Sometime this last week, I sent my one hundredth Eisenbrauns book cover to press. I suspected I was getting close to that mark, so I sat down witht he website to figure it out. It took a little bit of doing to determine, as I excluded the books that had been reprinted (and thus, sent to press again), books that a previous designer had started, and I finished (there are my book covers), covers I did for other publishers (these are Eisenbrauns book covers), and covers for books that haven't gone to press yet.
So. Wanna see?
This one was fun (well, technically, these two, since it's a two-volume set, with different colors) once I got a hang of what the editors wanted. That's the challenge: I've produced plenty of covers that I dearly loved, but that the editors, well, didn't. One learns to shrug and keep trying. It's also one of the few instances where a major typo made it onto the cover... in the title, no less. I now have someone else proofread my covers before I send them to press!
These are, in fact, two separate books. They just look identical. Honest!
In academic circles, when an esteemed scholar or professor approaches the end of his/her career, you'll often see what's called a Festschrift, literally, a "party-writing," where colleagues and students will write articles in honor of said scholar. One hopes there are other, less cerebral celebrations involved, as well, but I wouldn't know. I just design the book covers. In this case, we have three volumes of articles by Nadav Na'aman, and a Festschrift for the same. Obviously, I figured all of them should have a common visual theme.
A lot of people tell me this is their favorite cover. I like it too. The part I'm proudest of is that I managed to convey the idea of the Chaoskampf Theory (order-land arising from the chaos-sea) using only two colors and one repeated shape.
One of my first "major" covers, in cloth and paperback. Those Persian warriors have since shown up in many. many places. One year, I suggested we make full-size cutouts of these guys, and have a place where you could put your head and poses as them. It was rejected because they thought people would actually do it...
I put so much into this one. I created this beautiful epicrystallograph of a leaf I found in the yard, and then made up the word "Epicystallograph" (Greek, "writing against the glass") because "putting it on the scanner" just didn't communicate what I wanted. As people have since pointed out, making up words doesn't necessarily communicate, either. But, I still hold out some hope for my little neologism. I wished I could have used a metallic purple ink on this one — it would have given the leaf a sort of ethereal sheen — but I found out at the last minute that there's a heavy surcharge for using metallic inks. Bummer. I still love the way it came out, even if my vision was grander.
Here's another one where I really ought to write up the process of creation. I think the part that took the cake was when the editors insisted that, despite all the time I'd spent removing the text, they could definitely tell that it was from the gret Isaiah scroll from Qumran, and that they'd really prefer to have a section from the Pentateuch on there. Hence the addition of the fragment by the title...
There's also a bunch where I frankly no longer remember if I did them or not:
...and a bunch I did for other publishers:
...as well as a bunch of catalog covers and such, but I'm not counting those categories here.
Looking over this list, I'm not sure what to think. This represents ten years of a small part of my life, and in retrospect, I can't honestly say if it's well-spent, mis-spent, or just... spent. While it has some lasting value (in the sense that it's been a way to keep a roof over our heads, and food on the table) there's nothing about any of this work that would outlast one good fire. In spite of that, I have to admit: I enjoyed it.
On to the next hundred!