Renee French has been making comics for a long time. But for a few years now, she’s maintained a sketchblog full of spontaneous, faded graphite drawings that draw their appeal from creative character design and dubious narrative elements. Think of the black and white surrealist aesthetics of a Travis Louie painting, scaled and repackaged for children’s book production.
Paul Buckley, the VP Executive Creative Director for Penguin USA, has continued to art director and design some of the most eye-catching book covers I’ve ever seen. Instead of relying on a simplified photograph with super-clean typography, or reaching back for a retro look, Buckley hires the best-of-the-best in illustration and independent comics (Burns, Hanuka, Millionaire, to name a few) to create wonderfully fresh graphic images that leave little to be desired. And since these books are all classics, you don’t have to worry about being deceived by these alluring covers, because the interiors are guaranteed to be just as perfect as the exteriors. It is encouraging that the daunting sterility of the Kindle and Nook are being combated by men like Buckley, Kidd, Gall, and so many more, and if such devotion remains to be ceaselessly put into future book production, there should be little fear of physical books disappearing anytime soon. For a complete look at all of the book layouts (fronts, backs, interiors) see Sir Buckley’s Flickr.