An aesthetic farewell

Okay, hi diminutive group of followers (and internet blog stumblers). This is a greeting and a farewell. I thought that devoting a blog solely to book covers was a good idea. And it was, in theory. Unfortunately, the reality is that I am too busy being a three-dimensional person to upkeep two two-dimensional blogs.

Therefore all stuff I would be posting here is going on the original blog, which covers among other things, literature, poetry, off-kilter pop and book design. I may have mentioned it a few dozen times. It's called POP PHILOSOPHY. Pop by, say hi, stay the night if you want. And definitely come and check out the incredible work of graphic designer Timea Andorka. She's super great (and also below). These images are originally from Caustic Cover Critic, another favourite.

I'm sorry that it's over.
But we had fun, didn't we?
I'll never forget what we had here.
Don't think of this as goodbye. Think of it instead, as au revoir.


Cormac McCarthy Picador Covers

As with many books now, they only gain world wide attention after they have been made into a film. When Cormac McCarthy's The Road was adapted last year, so too were his books given a new lease of life.

the entire collection

Commissioned by U.K. book publisher Pan Macmillan, British designer David Pearson redesigned the author's entire collection for the Picador reprint. After purchasing a copy of The Road (of course! The famous one! The one that is now a film populated by attractive film stars!) I can state my admiration for the design - it is both interesting, individual, striking, and above all, entirely appropriate. It sets the tone of the writing before one even lifts the front cover, which is a feat indeed considering the scale of the mammoth landscapes inhabited by McCarthy's hardy protagonists - from post apocalyptic urban decay to blood thirsty Mid-Western bounty hunters, all in complimentary fonts. Perfection.

And then I found this one, which must be by the same guy, right? RIIGGGHTT???


I mostly hate Quentin Blake's illustrations. I can't explain why - it's some kind of instinctive revulsion. Yes, I know I shouldn't say it because everybody loves them, but there we are. However, this one here, utilised by the incredible manufacturer's of BEN'S COOKIES, I think is fitting, charming and makes me trust (and also want to eat!) the said cookies.

I can't help feeling Catherine Rayner would strongly disagree with my Quentin Blake verdict. But that's ok. Afer all, I love her work!

the illustrations of Catherine Rayner

I love her illustrations for children's picture books such as Sylvia and the Bird and Augustus and His Smile, both of which she also wrote. They are so free and distinctive, and blissfully uncartoony in comparison to many modern children's illustrations. There's an element of wonder or even (dare I say it) magic suffused through the quality of the images that I find refreshing. They're quite impressionistic, in their own way, which I like a lot. We don't necessarily have to simplify things for children.

Below are a few of her illustrations, more of which you can see over at her official website.


the Collected History of Printing

This is absolutely amazing. It's an installation AND consequently a book (as a kind of buy-product) by artist Xavier Antin. The book is printed through a chain made of four printers each with its own colour and each from a different period of technological design, dating between 1880 and 1976. I can't help feeling like this is a brilliant idea that I can't believe hasn't been explored before. And of course, you can buy the book.

MAGENTA (Stencil duplicator, 1880)
CYAN (Spirit duplicator, 1923)
BLACK (Laser printer, 1969)
YELLOW (Inkjet printer, 1976)

His website is full of wonders.


the doubtless guest

Thanks be to Amber, again.

This book cover has prompted me to go through an Edward Gorey phase. My favorite (and possibly the most famous) of his picture books is The Doubtful Guest, a story that features a weird little creature in Converse and scarf who turns up at the house of his standard late Victorian family and stays for dinner, promptly eating the plates. Then, just as suddenly as he (or it perhaps) arrived, he leaves. Gorey wrote and illustrated many similar books by himself as well as works by other authors during his brief spell working in the art department at Doubleday in New York - including, unsurprisingly, Dracula, by Bram Stoker. He died in 2000, aged seventy five. There's an obituary for him just over here. Claiming predominantly to be self taught, Gorey's illustrations largely focus on strange, gothic and macabre subjects, but always with wit and charm, similar to Maurice Sendak, making him one of the twentieth century's best loved authors.

I mean, how can you not love this little dude??