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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Ignorance is Bliss -Judging a Book by its Cover

....En route back to the valley from Westwood and my phone rings: It is Stephen and he begins suddenly talking about a book he has written. He's excited and I attempt to process what he is saying. I realize that this must be the book he read an excerpt from a few months ago at an open mic event in Santa Monica. He mentions Jack Nicholson and the general story outline. As I am driving, and not supposed to be talking on the phone, I begin thinking this must be some film he has seen -and I somehow missed the part where he transitions from talking about his book to some film he saw. So I ask: "Is this some movie you saw?"

"No, it's the book, the book."

"Oh... you mean you envision Jack Nicholson in your story?"

"Yes... he would play the Senator..." as he continues to describe the book, which sounds more like a movie to me.

He describes the story and I get that it involves an alcoholic US Senator engaged in various modes of skullduggery and sex. And that he needs a book cover "ASAP" because he wants to release it "tomorrow." The rapidity and immediacy of the assignment must have forced the idea into me. The attached image of the cover is nearly exactly what came into my mind as I drove through the Sepulveda Pass.

As there wasn't time to hand-illustrate it, I opted to create a photo-illustration. Being more the creative director, assembling the design from disparate elements found online, I heavily altered each component beyond their original appearances and purposes. The design process in this case was like building a go-kart in the garage in a few hours and test running it that evening, to race it the next day. As the bits and pieces synthesized into the front cover, we dialed in the final elements of the composition over the course of the evening, discussing tweaks to it.

I did the cover that afternoon and night and he sent it on to the next day. Behold "Ignorance is Bliss" by Stephen Mitchell -a cinematic novel.

Stephen's blog link for Ignorance is Bliss:


  1. And that is the way it was...

    Excellent work yet again, Chad!

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