Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Evolution of a Wimpy Kid Cover-Part One

First of all, let me get something straight: This is a JOURNAL, not a diary. I know what it says on the cover, but when Mom went out to buy this thing I SPECIFICALLY told her to get one that didn't say "diary" on it. Great, All I need is for some jerk to catch me carrying this book around and get the wrong idea.

These are the opening lines to Diary of a Wimpy Kid and the foundation of the cover concept.

When I started work on Wimpy Kid, Jeff's dream of taking his online comic into print had become a reality and it was my job to make sure my design lived up to this dream.

At first glance this project seemed to be easy. I wouldn't have to find an illustrator, I already had one and a concept was already in the works. All things that might lend themselves to solving the cover problem quick.
Not so.

What I didn't realize was that the passage above does a lot more than open up the book it directs what the cover should look like almost literally. This initially caused some trouble. Only because it limits what can be done, I felt trapped in away.

Here are some of the problems I faced.

1. Greg states that even though the book says diary on it it is a diary at all.
a) If it's not a diary how do we show this idea?
b) How do we make it look like a diary and make it pop? In other words make someone pick it up.

2. Who would write "of a Wimpy Kid." Most likely written by Rodrick Greg's brother. So How do we put this on the diary surface being that the diary was bought by Greg's mom?

3. What surface will the Illustration of Greg be drawn on. Remeber that since everything has a reason in reality for being there so does does this element and must be treated as such.

4. How to do all this an make the cover iconic.


Top photo shows the two journals and materials that were used in making the 'Diary'.

Image on the right depicts the first two comps made for the cover.

The black version is the first comp made for the cover by Jeff Kinney in the very early stages of the book way before it was bought by Amulet Books.

The red version ( color palette taken from The Catcher and the Rye) is my first initial stab at the cover. Both have elements of what the cover would become but both are a far cry from what they would evolve into. I used the word evolve since the cover and my relationship with Jeff did just that evolve grow and form into something new.

Part two:

ev·o·lu·tion –noun
1.any process of formation or growth; development: the evolution of a language; the evolution of the airplane.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Special Effects

Ever wonder how does the designer tell the printer what effect he or she wants on a jacket?
Well I'll tell ya. Here is an example of the print out made for Diary of A Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules by Jeff Kinney.
Early on in designing the first book we had decided that we wanted it to look like a journal. Okay but how do you get it to feel like one? I wanted the jacket to have a found object feel. As If Greg Heffley had drawn and pasted the objects on to the cover himself. To enhance this idea we used a Spot UV coating on the tape to give it a tape like feel in contrast to the matte surface of the cover. Over all the effects are fairly common but used in a way that enhances the concept of the book rather than just adding an aesthetic appeal. I think we managed both in this case.

Here in this example you can see how I marked the print out up to tell the printer exactly what I wanted.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Complicated Simple

"Anyone can make the simple complicated. Creativity is making the complicated simple"
—Charles Mingus