Tag Archive for Book Art

When they say “book bags,” they really mean it

If you’re looking for a nice satchel that has a “bookish” feel to it, check out the offerings from the Etsy site, Krukrustudio. These satchels are fitted with covers that look much like the covers of many people’s favorite books or at least of some general book by certain favorite authors. For example, Jane Austen and Pride and Prejudice:

Satchel with a cover designed to look like a Jane Austen book,

Jane Austen satchel

This Austen is leather, while a second one is felt, and Agatha Christie also gets into the collection twice, once with the leather And Then There Were None and again with the felt Poirot. And the range is quite extensive, both chronologically and in genre. You can go all the way back to the Iliad

A leather satchel whose cover looks like the cover of the

Homer’s Iliad

…or you can come up to Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone or Robert Jordan’s The Eye of the World. There is one for Grimm’s Fairy Tales, or you can go with Pasternak, Pushkin, or Chekov. The creators and sellers are in Moscow, after all. This is probably one of the reasons why these satchels cost what they do–in addition to the labor involved and the materials.

But if you want to get something that will support your book addiction and also be useful, you may not be able to resist one of these. Especially since they take orders for other books if you prefer something else. I know I’m tempted!

Satchel with a cover based on the Russian author, Chekov.


Good day for the Book Nerd

I’ve just discovered a new site I may hang out on: Fixabook. I saw a link, particularly, to the category, Covers, where the writer, as you can imagine, is discussing various book covers.

The website’s stated goal makes a book-lover’s heart sing:

The aim is quite simple; Fixabook wants to celebrate the very best in book design while at the same time, helping people to think more deeply about their book covers.

As well as the “Covers” category, the site includes categories like “Blurbs,” “Spines,” and even “Copycat Covers.” (Must go visit that category for sure!) I believe I’ll be adding this site to my blogroll, and checking it often.

But Chronicle Books (**)  also has an interesting blurb about a specific book: The Art of McSweeney’s. (See the McSweeneys website here. Bizarre and interesting stuff there.) There are just a few samples of the illustrations from the book included in that blog post, but they should make your mouth water.

They’ve also created a trailer for the creation of this book. I’ll try to embed it, but given how well [she said facetiously] this blog program does in embedding YouTube videos here, don’t hold your breath. 🙂

(** A book publisher that is quickly becoming one of my favourites, for really interesting non-fiction books. Check out their ad in my right-hand column, and go see what other sorts of books they have. They’ve done several that I have talked about in my various “I want this book” sorts of posts in recent months.)

(Thanks to Twitter contacts thebookdesigner and RainCoastBooks for these links.)

Illustrations from Soviet Children’s Books

From the A Journey Round My Skull blog, a wonderful collection of illustrations from Soviet children’s books: Mummy Was A Robot, Daddy Was A Small Non-Stick Kitchen Utensil. Check them out! These particular ones are very robotic and mechanical, but so colourful and intriguing.

I’m especially delighted with these because I have a few of my own books from the Soviet Union, mostly language textbooks. But I have two called (in English), Russian Language in Pictures, by I.V. Barannikov and L.A. Varkovitskaya, published in Moscow in 1980.

My books were, of course, mostly designed to tell stories that would also teach the Russian language but also produce good little Soviet children. So for example, you’ll see a set of pictures like this, that show noble Soviet workers cheerfully doing their job in the orchard:

Good Soviet Workers in the Orchard

And then of course, there were drawings like the ones praising Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin:

In Praise of Yuri Gagarin

…and the Soviet space program:

Praising the Soviet Space Program

The illustrations in my book are more realistic and less artistic than the ones at that blog, but they’re all lovely.

Russian Language in Pictures

“Beyond the Covers” and The Book Designers

I just discovered a really fascinating blog, which led me to an equally fascinating website. The blog itself is called Beyond the Covers, and features the book cover design work of Ian Shimkoviak. He shows not just the final covers he designs, but some of the alternate versions and the works in progress.

It’s not simply that Mr. Shimkoviak’s work is good (which it is), but I love seeing all the different ideas he has for one cover, and I love all the comments and explanations that go with them. For example, scroll down almost to the bottom of the front page, to find the final version of the cover for Arrays of Consciousness, then look at all the previous cover options for the same book on this page and this page.

Shimkoviak also links to the website of The Book Designers, a team of designers with whom he works. That’s just as interesting, as you look through all the covers featured under the various categories. My favourites are the ones they do for Mandala Publishing, because I’m mad for Hindu gods and goddesses, but all the work is beautiful. (I’m especially amused by the second Size Matters cover in the “Fiction/Non-fiction” category. Go have a look.)

This is a whole level of book creation that we don’t always pay proper attention to. Yet I know that the sole reason I ever picked up The Summer Tree by Guy Gavriel Kay was that I was emotionally captivated by the cover. I didn’t even care what the book was about; I just wanted that cover.

Cover art is a creative craft all in itself, both separate from and intimately tied to the contents of the book itself. I think we need to pay much more attention to it than we do.

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