Gary Taxali
A Confederacy of Dunces
One aspect of my job, which I love, is illustrating and designing book jacket covers.  Because type is so much a part of my work, art directors often request that I do the whole shebang - which I am always more than happy to comply.  This past year, Andrew Smith, Art Director at Penguin, UK sent me an email:
"I'm contacting you about a project called the Penguin Essentials which I'm currently working on. It's a design-lead initiative that was originally done ten years ago and created quite a buzz at the time. The idea is that Penguin re-release a set of twenty 'must read' titles and asks twenty of the world's leading artists to put their stamp on a different jacket within the set."
I was given "A Confederacy of Dunces" by John Kennedy Toole.  I had never read the book but knew it was oft referenced and heard that it was a spectacular read.  Having no time on my hands (what else is new?), I purchased the audio book from iTunes.  I love doing this as I can be "read to" and draw at the same time and of course, it's good to support audio books as many people require them out of no choice.  The book grabbed me immediately and the ideas started flowing.  Below is the final illustration/design as it will appear on the cover.  I had a great time with the type, as you can probably imagine.  The font used for the quote and author name is my own creation called "Chumply'.  This coming spring, check out the series of Penguin's Essentials.  There's always a classic or two, or twenty, we could always read and of course, listen to as well.

Below are a few sketches I sent to Andrew.  He selected the first one and requested the shirt be the same pattern as the kid's hair in the ILLOZ mousepad I did a few years ago.

I'll do a tight pen and ink drawing and then from there, delegate areas to be certain colours before the screens are burned.  I love the volleying of simultaneously thinking of the entire thing in black and white and then colour. 

All the above images are © 2010 Gary Taxali - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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