Thursday, November 13, 2014

So many books!

Let's just get started shall we?

Have you heard of this scientist who invented a test that can detect (with crazy accuracy) pancreatic cancer in its earliest stages?  I would try to explain this, but during my brief photoshoot with this scientist, I quickly understood I understood nothing. So I just copied this from his Wikipedia page:

Andraka cultured MIA PaCa cells, from a commercial pancreatic carcinoma cell line, which overexpress mesothelin, a biomarker[1] for ovarian, lung and pancreatic cancers. The mesothelin was isolated, concentrated and quantified with ELISA.[2] After optimization with the Western Blot assay, the human mesothelin-specificantibodies were mixed with single-walled carbon nanotubes and used to coat strips of ordinary filter paper. This made the paper conductive. The optimal layering was determined using a scanning electron microscope. Cell media spiked with varying amounts of mesothelin were then tested against the paper biosensor and any change in the electrical potential of the sensor strip (due to the changing conductivity of the nanotubes) was measured, before and after each application.

Impressive, right? He figured that out when he was a Sophomore in High School. Are you serious? I'm not even going to get into what I was up to when I was Sophomore in High School. It was NOT winning Intel ISEF - smarty - pants - let's - change - the - world - Awards. If you don't know of Jack Andraka, watch this video where he wins that award. Truly I only met this man twice, we hung out for only one full day, but this video is 100% Jack Andraka. He's a knock out.

You've fallen in love, right? His book promises to be just a great. It's in book stores this March.

Photography by Mark Tucker • Overall matte / spot uv / emboss title

Back to us mortals. . . or not! This is Monsters! I present the very awesome Tween / Middle Grade novel, Monstrous. This was another ridiculously fun cover to work on. The amazingly talented Skottie Young keeps saying "yes" to my project proposals. I mean when you get to draw a character as sweet and fierce as our gal Kym here, why not, right?

Monstrous is available this February!

Art by Skottie Young / Lettering by David Coulson • overall matte / embossed title

And our newest list! These guys are the newer titles we all have to sit and wait patiently for.

I don't want to give anything away about Emmy & Oliver. I'll just say it's very good, has a surprising ending and it's unlike anything I've read in YA before. Oh, also I got to work with Matthew Allen who might be one of the nicest illustrators with the most California-y vibe ever.

Anyway, check this out in June.

Illustrations by Matt Allen • 4c gloss

And my first book with the imprint, Balzer + Bray. Blazer & Bray books are awesome. They can be edgy sometimes have social issues tied to them. They're real? I mean they are the kind of books a kid like me would have loved. I read all kids of books, obviously, but Finding Paris was another one that made me go "say WHA?!?" right until the end.

And I have to say the author, Joy Preble, is amazing! Not only in her writing and story development, but like she's nice y'all. When Barnes and Noble asked for an interview from her about Finding Paris, she talked about the cover. That's totally unnecessary! When it came out, I only sent it to my Mom because I was so embarrassed about how nice it was. My Mom in turn sent it to my Grandma. I should tell Joy Preble that she made my Grandma proud. Not that my Grandma wasn't already proud... but you get where I'm going.

So buy Finding Paris in April.

Photography thinkstock / lettering by me! • specs tk

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

a Red Queen

Whenever we have a cover reveal, I get nervous I'll spill the beans. It's a big secret and there's lots of anticipation and I'm always paranoid that somehow I'll have a cover lurking in the background of a photo. This actually happened not too long ago when a co-worker took a HILARIOUS picture of me at my desk, rolling out my back with a racquetball. We liked it because it looked like I had a back boob:

Me, My back boob, my embarrassment moments before said racquetball fell down my dress.

Anyway. In the back is the spec'ed comp of RED QUEEN along with the crown from the photo shoot. Thankfully it's nice and smudged and you can't really tell what's going on. But here in full regalia, and after the official reveal, our Red Queen.

4C over foil, mad hits of white, embossed crown, blood & title <3 it.

I'm not going to lie and pretend I don't absolutely adore this jacket. The full sales proof came in and I can't get enough of it. It's shiny and slick and beautiful. We printed a four color process over silver with various hits of opaque white. The silver crown bounces of the page, helped along by a sweet embossing plate. The blood runs in and out of those swirls and fleur-de-lis... ah that beautiful blood.

We had maybe too much fun on this shoot. The photographer, Michael Frost, got an ear full on blood consistency, drip lengths, and gore value from the Abracadabra costume shop on 19th street. (There is an actual "blood expert" at Abracadabra!) Finding fake blood that is beautiful proved to be an excellent challenge. I think we've managed to get that right balance of right and wrong here. And in truth, that crown is such a lovely shape, you almost forget what it's covered in—almost.

The story which is featured here, is wonderful. You should read it this winter. You can borrow the actual crown when you do—we cleaned off most of the blood... I think.

Friday, April 11, 2014

This week'a books!

Here's this weeks haul: Rebel and Free to Fall!

Nice. Happy Spring and weekend to me!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Fall Wrap UP

. . . and we are done! Here's the rest of the Fall 2014 books.

It'll be a while for my next batch I fear. Winter 2015 has proven to be rather sorted. I do enjoy a challenge though, so let's see what happens next.

Until then, some winged horses and space pirates. MIDDLE GRADE!

The Guardian Herd is supposed to be very, very cool. I haven't had the chance to read it yet. But the art for this cover is so stunning. I would die, just die if I were 12 again . . . ok currently dying. Rumor has it the ARE's are on their way down, hopefully it'll be a nice weekend read!

The Sales Conference proofs came in today and they are truly lovely. I was lucky enough to afford a 4C process over silver foil for the title (which is also sculpt emboss). Hopefully we'll be able to keep that 4C over silver going through the series. I'd love to see this in a cool, slate blue.

4C Glossy / title prints over silver foil + sculpt emboss

And my other favorite logo (self pat on the back) Jupiter Pirates #2. The color palette smacked me right in the face when I saw it. I have never ever, ever seen space so illuminated. I just squealed at the pinks and purples coming out of the jets. A wonderful gold logo really pulls this together. If it weren't for the amazing Tom Lintern, there is no way this could ever look as cool as this:

4C over silver foil / embossed title, debossed subtitle

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Book day! Thunderhawk edition

Ms. Kelley Armstrong has a new series coming out, I was lucky enough to work on this packaging. I absolutely love how it turned out. It's so matte and velvety. This book looks delicious!

Our thunder hawk is real! On sale April 8!

Oh and if you like a book without its cover:

That's just reading sexy to me.

Course, I'm biased.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Believe it or not It's Fall 2014 (...and I'm walking on air)

Our first round of Fall 2014 book covers are available to share! There are still a few out there waiting for their big reveal but for now how about some graphic novels and a sweeping desert epic romance? Great!

First up, Mr. Neil Gaiman and Mr. P. Craig Russell are back at it again. This time it's a two volume set for THE GRAVEYARD BOOK. This book won the Newbery Medal in 2009 (Is that right?! Time is flying!) This is my first experience with graphic novels and I am learning a lot. While I'm lucky enough to have a real guru work on the interior set up, the cover and going over the printing components have been a lot of fun to hammer out.

Each chapter of these books has been illustrated by a different person. While the handlettering (yea, the whole book is done by hand!) remains constant, the art changes throughout and it's very, very rad. We're also hoping to print these bad boys with a lot of added perks. Everyone cross your fingers for printed end papers! It's a good thing working with a billion talented artists.

Until the books come out with all those extra cool bits, here are the covers!

Matte/Spot UV and some gold foil

Vol 2. more of the same: Matte/Spot UV and some gold foil

And if long, sweeping desert romance is more your style: FORBIDDEN by Kimberley Griffiths Little. I'm still working on the specs for this, but how cool with a four color + gold ink in this be? So cool, it'd be hot. (Get it!?)

Monday, February 10, 2014

Anybody need any Cleary?

Whoa! I came out of a meeting and found this pile at my desk:

Anybody need any Beverly Cleary books? Good to see all that work turned into something tangible. It's a rainbow of happy reading!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

My big work trip to Maryland!

My best friend in the whole world, Ericka is from Maryland. When we were there we'd eat some crabs, go motorcycling through chicken farms, (OK this only happened once but it was so awesome I'd like to pretend it was a regular occurrence) and just get out of the city. I have fond memories of Maryland—specifically the Eastern Shore where she was from—so I was kinda psyched for my work trip.

Now I wasn't going to Maryland to ride motorcycles through chicken farms, and I was pretty sure I wasn't getting any crabs to eat either. I was going to take a three hour Amtrak ride to Baltimore then a one and a half hour drive to Phoenix Color to press check Panic in Hagerstown, Maryland. The trip took place in one day. Being that travel alone was 8+ hours, we packed in a whole lotta adventures. Here's the break down!

First up, because I'm a total nerd for all things machinery, let's explore the plant! And yes, it's exactly how you'd expect it to be. If I had better editing abilities I'd make this. And I'd commission music by They Might Be Giants, but you get the idea. Each time I have the pleasure of visiting a plant, or anywhere where people make actual things I think of Sesame Street and the 1980's. Maybe it's all those "buy American" commercials that were popular then...maybe those commercials were only shown in Michigan. Anyway, I'm transfixed by conveyor belts, cutting machines, the rollers on the printing presses, glitter machines, embossing plates—everything!

Two picture books were being collated, bound, and well I guess "put together" while I was there. One is currently the #1 New York Times bestselling picture book and the other was one of my childhood favorites. Behold! The creation of What the Fox Say? and Corduroy.*

*Over simplified and maybe in the wrong order.

But we did work on our book too! After the tour (and again apologies if that was out of order, and I know it's severely lacking in actual information, but still it's fun!) we tackled Panic, and its awesome use of Litho Foil. Now, I don't know how Litho Foil works. A few people have attempted to explain it to me but all I can hear (and see!) is: It makes things pretty. It's awesome. It's new. It's on.

Getting the color of the foil to match proved to be a challenge, a lot of odd trapping (areas where the foil and the ink aren't lining up) issues were apparent. I won't pretend to know how the wizards at Phoenix fixed the white halo issues that surrounded the type. Something I did in my file wasn't translating to printing language. But the left over silver film was pretty cool.

Litho foil for cover and spine

When I say it was a while in getting there, I'm not kidding. A lot of really hard work happens here to get everything just right—most of it before I get to the plant. A jacket would come off the press, people look at it for color and trapping, then discuss what isn't quite right. A whole lot of buttons are pushed. Phrases like "Let's up the cyan by 2%" or "increase the black plate by x!" are thrown around. Then pull another jacket. This happens a few times before all the images in our minds pop out exactly the way they are supposed to on paper. And before anyone freaks out, all materials are reused or recycled, this isn't wasted.

Rejected Panic's!

I'm in so much awe at the people who make this all happen. I only know the process until a jacket gets to the printer, after that it's a mystery. After I hand the files off to my production department, all this magical stuff happens and a few weeks later I get a book, you get a book, we all get books! But it's the awesome visions and talents of a lot people that take whatever I have on screen and transpose it into a perfect piece of tangible stuff. And I have to say, it looks mighty, mighty fine...

Panic's final jacket will be gritty matte, litho foil, and embossed.

Panic is available in stores and on line March 2014.