Sunday, December 4, 2011

Z v U, or, the dream job

When the book "Zombies Vs. Unicorns" came up for assignment, every designer's hand shot up. In the end, it landed with me and my talented colleague Sonia Chaghatzbanian. We tag-teamed the design and art direction, which made an already fun project even more so.

The book is a collection of short stories that are either zombie or unicorn based. Edited by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier, the book had meager sales expectations (for some reason anthologies in general just don't sell well), so Sonia and I had carte blanche to do whatever we wanted. The concept and artist came to us quickly and easily—we wanted a zombie-versus-unicorn version of Hieronymus Bosch's The Garden of Earthly Delight and we wanted the hugely talented Josh Cochran to do it. He was on board immediately and then the fun began.

First draft:
Notes back to JC:
Final linework:

The final battle:
In the meantime, Sonia and I were working on the package itself. We miraculously got away with having no names on the front cover, and we created the illusion of a diecut using a deboss, drop shadow and spot matte lam on the cover icons that Josh created for each creature.
We also got Josh to do some of his awesome hand-lettering for the back cover, too, which featured the names of all the wonderful contributors.

We carried all this into the interior, too, using Josh's line drawing for the endpapers and his hand lettering for the table of contents and chapter openers.

In the end, we were all thrilled with what we'd created, AND even better, the sales for this book far exceeded expectations, due in large part (so we are told) to the packaging.

And finally, the cherry on top of this awesome project was that the three of us won a Silver Medal from the Society of Illustrators for the package, Josh for illustrating and Sonia and I for Art Direction. Here's a pic Josh blogged of us proudly posing with our fancy new medals.

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