Wednesday, 12 November 2014


I had two days to come up with and finish this (it went to print today and I only started it on Monday morning), which was a bit hairy... Actually that's a lie, I've known I had to do it for weeks, but it just kept getting pushed down the list til it was AAARGHURGENT! Nothing focuses the mind like a looming deadline, and your boss asking "you done that yet?" every day for a week...

Here's the blurb:
Flamboyant Matthew Cannonbridge was touched by genius, the most influential mind of the 19th century, a novelist, playwright, the poet of his generation. The only problem is, he should never have existed, and recently divorced 21st century don Toby Judd is the only person to realise something is wrong with history.

Quite a cool idea. Unfortuntely I kept getting stuck on images and ideas that were too similar to my Fictional Man cover (i.e. people made from words), and had trouble thinking of anything new. 
I thought about making an origami man from book pages and either taking some photos, or faking one in photoshop, but I ditched that as the only origami patterns available were either rock hard or complete shit.
With no time left I settled on a kind of wormhole through some old looking manuscript pages, with a victorian cameo silhouette of Cannonbridge revealed at the bottom. Here's the rough.

To try and stop it looking too faked, I spent about 2 hours printing out a yellow texture onto A3 bits of paper, then tore gradually smaller and smaller holes into each, scrunched them up into balls, squashed them flat again, scanned them in one at a time and assembled them in photoshop. The resulting papery mess is still on my desk - it looks kind of cool!

About halfway through I realised it would look much better if Cannonbridge's face appeared naturally in the negative space left by the torn holes, rather than just plonked as silhouette at the bottom. It meant a bit more work, but was a million times cooler than the incongruous silhouette I had on the rough. Glad I thought of it too, as it's the kind of thing you'd come up with afterwards and kick yourself for not doing.
Lastly I typeset some passages of text from the story and pasted it randomly over the blank page scans, then spent quite a long time mucking with the shadows and colours to get it looking convincingly deep. The final cover design is below.

I'm not sure what I think about it yet. Normally I get a bit more time to indulge in a bit bit of navel gazing, but cos of the time constraints I just had to get it done. On one hand thats quite freeing as you just have to go with your instincts and trust it'll turn out ok, but looking back at the rough now I wonder I the final version has lost a bit of the punch that the first one had... I like the red in it, and the kind of energy to the hole... ABORT! ABORT! move on... it's too late now!