Friday, December 9, 2016

Chris Samnee's Daredevil Artist's Edition

 Cover to Art Book

 Cover to Script Book


 Pages 2-3 Art Book

 Page 1 Script Book

Pages 2-3 Script Book

This is the third Artist’s Edition book I’ve done with the character Daredevil. I’ve grown quite fond of him over the length of our relationship. He does seem to take a lot more chances, then I’m comfortable with though.

This project was a little different and unique because it consisted of designing 2 books plus a slipcase. The “Art” book was done in the traditional vertical format, whereas the “Script” book was done horizontally. Both books come packaged in a slipcase. The Art book contains issues #23-#27 of Chris Samnee’s original art pages minus the word balloons. Following each issue are Samnee’s layouts for that particular issue. In the Script book are Mark Waid’s written pages, which were handed over to Samnee who made thumbnails and little sketches on each of those pages. These 2 books are really a tutorial on how to create a comic-book.

The color scheme of the book is a nod to the red and black of Daredevil’s costume. The design silhouettes of the characters create a strong dynamic visual. The images contained inside the silhouettes are both a juxtaposition and relational. I believe there is a kinetic bold aesthetic throughout. The bold geometric shapes are an homage to the Bauhaus school of design (1919-1933). The type fonts I used are Spartan and Montserrat. The san serif fonts are distinct and clean. Both could be considered distant cousins to the Futura family. Which by the way, is a product of the Bauhaus era. Along with the double D logo, there are a few other design elements that tie the 2 books and slipcase together. The “front” cover of the slipcase shares the same image as the back-cover of the Art book. You do have to squint a little, because the image on the back cover is screened back and a little more subtle. That same image is used on the framed border on the front cover (again subtly)! Samnee’s art to me is reminiscent of a cross between Paul Smith, and Alex Toth. On it’s own, it’s very bold and graphic, I wanted the design of the book to work in harmony with his art.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Jack Kirby Kamandi Volume 2 Artist's Edition


 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!