishery as the cause.


Michael Harris

This is the rough sketch that was approved. I am going to have to photograph the detritus in the foreground and integrate it a bit better. It wasn't on the original image.


Strange Bedfellows

This one evolved a bit. The client felt the two books under the same jacket wasn't obvious enough and that it needed to be punchier.

approval pending

This was the photograph supplied. It is definitely interesting and has cover potential but sometimes you just run out of new ways of using archival black and white photography. I wanted to use the image in a more graphic, modern way.

In progress

Canada purchased part of the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1947 but never actually received them.

This book is about how neoliberalism created the economic meltdown and its impact on ordinary people. References the Odessa steps sequence from Battleship Potemkin.

approval pending

I liked the idea of a countdown of stamps denoting the "strange death" of britishness in Canada. These stamps come from the period covered in the book - expo 67. Expo was billed as Canada's coming out party on the world stage but our ties to britain were still very much evident as these commemorative stamps suggest. Still working on the type - not quite there yet.

This was the first sketch I presented and it kind of received a lukewarm reception. I decided to go back to one of my original ideas. I liked the idea of a bullet slicing through a rope used for ringing a church bell. Church bells are melted down into bullets in wartime so I liked the visual metaphor but I was having trouble getting the right feel for it. The version below looks like a chessy stock image.

In the end I went for an illustrative approach. I often get asked about my work process and I am always at a loss for words. I just thought of the perfect way to describe it. I just keep slogging away at it until it stops looking cheesy.

cover in progress

I found this image online about how to tie a noose and I thought it could work for this cover.

another cover in progress

Boxing the Compass

Richard Greene

Off to the printer

I did the sketch quite a while back.

The photo comes from a travel site I found on the web by Gemeah Howarth-Hockey

Boxing the compass refers to the ability to memorize all 32 points on a compass. It also refers to the action of a rudderless boat which will eventually rotate in a full circle hitting all the points on a compass. The title poem deals with a father on his death bed. The boat on the cover has a coffin shape which I thought was perfect.

So I wait with you in a crowded dark
where ageing men must revive or perish,
and wonder, my father, what under morphine
your dreams are? The old man on his ship’s deck
and you a boy among the ropes and canvas –
that hour’s sunlight over all the days you’ve seen
This is a book about Buddhism in Canada. The authors wanted geese on the cover. My goal was to find an unusual way of presenting them.

I think it would almost be impossible to produce an interesting cover using Canada geese from the typical vantage point below. Like all of our national symbols they have been over utilized.

Spring Catalogue cover

One of the issues with doing press catalogue covers is that you are actually designing the spring cover in the fall. We had a severe frost last night so there aren't many flowers left. This was the last one still hanging on.

The author insists on using this image and it sounds like it is non-negotiable. This one is going to be a challenge - but I'm up for it.

approval pending

I presented a couple of options on this one. The book is an evolutionary history of religion beginning with the social lives of our primate ancestors. The author argues that religion is a psychological adaptation and a product of evolution based in the same phenomenon as our childhood need for imaginary friends.

approval pending

Work in progress

Book is about how New Englanders created new myths about the extinction of indian tribes to serve their own colonial interests. No indians, no prior claims to the land.

Animals of My Own Kind

Off to the printer

One of my New Years resolutions was to make my back covers more interesting.

Strange Future

Pessimism and the 1992 Los Angeles Riots
Min Hyoung Song

Keep it Real

Lee Gutkind

Proposed cover for a book about writing creative nonfiction. In the end we went in another direction (below).

This is new YA series I am working on. Each story is told in the first person - single voice. The logo for series has been accepted but we are still working out cover designs. These are just roughs that were used to show how logo could work. The final design is coming along.

The Fate of the Nation State

Edited by Michel Seymour

Repairing Eden

Mark McLeod-Harrison