Friday, October 16, 2009

New Website!

Hey all, I've started putting up all my new work on my website at:

I may continue updating this blog, but time seems getting more and more compressed, so who knows!

xox. -jacob

Friday, May 1, 2009

Poster: Clarion West (2009)

3 color screenprint, 18x24, the skull and the "skull breath" are overprinted in a glow-in-the-dark ink. I assembled this together mostly from bits and pieces that I had gathered from the Stand on Zanzibar project (that I posted about below) - I don't know if that's laziness or a cunning maximization of available assets - you decide. Anyway, I kind of love it.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Poster: Tea Cozies (2009)

Here's a poster that I created for some friends of mine in the Tea Cozies. Created in about an hour, using imagery I already had on my computer and some quickly-drawn type. This style feels so remote to what I seem to be doing now that I don't really know what I think of the poster overall, but I guess other people liked it, because I was flipping through our local weekly The Stranger, and it was selected for their Poster of the Week!

11x17 color xerox

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Book Illos: Stand on Zanzibar (2009)

I'm currently working with Centipede Press on their reissue of Stand on Zanzibar by John Brunner, which has been a big project, but very fulfilling. I have a bit of work to go, but I wanted to share some of the comp "illustrations" that I've been doing for the project. They probably will be modified slightly here and there, but overall I'm feeling pretty good about them.

Written in the late 1960s, SoZ is rife with themes of overpopulation, hypercapitalism, eugenics, and information overload - all stuff that is quite relevant today. The book was a groundbreaking work of science fiction when it was released, but visually I wanted to create a decidedly non-sf (or at least a non-traditional sf) look for the pieces, using a lot of photomontage and collage techniques, keeping in mind a mid-century feel. I found that a lot of the images were feeling quite techno-religious (is it just me?), which I think fits quite well.

A lot of the textures were from scanned sections of b/w photography that had been printed in photography annuals. Because of the printing process, there's lots of nice, juicy halftone gradients to work with. Makes everything feel a bit gritty and moody, I think.

Anyway, I'll post further designs and the final book when it is released.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Ephemera: Holiday Coaster / Drink Set (2008)

This holiday, my wife and I constructed coaster sets for presents.

The coasters were cut out of old 78 rpm records that we had collected - we keep the one's we like to play on our hand-crank Brunswick record player, and the one's we don't (or the damaged records) get sacrificed to the greater good. I use a 4" hole saw on my drill press and cut each of the labels out. With a little sanding on the edges, they make great coasters. Most of the labels are heat pressed onto the shellac/vinyl composition, so they weather quite well with normal use.

We added a little booklet with seven drinks that we enjoy. The cover paper was something that my wife had collected a few years ago, and the interiors were printed on a color photocopier. Everything was hand trimmed (we only made 30 sets, so not so much work), the booklets were stapled in the spines, and the whole assemblage was tied together using candlewicking (purchased at a local craft store in rolls of 100 feet.

Some of the page spreads:

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Book: Cosmocopia by DiFilippo/Woodring (2008)

The small press that Therese Littleton and I run, Payseur & Schmidt, released Cosmocopia, a project by Paul DiFilippo and Jim Woodring. Basically, Paul has written a short novel that is an homage to Woodring, Richard Powers, Frank Frazetta, and David Lindsay, and Jim has created artwork to visually bring the novel alive. Jim came up with the idea to have a jigsaw puzzle, which fits perfectly in the Payseur & Schmidt aesthetic. I designed the book and the packaging and Lance and Beth at Thingmakers manufactured the whole thing. I have to say that I was pretty surprised at how awesome they looked when I first saw a finished copy. It's nice to work with quality content!!!
As with all the Payseur & Schmidt material, I try to hit that balance between something that looks polished and professional, and something that feels a bit DIY, hand-made and punk rock. The goal is to not worry about perfection, to take risks, to not worry about if something sells, and to just DO IT. Oh, and a recent goal for me is to try and make everything out of biodegradable materials, as much as possible. Ever since I read The World Without Us by Alan Weisman and learned about the floating mound of plastic the size of Texas in the north Pacific, I'm anti-plastic.

Buy a copy today at our Payseur & Schmidt website!

What's in the set:

Sample spread (showing chapter heads that orient perpendicular to the rest of the text block):

Gratuitous and unnecessary multi-page title (spreads shown):

Bound-in bullshit postcard (I was hoping that it would be reminiscent of those postcards you'd see in a crappy old paperback. Text by Therese Littleton.)

Monday, December 29, 2008

Ephemera: Wedding Invites (2008)

After a long pause, I'm finally adding more projects!

This is a wedding invite set that I created. The clients wanted to create something that was inexpensive, had a hand-made feel, was reminiscent of Mexican loteria cards, but carried imagery that was important to them.

We came up with some initial ideas together and then we went through a few comps to get it just right. The outer enclosure is screenprinted in 2 colors and then folded and "die-cut" by hand on the front panel (the panel with the bride and groom's initials), using an exacto knife and a paper punch.

The interior cards contained wedding information on the reverse sides and simple imagery on the fronts. These were printed on a color photocopier using a nice paper that was laser printer friendly. By doing something as simple as using a nice paper, it's pretty easy to fool people into thinking that you used a much more expensive printing method than was actually used.

All in all, I think these turned out pretty nice, and offered something unique for a special day. A little hand-made action goes a long way.

The invite enclosure, and cards for directions, info, and an rsvp postcard:

The back of the invite enclosure:

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Poster: Clarion West (2008)

This is the 5th year in a row that the Clarion West Writer's Workshop has asked me to design a poster for their advertising. It's a yearly project that I look forward to and I happily donate my design time, because they are really great at giving me a lot of creative freedom (and pay for the printing of a cool screenprint too!)

It's also a big challenge because the poster is used for advertising and there's a lot of information to get across. John Berry has been their art director for the past couple years and is an excellent typographer, so I get a bunch of type mentoring too, which is always nice.

This poster is the second idea that I came up with. The initial idea I actually created a rough comp for, but I decided that that design would probably work better (with evolution) as a book cover, rather than a poster, so I'm saving it for later.

The design that I ended up creating I really like a lot. I created it at night during a business trip to Denver, and I had no access to a scanner, so all of the imagery that is collaged into the poster I already had on my harddrive -- the elements I've either used before in other compositions or they were images that I had scanned in for other projects but never ended up using.

I like that it doesn't overtly scream "science fiction and fantasy". Well, maybe the skeleton dude does, but maybe not. I really enjoy the shape of the black arabic letterform bits and the overall colors. I'd like to have a small amount printed on a natural stock, which I think will work with those colors well. The colors remind me of 1950s gravure printing, which had such mellow, non-super-saturated colors.

18" x 24", 3-color screenprint.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Unclassifiable: Pacifico Van design (2008)

One of the coolest jobs that I've done this year is a van design for Pacifico Beer. The campaign is really cool. 18 different artists were picked and each given a theme that relates to the story/idea/feel of Pacifico Beer. Each artist was then given free reign to create a design/illustration that would then be actually hand-painted onto a mid-1960s Volkswagen van. A lot of the surfers in the 1960s and 1970s painted their VW vans and this is picking up on that. The vans are then driven all around the US, spreading the gospel of Pacifico.

For a big corporation, I think this campaign is really edgy and cool. The artists involved all were top notch and I felt really honored and really nervous to be in the final group (I will happily say that I thought I was the least talented of the bunch).

My theme was the Pescadores (the fishermen). The pescadores are in many ways the wisemen of the fishing villages, and there are a set of tall tales, myths, and traditions that are orally passed down by them, like how the rattlesnake got its rattle, and the legend of the octopus (and how it likes to steal beer - especially Pacifico, of course).

I came up with the idea of having the color gradation on the top and bottom halves -- I was thinking of how with many printing techniques, you can have a 'split fountain' effect, which means that two or more different colors of ink are allowed to mix together on the print surface, creating this gradation effect (this originated with letterpress, I believe, where ink for large jobs was held in a "fountain" device which sat above your ink plate or roller surface and fed a steady, measured amount of ink. Different colors of ink could be compartmentalized in the fountain, only to mix when they hit the printing rollers.) Anyway...

If your familiar with any of my work, you know already that I'm pretty enamored with ornamentation and squigglies and both are used prominently here. The squiggly fishing line really conveyed to me the idea of the motion and active skill of the pescadores. And it looked cool.

Apparently the van is being painted right now or is already done. I'm super excited to see what it ends up looking like. I'm especially excited that it's going to be hand-painted and not just wrapped in a digital print, like you see all the time now. I'm really interested in the process of how the painter and their technique and skill will modify my original design, making it a hybrid of my art and theirs. I'll post a pic of the van when I get one.

I'd love to do this type of project again.

Here's some images of the finished van:

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Poster: Art of Modern Rock (2006)

This was a poster created for the opening of the exhibition Art of Modern Rock: The Poster Explosion at Experience Music Project in 2006. This was an exhibition that I curated with Dennis King, Gabe Kean, and Jacob Covey which originally debuted at Seattle's Bumbershoot Festival in late August 2005. The exhibition was based on a book of the same name edited by Dennis King and Paul Grushkin. More on the exhibition later. The poster was designed by myself, using as the central image the exhibition logo that was created by Jacob Covey (an excellent designer, who just happens to be the art director at Fantagraphics.)

The idea for the poster (and the logo, really) was to try and create some sort of pleasing abstract collage using imagery and striking colors that seems\ to be common in rock posters. The arrows and cloud of the logo combine with the skulls, birds, women, dots and doodles of the background to hopefully form a poster that is evocative of rock posters, without being a cliche. I kind of like it.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Book Covers: Lost Books Resurrected (2006)

In early 2006, I think, Jeff VanderMeer was working on an article for SFsite about the lost or forgotten books by various well-known and respected authors. The trick was that the books were all made-up. He asked me if I'd design some covers for these bullshit books. It sounded like something right up my alley, so I agreed. Jeff supplied the authors and titles and I was free to do whatever I wanted.

Since it was just for fun and there wasn't any money exchanging hands, I decided that I'd try and spend under 30 minutes on each one and just try and make something cool in that amount of time. It actually worked pretty well. Some are stinkers, like The Original Laura and Dictionary of the Khazars: Hermaphrodite Edition, but the others I kind of like. The Messiah is kind of cheating, since it's basically a poster that I did for an improv show and just repurposed. In any case, it was a fun project, that made me think more about not worrying so much about details and trusting in the "happy accident."

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Poster: Zidane (2008)

I recently designed a poster for the Northwest Film Forum for their screening of Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait. They already has a poster that was being used for advertising, but one of the board members had pushed forward the idea of creating a commemorative screen printed poster to sell at the showings.

I donated my design time and we kept the designs to 2 colors to save on cost. I first created the design below, which I thought would look pretty cool. The idea was that the black layer would actually go down first and the dark grey layer would be a thinned-out white ink screen printed on top of the black, creating the ghostly grey. It didn't resonate with the client, so I created the design at top, which they did like. I'm pretty happy with both.

Monday, January 21, 2008

VERA t-shirt (2007)

The Vera Project is a great resource for kids who are into music and art in Seattle. It's an all-ages venue, but also has a recording studio and a screen printing studio. Every year they have a screen printing fundraiser, where 20 or so designers submit one-color VERA logo designs. Then you go to the event, buy a t-shirt, pick your design, and screen it yourself. This is what I submitted this year.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Book Cover: The Devil Gets His Due by Leslie Fiedler (2007)

I just finished this cover design for The Devil Gets His Due by Leslie Fiedler. It comes out on Counterpoint Press at some point in 2008.

I've been noticing lately that, whereas in the past I would naturally design as if I were designing for screen printing, regardless of whether it would be screen printed, now I seem to be breaking out of that a little bit and getting very inspired by texture and transparency. I guess it's still "screen print think", since you can achieve colors shifts with overlapping, but instead of having everything be completely opaque, I'm liking this new subtlety of overlapping semi-transparent objects.

In any case, I'm pretty happy with this design.