Saturday, July 23, 2016

Jack Kirby Kamandi Volume 2 Artist's Edition

 Cover

 Title Page

 Page 2-3

 Page 6-7

 Chapter Divider Page 51

Chapter Divider Page 117

I'll have to go back and check old entries, but I think I mentioned this before, Kamandi, is my favorite work of Jack kirby's. The story of a boy experiencing an unfamiliar world full of adventures is so engaging. Unlike his New Gods stories from this same time period, in some weird way this was more relatable to me. 

 Sometimes, I feel if I just use the same template as a previous book, that I'm somehow cheating. What I love about design, is getting an opportunity to do something different each time. Not to disparage my fellow designers, but there are some who continue to repeat themselves. I look at that two different ways, either they have no original ideas, or they are lazy. I'm not sure which one is worse. I believe I do take risks in my design, whether it's the use of color, type fonts, or how an image is cropped. Design should be exciting and maybe a little edgy. Not everyone is going to understand it or approve. 

So with that little soap box moment over, let's move on... 

Since this is volume 2, there are design elements I wanted to carry over from the first volume. I liked the use of the warning/hazardous signs, so I used those again, but in a slightly different context. I also continued the use of the grit and stains. What else would you expect in an apocalyptic world? Everything needs to look like it's survived an atomic war. The color palette is a slight curve from the previous use of blue and red. It's familiar but not repeating. Over all, even though there is a sense of chaos, there is balance and rhythm with the colored blocks which help anchor the designs. The use of the white box always brings the focus back to Kamandi.

One thing I do, which seems to be different then other designers is, I try to make the cover design connect with the guts of the book. I'm not sure why there is such a separation between those things. Sometimes the cover design is the last thing I do, instead of the first. After I've figured out the direction for the inside of the book, I'll make sure the color palette and design elements match the cover. Doesn't it make sense that they should work as a unit, instead of two individual pieces?


Friday, June 24, 2016

Marvel Covers volume 2 Artist's Edition

 Todd McFarlane cover

 Sam Keith cover

 Jim Lee variant cover

 Title page

Credits page


The design challenge of this book, was working with all cover images. The covers represent a singular posterized image. A lot of time you'll see designers take panels and enlarge them, to give you a different perspective, or different focus. In this case, it almost seems redundant, or overkill because the images are already pretty big. So I thought in an odd form of juxtaposition, I would change it the other way. I would take large images and make them look like panels. I guess it's all in how you look at it. It was my attempt at shaking things up.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Mike Mignola's Screw-On Head and Other Curious Objects

 Cover Regular Edition

 Cover Variant Edition

 Title Page

 Spread Pages 2-3

Spread Pages 4-5

This book design, was like visiting an old friend. I previously had designed Mike Mignola's Hellboy Artist's Edition, and Mike wanted this to look like a continuation or a companion piece. That was nice to hear. I actually like it when the creators take an interest in the design of the book. Well, I should clarify, when I think those artists have some awareness or sense of GOOD design, then I welcome their input. Sorry guys, but because you illustrate comic books, that doesn't automatically make you a designer. After coming clean and revealing my true feelings, I now feel better! Obviously Mike, is a very good designer. All you have to do is look at how he lays out a page, his spotting of blacks, and his story telling ability, and those things become very clear. 

This book was all about textures, layering, aging and creepiness. With the Hellboy Artist's Edition, I had picked out panels and images from the comic stories to use as design elements. With this book, Mike provided me with a folder full of additional illustrations that weren't part of the stories. These worked out great, because they were created as stand alone pieces.

When I look at the design pages, I wish I would have been able to add one more thing. I think the only thing missing would be, the ability to crack open the book and be hit right in the nose with the smell of mold and mildew. That would take the reading of this book to whole other level.


Saturday, June 4, 2016

Jack Kirby's Thor Artist's Edition

 Front and back cover

 Title Page

 Credits spread

 About this edition

Gallery section divider


This is the fourth Jack Kirby Artist's Edition book I've had the privilege of designing. Just as it's been with previous volumes, I learn new things as I slowly work through the design process. The art on this book seems a little bit more delicate than on other books. I'm going to assume it has to do with the inking that's been applied to Kirby's pencils. It also, to me, seems less dynamic. Nonetheless, it's still ridiculously good.

When designing certain aspect of this book, I wanted to focus on the energy and action in each of the  panels I chose to use. With the use of color blocks and angular shapes it directs your eyes to the movement working in those panels. The border and fonts hopefully convey a "feeling" of nordic heritage. That was the "vibe" I was going for. I also isolated portions of the panels, so it focused primarily on Thor. Usually Kirby's panels are so dense with characters and activity, it's nice to sometimes create a little breathing room, to appreciate details of his art.

This is certainly not the last Kirby book I'll work on, I look forward to continually being educated in the art of dynamic storytelling. Kirby is King!

Friday, September 11, 2015

Bob Powell's Jet Powers collection

 Cover

 Title page

 Title page Spread

 Contents Spread

 Essay Spread

Essay Spread


The Jet Powers book was great fun to work on. I got to play with design imagery from the '50s atomic age. I wanted it to feel space-agey but also energetic. There are a lot of angles and directional rules that will lead your eye throughout the page spreads. I think there is a lot of open space on the pages along with a sense of claustrophobic tension. I thought about Twilight Zone episodes, where the characters always had a nervous uneasiness, in anticipation of something about to happen. Even though they were in a large open room, they could feel the walls closing in on them. If it's possible to capture that feeling with shapes and lines and color, that was what I was going for.

Herb Trimpe's The Incredible Hulk Artist's Edition

 Cover

 Title Page

 Credits Spread

Contents Spread


I'm not sure if it's for nostalgic reasons or if I just like patterns, but I've always loved the look of the screen printed color. Unfortunately, whenever companies decide to reprint comic art, they re-do the coloring, and it always looks wrong. It either has too many photoshop effects, and overpowers the line art, or the color is too garish and looks like it's sitting on top of the line art. Either way, they are trying to meld 2 different things that don't go together. It's like wearing brown shoes with a black tux. It clashes, and it's unsettling. With this collection of Incredible Hulk stories, I attempted to give my own vision of classic comic book coloring. I deliberately made the coloring off-register and over lapping. I wanted the color to "soak" into the art boards, and make sure that the line art floated to the top. I guess it's kind of a "pop art" homage. It feels appropriate for the time period in which these stories were originally published.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Wally Wood's EC Stories Artisan Edition

 Cover

 Title Page

 Credits Spread

Table of Contents Spread


I got the opportunity to redesign the Wally Wood's Artist's Edition. Well, kind of. IDW came out with a smaller more affordable version of the book. This gave me a chance to go back and look at how I designed the oversized version and decide what worked and what had to be redesigned. The obvious thing is that I'm working with a smaller format. It's best in that case, to simplify. Because I looked at it as a companion piece to the Artist's Edition, I used similar images, but just cropped them and gave them a different feeling on the page. I'm pretty sure IDW has more plan for Artisan Editions, so this will cause me to reevaluate a lot of the work I've done... and perhaps make improvements??!!