The HOW MAGAZINE COVER
HOW Magazine art director Tricia Bateman invited me to illustrate the cover for the 2006 Valentine’s Day issue dedicated to Typography. She asked me to impersonate a teenager scribbling lovelorn notes in his notebook—with typography being the object of my obsessive compulsive affection.
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Did I deliver on that? Kind of. I think. I imagine a teenager’s notebook to be more freewheeling and cluttered. (Having never been a teenager myself, I wouldn’t know.) This was my version of it. I was still obsessed with the circle doodles I’d first used on the bossa:nova flyers, and with the faces from the 344 Flowers poster. I’d previously put the two together on the 344 Tree, and really enjoyed the result. And of course, anything worth doing is worth doing twice. And in bright red. With a shout-out to my friend Doyald. Happily, everybody at HOW loved it.
This is my favorite kind of assignment: A furious burst of activity, followed by the printed piece showing up in the mail a few weeks later. Enough time to think of something fun to do, enough pressure to launch directly into making the thing, and no time to get caught up in worrying about what it all means.
This works especially well with magazine covers. With book or album covers you’re creating something that people need to sell for years to come. With editorial stuff everybody is open to playing around. Even if it’s a colossal failure—which it almost never is—you get a new chance the next week or the next month. I love doing publication covers, and I love the way this one turned out. The growing tendril motif would flow back into the mix a little bit later for the Typecraft poster, itself a more direct evolution of the sadly canceled Jason Bentley CD.