top
log-in
Stephen Kroninger
May 2010
Likeness and Charles Schulz
posted:

 The recent death of Art Linkletter reminded me of this book published in 1957 which was on my parents bookshelves back when I was a kid. Looking at it again yesterday I was struck by the fact that it was the only attempt at likeness by Charles Schulz that I could recall. Anyone know of others?

 Apparently the art director decided to go in a different direction regarding likeness for the back  jacket to the hardcover edition.

 And then again for the front cover of the paperback edition. Thanks to David Cowles for this scan.
A little piece of illustration history for your Memorial Day weekend.
A Box Of Magazines 13
posted:
Saul Steinberg
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
Bob Larkin
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
Movie Tie-In PBs.
posted:

 by Art Chantry. I copied and pasted this from Art's Facebook page. If you haven't already you should friend him. As well as being one of the top designers of the past few decades he's also very opionated about the stuff we love and highly entertaining.
  Covers scans are books I have lying around the house.


the paperback book existed before WW2. however, it was not a big seller, not an important item so much as a cheap novelty. the war changed that significantly. first, the popularity of the cheap, portable, disposable paperback was extremely popular with the troops. their experience with the paperback in the field ac...climated the american popular culture to the idea of a paperback novel like never before.

the other big innovation in the paperback was the quantum leap in printing technology. inexpensive (often army surplus) sophisticated presses became abundant. inks took on richer pigmentation and durability and standardization (all military improvements). combine that with a hungry plentiful source of trained labor (returning soldiers) and a burgeoning new prosperous peacetime society and the paperback exploded and dominated the book printing world.

but, it wasn't given any respect. the hard cover book efforts of the literary culture world still controlled the sales and the reviews. in fact, the humble paperback was actually ghettoized into a separate 'sales' (and 'best seller' lists) category from the hard bound cover. the novels and entire genres relegated to the cheaply produced paperback were an "unfortunate'" source of income for the industry and kept the all-around more expensive (but elite) hard cover book alive for a long time. it probably wasn't until the development of the "trade paperback" (larger format paperback that closer mimic the hard cover standards) that books released in paperback for the first time were reviewed and noticed as actual literary efforts.





all the derision and ignoring of the paperback novel did nothing to distract the business heads from exploiting them unmercifully. entire genres of writing (science fiction, horror, romance, western, detective, crime) developed into sophisticated cannons of great literary dialogs unnoticed until their deep maturity. now they are often usurped by the elite world of the literati as within their reach and appreciated all along, even though they were ignored as trash for decades. so it goes.

the history of the paperback cover art is equally as interesting. it developed into a vast field of major artists and genres and styles. enormously important careers were started executing the humble paperback cover for a few hundred dollars a pop (if they were lucky). it became a traditional starting point for many fledgling and later impressive careers.

of course, the crass and exploitive and wonderful world of advertising (which never misses a beat of our cultural dialog) spotted the paperback cover as a ubiquitous presence for promotion very early. often you would have advertisements in the back pages, then blown in to the inner pages, then on the back cover, then on the front cover, and eventually, the entire book itself would be little mort than an large advert for a product. the entire book , from written inception to printed finish would essentially be a big ad - like for a movie. you actually carry this advert around with you in your POCKET and look at it again and again! amazing!





when i was younger, i used to collect cool old paperbacks largely for their cover art. the "movie tie-in edition" would usually be overlooked or discarded early because of the advert cover. these covers usually consisted of a photograph from the film combined with lettering from the movie ad campaign and a tag line or two ("now a major motion picture starring....") obviously uncool and not worth saving. most of the time the "novel" inside the covers was written shortly before publication by some anonymous hack after the movie started making a large profit. in other words, junk.

the other version that i encountered often of was a reprint for a classic story by a cult (or even famous) writer - simply repackaged to sell as a movie tie-in to advertise the film from the paperback book stand (a billboard). these versions i would often pick up to read because it was the only way that this particular story would be available without paying antique or collector prices for the thing. either way, it was a bombardment of cheezy adverts that one really couldn't avoid.








as the years has gone by, i've taken a second (and third and fourth) look at these cheezy covers. i think i've changed my mind. yes, these things were blow-offs by hack staff designers (usually new-hires low on the totem pole hierarchy of the art department) just making a buck. but, you can never really underestimate the impact of the quick instinctive design effort. sometimes these covers depict and illustrate and explain the experience of the story, even the movie, better than anything else i've seen.

take a look at this cover for the 'movie' edition of the robert bloch story "psycho". beginning with the saul bass film title (how many times has that beautiful elegant simple design solution been copied outright? think: punk) to the inexpensive photograph (a publicity still and a screen grab, both furnished for free and SO MUCH cheaper than hiring an illustrator - even at those ridiculously low period rates. economy and promotion was the calling here.

but, the interesting colors, the CHOICE of photos used, the utterly strident stark and downright self-righteous in-your-face visual assault of this cover really puts other, more creative artistic efforts for this same seminal film to shame. this is a great design that solves the communication problem better than the work of the entire promo campaign for the movie itself. they should have used this cover for the film poster. it would have a been a classic all by itself.

i have a small collection of really wonderful movie tie-in paperback covers that i cherish. they are the work of early stage, struggling creative artists hungry to make their mark. the results are often so much better that the calm trained professional eye they later become.












Nothing Normal
posted:

Howie Rosen of the San diego Reader art directed this cover. The article is about life in Normal Heights, San Diego. The part of the story I chose to illustrate dealt with a man being confronted by a mean pit bull while out walking his dog.
 
Sketches in order of appearance.









A Box Of Magazines 12
posted:
ART IN AMERICA, 1968, subscription only, hardcover magazine. cover art by Joe Brainard.
.
back cover
.
.
Robert Crumb
.
.
Lynda Barry
.
Lynda Barry
.
Walt Kelly
.
Otto Soglow
.
.
1938
.
.
.
.
Red Grooms
.
Matisse footage
posted:
Drawing with scissors.



Pennsylvania Dutch Story
posted:
Cornelius DeWitt illustrations
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
selected black and white images from the margins
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
 My brother still lives in Pennsylvania Dutch country surrounded by Amish farms. The image above is a familiar sight. The only thing that's changed is the models of the cars.
A Box Of Magazines 11
posted:
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
A Box Of Magazines 10
posted:
art spiegelman
.
back cover
.
.
.
.
.
1972
.
.
Ralph Steadman
.
.
Sue Coe
.
.
.
Leon Golub
.
Raoul Hausmann
.
Issue includes an essay by Henry Miller on George Grosz' ECCE HOMO.
.
John Heartfield
.
.
.
John and Faith Hubley
Happy 30th Anniversary, Edel!
posted:
Recent Articles
Topics
Archive

Washington Square Park (22)

CITY SYMPHONY: Video and Production Art (51)

Children's Book Sketchbook (Psssst...It's Me the Bogeyman) (27)

Faces (14)

My Studio (49)

LINKS--ILLUSTRATION (76)

LINKS--COMICS AND CARTOONISTS (53)

LINKS--POSTERS (64)

LINKS--BOOK COVERS (13)

LINKS--TRADING CARDS (2)

LINKS--ANIMATION (16)

LINKS--RECORD ALBUM ART (22)

LINKS--Advertising (11)

LINKS--FINE ART (10)

LINKS--NEW YORK CITY (10)

LINKS--MISCELLANEOUS (20)
Links to Articles
Stephen Kroninger