Archive for February, 2011

Less Than Human

lth-final.jpg

Final cover: Art direction and design by Jason Ramirez

——————————————————————————————————————————

Mr. Jason Ramirez at St. Martin’s Press contacted me a short while back about this book cover with an extremely succinct brief for Less Than Human: “DEHUMANIZATION. SLAVERY. OPPRESSION. HUMAN VIOLENCE. TREAT IT LIKE AN OP/ED. GO!

Actually, he was substantially more calm and thorough than my paraphrasing above would suggest. I only heard it that way as I was in the middle of an extended traveling jag which had me on planes, trains and/or buses for eight weekends straight and as a side effect of moving seemingly all of the time, I began processing emails faster than I do on average. Travel insanity aside, passing up an opportunity to work with Jason struck me as a roundly ridiculous idea so I accepted and we were off to the races.

Jason’s initial idea for this cover was to treat the jacket as a ripped-from-the-headlines styled op/ed newspaper layout and asked me to come up with ideas for simple, direct illustrations which would support the suggestion of dehumanization. I knew to a certainty that working on an illustration for a book cover was going foster my own opinions about the application of type regardless of whether or not it was my anointed task, so Jason graciously agreed to let me submit my own type treatments for the cover in addition to his principal concept while sharing the illustrations. I was in airports for the majority of our initial correspondence, so I ended up scribbling ideas on the plane:

——————————————————————————————————————————

lth_airplane01.jpg

——————————————————————————————————————————

lth_airplane02.jpg

——————————————————————————————————————————

lth_airplane03.jpg

——————————————————————————————————————————

lth_airplane05.jpg

——————————————————————————————————————————

lth_airplane06.jpg

——————————————————————————————————————————

lth_airplane07.jpg

——————————————————————————————————————————

lth_airplane08.jpg

——————————————————————————————————————————

To my own great aid, the direction of the sketches were given the go ahead quickly, so I worked up some semi-complete sketches which enabled both of us to experiment on various directions. Jason forged ahead with the op/ed direction (the comps of which I would post if I still had them, as they looked both awesome and completely different than what I had imagined when he told me the idea). A sampling of my own comps, traditional by comparison, are below:

——————————————————————————————————————————

lth-kd01.jpg

——————————————————————————————————————————

lth-kd03.jpg

——————————————————————————————————————————

lth-kd02.jpg

——————————————————————————————————————————

lth-kd06.jpg

——————————————————————————————————————————

lth-kd04.jpg

(The head-as-shackle concept was totally Jason’s idea).
——————————————————————————————————————————

lth-kd05.jpg

——————————————————————————————————————————

Although both of our batches of comps were cut away throughout the various rounds of approvals, the idea of the shattered hand which we had at the very beginning would prove to have enough traction to endure through to the final approved cover which Jason designed. Through measured, professional collaboration and conversation were were able to achieve the visage of rank, putrid, godless human debasement which we had sought all along. Dehumanization accomplished.

Letters – Justices and Political Activity

ltrs-jpol-sc01.jpg

Art direction by Alexandra Zsigmond

——————————————————————————————————————————

The vocal end of the Times’ readership comments on whether or not judges should be permitted to engage in pet political causes. Thank you AZ!

Heeeeeeeeeeere’s Ronnie

wp-reagan-fnl.jpg

Art direction: Kim Maxwell Vu

——————————————————————————————————————————

A true rarity for me–a portrait assignment(!) of Ronald Reagan(!)–for the Washington Post’s Style section above. This ran on the front of the section in conjunction with reviews of three separate documentaries being broadcast about Reagan on 100th anniversary of his birth.

There were two distinct added bonuses that came along with this assignment:

1. Despite it ultimately amounting to a killed sketch, this nevertheless did present me with a chance to take another crack at a straight, no-frills pencil drawing. Having vowed as recently as New Year’s Day to do a little more of that kind of thing this year, it seemed wrong to not indulge the opportunity. So there you go:

wp-reaganpencil01.jpg
——————————————————————————————————————————

reagan_sc02.jpg

——————————————————————————————————————————

2. I do love a chance to wedge the illustration into and around the copy whenever it can be done and Kim Vu was a game co-conspirator.

——————————————————————————————————————————

wp-reagantv-r3.jpg

——————————————————————————————————————————

wp-reagantv-r5.jpg

——————————————————————————————————————————

wp-reagantv-r4.jpg

——————————————————————————————————————————
reagan_fnl-ip.jpg