Monday, April 26, 2010

Highlights from Our 4 Juiciest April Posts, and a Fluffy Cover that Works

April was a busy and guest-post-and-interview-packed month for Jacket Knack and may I just say, wow. Really, may I? "Wow." Julie did the lion's share of the posting because I've been moving and stuff. And there were some amazing interviews presented here this month. To wit:
  • April 8th. The Bologna Children's Book Fair as seen through the eyes of Sarah Blake Johnson. What great cover images she sent us! Highlights of her guest post for me:
    1. The cover from Portugal. Love it. Interesting that the artist chose to have the animals facing left. I can't read Portugese, but is that first word, "bichos" the word for a female dog? Probably not. (No, it means "animals." What is wrong with me?) 2. The idea that the Korean covers were the most visually stunning = intriguing. Must look for some Korean kids' book cover images soon.
  • April 12th. The interview with Sally Wern Comport about the cover art of Rita Williams Garcia's One Crazy Summer. Stuff I learned:
    1. The red cover symbolizes, among other things the "hot tempest of this particular time in history," which is to say, the Civil Rights Movement. Didn't think of that. 2. The observation that illustration in the late sixties had skewed perspectives and thickly outlined elements. So true! Oh, how I long for those groovy days of yesteryear when we ate Knox gelatin to lose weight.
  • April 15th. An interview with the cover designer for Warriors in the Crossfire, Helen Robinson, now at namelos. So many juicy tidbits to nosh on here. Here are two:
    1. I was struck by the way Helen goes about envisioning an image, intuitively and almost without thinking. How fun it must be to approach a creative project in that manner. 2. The idea of design for an e-book. I've been wondering about this a LOT--not that it's keeping me awake at night or anything, but still. Hope to do a post about it sometime.

  • April 22nd. The interview with art director Richard Deas at Holt about the cover for Once. Amazing. Two things:
    1. Seeing the comps gives us an understanding of the "organic" nature of cover design, which Helen Robinson discussed in her interview on April 15th. 2. The cover options that are generated during the cover design process are called "comps." I must work that into general conversation soon.
Lest you think I've done nothing this month, allow me to direct your eyes toward this cover, which I was astonished to realize that I actually like. The Exile of Gigi Lane by Adrienne Maria Vrettos:

HUGE type size. That's what you notice first, I think. Normally, I wouldn't give this a second look because it's a fluffy chicklit sort of image of an impossibly beautiful model. With tiara. Riding in white limo (maybe?). But then there's that X. Crossing out the exiled girl. Clever. The story is that of Gigi Lane, new girl senior year, gorgeous and initially popular--until she's dragged down the popularity ladder.

Adrienne Vrettos's other covers for Simon and Schuster, Sight and Skin are worth a look, too.

Also, I present to you this "quack," a heartwarming duckling story from Boston. This time it's Boston, Lincolnshire, UK:


  1. Great overview, Carol. Let's find out what "comps" is short for! I can't come up with anything - compensatory? Complimentary? Compost?

    Just for the record: I'm going to go in and put a hold on comments like the one above. Comments from now on are going to need to be approved first. I'm happy to believe, not knowing what language this is, that it praises our energy and chuckles at the ducklings, but when I get to the part that says "sex story" I think, "Ducklings?"

  2. Hey, wait a minute - the crazy comment above mine just disappeared. So I have a lot to learn about comments, I guess. I didn't know that could be done. Good!!!! Thank you!

  3. Yes, comment moderation might be in order (blecch). I think maybe "comps" means "comparables." That's my guess.

  4. I'm going to be disappointed if it's not "Compost." Though you're probably right. Or it could be "composites."

  5. Love the EXILE cover. Very smartly done!

  6. my understanding is that comps comes from "compositing", and is an old design term. you comp up a cover, i.e. create it with stock photos, etc. Then you can decide whether or not you need to get it shot using a photo shoot.

    Pre-computer, you'd comp up a cover using an exacto knife, the waxer, and a version of the art. now, comps are usually quite finished, as they're done in photoshop or indesign.

    (comps is also used in another manner in publishing, meaning comparison and/or competition titles, but not in design terms)