Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Eric Hanson

I was looking at an intriguing book, and realised that its author is also a talented illustrator who has several book covers to his credit.



Most recently, Eric Hanson provided the wonderful cover for John Waters' autobiography. As always, I'm a fan of books like this that don't make use of a boring photographic portrait on the front.



Other Hanson work...



(That's Baby Leg by Brian Evenson, from Tyrant Books)

Eric's blog, full of his illustration work, is here. I like his style: to me, his work sits at the third corner of a triangle, the other two corners of which are Quentin Blake and funky old jazz album covers.

UPDATE: Eric himself added some useful info in the comments, which I'll append here: "Waters is a real mensch, very nice to work with. Susan Mitchell, the art director at FSG deserves much of the credit for how great it looks, but it was Waters who insisted on using the pencil sketch instead of the painting I did from it. It made all the difference. I recently did an interview on the Faceout Books blog about the process. I'm also flattered that you enjoyed the book that I wrote, A Book of Ages. It was fun to write, and Whitney Cookman, my art director at Random House, was nice enough to use my illustration on the cover as well.
My first book covers were the icons I did for the Chic Simple books published by Knopf in the '90s. Art directed by Robert Valentine."

6 comments:

ABG said...

intresting illustrations, n a niice write up.

Brian Busby said...

John Waters had an interesting exchange with Stephen Colbert last month:

SC: The cover is so calm.
JW: Well, sort of...
SC: Why not a retired porn star licking out a litter box?
JW: Because this looks like an 8-year-old neurotic boy drew it in three minutes and that seems more my speed these days.

They then both praise Eric Hanson's work, Waters adding: "Publishers hate white covers - did you know that? - because the get dirty quickly. So, that's why I wanted one - because almost no covers are white."

Pretty much the same reason why I'm not too keen on white covers... though I do like this one.

JRSM said...

That's a great exchange! Thank you for that. I know that the Penguin Great Ideas series was printed on white, uncoated stock because design head David Pearson wanted them to quickly scuff and mark and crumple, to give them an aged look as soon as they were read once.

Grump said...

My lady just got done reading John Waters' book, and we both really liked the cover. It's great how Hanson's illustration seems like a doodle that anyone could do, but when I think about it I know I could never pull that off.

Er-H said...

Thanks for the nice words. Waters is a real mensch, very nice to work with. Susan Mitchell, the art director at FSG deserves much of the credit for how great it looks, but it was Waters who insisted on using the pencil sketch instead of the painting I did from it. It made all the difference. I recently did an interview on the Faceout Books blog about the process.

I'm also flattered that you enjoyed the book that I wrote, A Book of Ages. It was fun to write, and Whitney Cookman, my art director at Random House, was nice enough to use my illustration on the cover as well.

My first book covers were the icons I did for the Chic Simple books published by Knopf in the '90s. Art directed by Robert Valentine.

I've always been a big fan of book cover design and plan to follow your blog. Cheers.

JRSM said...

Dear Eric, thanks for stopping by and for your interesting comments. I'll add them to the post to give people more of the background to the covers.