Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Just Deserts

In light of our periodic postings about unimaginative and duplicative book cover design, I was fascinated to stumble across Boston illustrator Richard Tuschman’s recent account, found in his blog, of how he created the jacket for an America edition of Shadow Walker, Michael Walters’ first novel starring “Nergui, a senior official at the Ministry of Security, and Doripalam, the head of the Mongolian Serious Crimes Team.” (A second book in that series, The Adversary, was released in the UK in September.)

As Tuschman explains, “The editors were looking for a ‘film noir’ atmosphere, as suggested by the title. Much of the action in the book alternates between lonely, abandoned Soviet-era factories and the stark beauty of [Mongolia’s] Gobi desert, and I wanted to show both on the cover.” He’s posted four slightly different concepts for public consumption. I very much like the digitally modified, finished artwork, though I am also fond of the framing he used around a different illustration (of a darkened factory) in the sketch at the upper right on that same page. Trouble is, though, that the red symbol with which he’s replaced the letter “A” in “Walker”--the same symbol incorporated into the present-day Mongolian flag--wouldn’t have stood out nearly so nicely within that frame.

I’d thought about ordering Shadow Walker from British publisher Quercus, but after seeing Tuschman’s work, I think I’ll wait for the U.S. edition. It’s due out sometime next year from Berkley Books--which, by the way, should be congratulated for paying extra for original artwork, rather than simply using another stock photo.

(Hat tip to Detectives Beyond Borders.)

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