Here’s a little Sunday morning, behind the scenes graphic insight for you. For me, the best graphic jobs involve working with historic photos.  I learned to love the intricate detail in emulsion layers that only a chemical bath can produce. The processing is what makes analog photography so rich looking, and enhances details you’ll find lacking in digital photography. If you scan an old photograph at super high DPI, go scrounge up a magnifying glass and then compare the digital scan with the original print. You’ll be able to tell immediately which is which.

One of my clients wanted a book cover based on a historic photograph of a street scene. After doing some research sourcing the right photograph, sent a few candidates to the client for selection. I started to work on my layers with the chosen photograph, a 1930 street scene of the Feast of the Assumption in Little Italy on Mayfield Road.

Cleveland Press Collection

A beautiful street scene, but foreground clutter and other elements need edited to make room for book cover graphics. There are banner elements and iron work that I can reuse in more layers to develop a composite image. A draft of elements for the feature graphic is below, with many more steps to go to clean up the assembled graphic elements to go.

Draft of work in progress…

Once the client approves the direction of a graphic like this, I’ll move on with adding author, sizing, and developing the complete layout for front, back and spine. The final cover can’t be completed until the book text has been laid out and the total number of pages has been determined. It is the number of pages that dictates how wide the spine, and therefore, the complete cover will be.


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