Monday, January 26, 2015

Amazon Book Art: Echo of Bones (poetry book) by Molly Middleton Meyer

TITLE: Echo of Bones, a collection of poetry by Molly Middleton Meyer

COMPANY: Mind's Eye Poetry

"I'm on a mission-a mission to rewrite dementia.
 Despite what is often portrayed in the media,
 people with Alzheimer's disease are not lost. 

 They still possess the ability to experience joy,
 to think, to laugh, to create.
 It is with this belief in mind,
 that I founded Mind's Eye Poetry."

-Molly Middleton  Meyer


Commissioned to design and illustrate the body of work "Echo of Bones."
This included the creation of the cover art and digital book layout. In addition, the poet hired me to research and secure a printer to produce the book. 

In describing her book, Molly writes "Echo of Bones, features poems inspired by my experience with Alzheimer's disease, and the courageous men and women who live in the moment, who live in imagination, who live in memory."

Cover Art

After reading the body of work completely, it was clear that the reoccurring themes in the poems are the ideas of what it means to feel "loss." It was clear to me that the cover art be executed traditionally with paint and paper. I based the cover art on the following themes: loss and rebirth (cycle of life), strength through resilience, and finding beauty within the process of all stages of life. 

Through my conversation with my client, As a long time resident of Arizona, I discovered her deep rooted attraction to southwestern art. Both being admirers of artists such as Georgia O'Keeffe and Frida Kahlo, was information I needed to proceed to my thumb nailing process. 

Every artists has a different method of creating thumbnails. Some are more detailed than others but essentially you are depicting your idea through composition, and image references. Remember the brainstorming process should be a free and creative experience.
No idea is a bad idea. Through the nuances of sketching digitally, or traditionally can sometimes push an idea further than originally anticipated.

Together with my client we choose the bottom right thumbnail. 
When creating my thumbnails based off my concepts, I specifically choose an Aloe Vera cactus for it's healing properties. (I toyed with the iconic image of "Cabbage Patch Kid's Logo) by placing the skull in the middle of the Aloe plant. Using the older reference I was able to depict the cycle of life concept but through a reverse perspective. Having a skull represent death/old age emerging from where new growth should be located. The last important characteristic to note was to have the mouth covered 

*Note: An illustrators job is to create meaning through intentionally choices. 

FINAL SKETCH: I typically use "Saral" transfer paper when relocating my final sketch to the paper in which the piece intends to live upon. Once you have your final thumbnail all detailed, I would blow the sketch up to be the same size of the material you intent to transfer it to. When I transfer the sketch to the paper, I do a rough transfer. I do not copy the exact sketch to paper. It is my experience that work looks better when I roughly transfer over big shapes and fill in the detail by redrawing it again. 

UNDERPAINTING: Depending on the type of medium you work with, know your limitations of building your values. Painting is very similar to cooking, in the sense that you can always add more, but is harder to subtract. Learn how to be free through experimenting and salvage through practice. When I use watercolors or gouache I work light to dark. 

Revisions: The piece seemed to be missing an element. I revisited some of Frida Kahlo's work is abundant with flower crowns. One of the poems from the collection "Black Iris" the poem re-inspired me to give me an element I felt the piece was missing.

Black Iris, 1926

"If you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, It's your world for a moment." Georgia O' Keeffe.

She says flowers are androgynous.
But I'm not. I'm all woman.
Come closer. Look, I don't mind.
Now take your timid fingertips,
trace my tendrilled folds-
swirl them into white,

slip them into pink,
plunge them into my
purple-black beginnings.

Feel my seeds swell and burst
under one moon.

--Molly Middleton Meyer 

FINAL PAINTING: I suggest before framing a piece, always spray your paintings with UV ray protective sprays. The spray prevents color fading and comes in all types of different varnishes (matte, semi matte, and glossy.)  

Echo of Bones: 24" x 32", mixed medium: watercolor, colored pencils and gouache.  

Do your research! I spoke with over eight different printers before I chose "blurb" Today, we are fortunate to have a variety of options in printing techniques. It can be confusing at times, to make sure you are choosing a printer that believes in your project and meets your client's requirements (costs, timeframe, quality and customer service needs.) 

CONCLUSION: I would highly recommend blub. They have a wide range of printing options--enough to give you choices, but not to the point that you feel overwhelmed. In addition, their customer service is topnotch. I emailed their team once a day for a week and recieed feedback within the hour. My only criticism is that perfect binding left a little bit of bubbling. I would have preferred a more flush technical job, but overall satisfied with the end product.

After the book was displayed at my client's senior thesis show, the book was picked up by the publisher Red Dashboard  and you can not purchase the book on Amazon.

Bob Dob my professor at OTIS College of Art and Design for the guidance on working with publishers. Check out his work at 
Bob Dob and to Molly for letting me be apart of this beautiful project. 

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