Friday, February 12, 2010

James Bama Sketchbook Covers

Here's a progression of cover designs for the James Bama Sketchbook, done for Flesk Publications. When John asked me if I wanted to design the cover for this collection, I was thrilled. I've been a big fan of James Bama's work for decades. My first exposure, like most people, were through his painted covers of the "Doc Savage" series of paperbacks. There was certainly something very unique and exciting about his paintings. Flesk Publications has a beautiful book devoted to the history of James Bama and his work, I recommend it to anyone who seeks to get more information on this artist and to see reproductions of his work.

The cover at the very top, was my first attempt at putting a cover together. Because this sketchbook represented drawings he had done as he visited different parts of the world, I wanted it to look like a travelogue. I thought the title portion of the book could look similar to a passport, with stamps and a certain 3 dimensional quality to it. I also wanted to focus on just one image to make it both simple and strong. John Fleskes felt because the painting I used, was actually one of a series, that I should include the other three images. In my second attempt, I still wanted this to feel like a working sketchbook, so I thought placing the images on the cover somewhat randomly, had a feeling of them being tossed on top of the cover as they were completed. I wanted the cover to feel energetic, and spontaneous, just like the sketches on the inside.

Unfortunately, Bama didn't agree. So, on the third attempt I made the cover more formal. I also created a faux bandwrap that contains the title. I think this gives it a look of more sophistication and a certain preciousness.

I still haven't given up on using that "passport" idea, I'm thinking of re-using it for another cover I'm working on now. Maybe it wasn't appropriate for the Bama sketchbook, but I think there might be more applications for it. Always remember..."re-cycle, re-use." I like to do my part for the environment!?


  1. Do you ever get tired of being so AWESOME!!! LOL!

    You are going to drive me into bankruptcy! I usually talk myself out of buying a book on a favorite artist on the basis of poor reproductions or sloppy graphic design.

    You're killing me, Randy! Design a book for an artist who I hate!!!


  2. Shanth,

    You crack me up...hopefully you'll continue to feel that way.

    I continue to be blessed with opportunities to design books for people I really admire and respect. It makes what I do so rewarding.

    I've got other things to show you (soon) that hopefully you'll hate me for... Ha

    Thanks for all you support,