This is something a little different that I felt like sharing. Continue reading, or skip to the bottom for the Song of the Week.
The graphic novel in question is Red Power, by Brian Wright-McLeod. He wrote and illustrated the book, which is a story of resistance and soul-searching by a group of native North Americans, particularly its main man, Billy Moon. This is actually Part 1 of a broader story that involves mystery and a fair bit of old magic. There are spirits about, or didn’t you know?
As I was saying, Brian wrote and illustrated the story. Once complete, I got a file with the text, scans of the illustrations, and it was time to put them all together. I have to skip over that process for the purpose of this post (maybe I’ll write about it another time, because I found it really interesting), and go right to the point where I had to design the cover.
To begin with, I didn’t really know what anyone was looking for. I did some thumbnail sketches, and if I knew where I put them, I’d show them. No matter, though. I had to work with the main black and white illustrations, and I could only add one colour due to printing costs.
1) The first thing I did was pull some images that I thought were striking and mysterious. We needed to show that this was a mature graphic novel, and I was going for something gritty with the mug shots and the fence. I did not nail this on my first attempt.
6) Not long after that, I had a flash of inspiration. A glimmer, at the very least. I’d make a black cover, and the only place that you’d see illustrations would be through the letters of the title. I did it, and I added just a little bit of red seeping down the page. This design garnered some warm praise, but the text alignment felt off, and some people wanted it to look more recognizably native. They suggested I add feathers.
|Final cover - front and back|
At long last, we had a cover. I put together the back, and before I knew it everything was going off to the printer. Within weeks I was holding a fresh copy of Red Power in my hands. I liked the final product. It was time to release it to the world.
Red Power, by Brian Wright-McLeod, is now available in bookstores, and online through retailers such as Amazon.ca and ChaptersIndigo.ca. (I don't know what Amazon is on about, though. The book is 60 pages, not 96. I've looked into this, and I'm not sure when the correction will take effect.) I recommend you read it.
- Song of the Week: This week's pick was very, very close. It was between a two-time nominee for SotW and a new entrant, and in the end I gave it to the newbie. I have a feeling the other artist could be the first three-timer on this blog next week, but we'll wait and see. Let's not hog the spotlight from the deserving winner, though. With sparse arrangements, heavy licks, and a voice that could belong to Rivers Cuomo, The Devil Takes Care of His Own by Band of Skulls is for the louder-listening crowd. But look at the video. What starts off as a very quiet telecast becomes anything but. This is why you don't mess with your producer when he's the next Bruce Lee, because even when he's armed with just the shirt off his back, he'll whip you and your rebellious TV crew. And the band will play on.