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Category Archives: Paper

Flickr Friday: Blown Covers

Blown Covers is a friendly competition put on each week by The New Yorker‘s Art Editor, Françoise Mouly, to create fake magazine covers based on a theme. From the high quality entries they receive each week, Mouly and her daughter, Nadja Spiegelman, have their work cut out for them with their judging duties. I’ve observed the winners for a few months now, but it’s only in the last two weeks that I decided to step up and contribute stuff to the contest. Below are my entries for the Food and Fashion-themed contests. Although neither made the selection for runners-up or winners, I had fun doing them and look forward to stretching my creative muscles attempting more. Trying to think up something both artistic and clever is tough, however (how did Peter Arno do it?).

By the way, although the contest stipulates that entries should be in sketch forms, so many winners end up looking like final artwork. It make me wonder where these people get the time for it, and very humbled that there are so many talented artists out there.

Flickr Friday: Empire Savings Ad, 1957

As a reminder of a more benevolent age in banking, behold an ad that I scanned a few years back for Christopher’s Plastic Living website. It appears that Los Angeles-based bank Empire Savings had a peachy-keen incentive for new customers at the dawn of 1957 – a set of Lifetime plastic melamine dinnerware! The ’50s-era stuff was considered a nice deal, too, since the retail price was comparable to their ceramic cousins. The lady in the ad seems delighted by her new acquisition, despite having to fork over at least $250 for it. I’m liking the midcentury modern building rendering, too.

This was published in the January 7, 1957 “Midwinter” supplement in the Sunday Los Angeles Times.

Flickr Friday: Arty The Smarty (1962)

Today’s Flickr Friday is the piéce de résistance of all the vintage kiddie books that I’ve been blabbing about in the last few months. Originally published by Wonder Books in 1962, Faith McNulty’s Arty The Smarty was far and away the favorite book of mine as a child. When I recently came across my own childhood copy of this little treasure, it all came back to me as to why this particular book was so beloved. It was about a resourceful fish whose very difference from the other fishes made him special. It came as a shock, how much it resonated with me (and I have to wonder if there were any other gay/lesbian people who cherished this story as I did). Also, the snappy, clean illustrations by Albert Aquino were a revelation – exactly the style of illustration that I’m attempting to do to this day! I still don’t know much about Mr. Aquino and his career, but I really have to shake his hand for doing such great work on this book.

Some of the pages of Arty The Smarty are included below (note my name scrawled on the endpapers!), in addition to a few others I’ve placed in my Childhood Books, ’60s-’70s Flickr set.

e-Book Covers, Anyone?

Christopher just published his third e-book in as many months — Forever and Other Stories. Like the other two books he published, News on the Home Front and The Life Line, I designed and illustrated the covers. e-Book cover designing is something I’ve thrown myself into in the past few months (thanks to C). In addition to these three, there are two other book covers (not Christopher’s) that I’ve done which haven’t published yet. It’s fun, and I enjoy the challenge of doing something different every time. With Forever, I took a heap of inspiration from vintage Penguin book covers from the ’60s and ’70s. Instead of a penguin, however, I used a deer since many of C’s stories involve deer. The hand illustration was something C. and I discussed after he told me the brief on one of the stories in the collection. The silhouetted hand was his idea; while he wanted it to look like Saul Bass’ Man with the Golden Arm poster, I ended up tweaking the artwork so it wasn’t so obviously derivative of someone else’s work. I was thinking about overlaying a distressed paper texture on top, but in the end the design is more eye-catching with the solid, flat colors and no manipulation.

With my print design business hitting a lull, I’m hoping these e-book covers will get others interested in hiring me (I already got one job from a non-relative – yay!). My portfolio includes the first two covers; I will include more soon. Should anybody out there know someone who needs a book cover design, please don’t hesitate to contact me at designer (!at!)

Here’s another incentive to read Forever — On his weblog, Christopher has a deal where you can download the e-book for free. Take a look, and dig that fabulous cover design!

Flickr Saturday: Olde Books

The photos in this Flickr Saturday come courtesy of our new neighbor, Kendall. Since telling her about LitKids, she let me borrow some of these children’s books of yore from her library. These books date from about 1895-1920 and are great examples of the charming illustration/typography that was favored back then. They’re also fun to read – I’m currently checking out Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm on the Kindle and it’s a sweet story with an endearingly cute heroine. A sampling from the Olde Books Flickr set is below.

Flickr Friday: Groovy ’60s Greeting Cards

Greetings and apologies for the site outage over the past week (did anybody even notice? I wonder). My website has been moved to a new web host, and there was a significant delay in transferring the MySQL system data that holds the backup info for this very blog. But now it’s done, and I’m relieved. What this means for you, dear reader, is that the weblog will load much smoother and there won’t be any tech difficulties in posting comments and such. If you’re reading this, please don’t hesitate to say “hello” in the comment field!

Now that we have that out of the way, let’s look at the two marvelous vintage greeting cards I found on our recent thrifting jaunt in Palm Springs. Both of these are likely from the late ’60s, and are printed with a day-glo pink color that my scanner couldn’t quite pick up. Our first card is actually kind of lovely, since the cartoon illustration was printed on yellow ocher-colored paper using bright silk screened inks. This was produced by a company called Velvetone and the cartoon is signed “Camden,” otherwise I can’t find any info on it. Can you tell what it says inside?

a big THANKS!

Our next card is from a maker called Reed Starline. I originally thought was a vintage Hallmark (the goofy cartoon looks similar to a lot of older cards that Hallmark has been re-printing lately). Again with the day-glo pink, although the cartoon looks more Mad magazine-y: