March 22, 2008

Tough Act to Follow

(Something to start the blog off with, will be doing some of my old favorites til I catch up to the present)

Some of my favorite work involves history, so I was thrilled to get a this job for an LA Times Book Review Cover on William T. Vollman's novel "Europe Central".

The art director was Wesley Bausmith, who ironically years ago worked at the same small newspaper in Ogden, Utah where I got my first job out of school.

Whenever I do a book review illo, after doing some initial concepting and sketches, I like to look at the books cover and see the jacket designer's solution, never first thing because I don't want to risk being over influenced.

So I look it up on amazon and I'm floored by the above cover.
Such a perfect idea, (a main theme of the book is nazis and music), and perfect execution is such a beautiful style!

Why don't I recognize the illustrator, it's driving me nuts, but I can't find out because the book isn't even out yet.

some rough ideas, tanks and their tracks making piano keys in upper left

Wes sends back this, his pick.

time to find some goose stepping nazis, and yes disney's lion king

preliminary drawings, duped and moved around in phototshop

final piece, sorry Wes I didn't leave you much space for typography!

and the piece in print

So a month later when the book is out, I excitedly look at the back flap to figure out who is this amazing illustrator,
I can't wait to email him my praise and show him my attempt at a visual interpretation of the same book.
I find this...

no wonder it was so good... can't compete with dead germans.