Textbooking in Minnesota

St. Mary's Press
Cover illustration, 1995

In the summer of ’95 I had another catholic textbook project from St Mary’s Press who I had worked with the year before. Once again they flew me out confer with the design staff in their offices in Minnesota for the day. This was the only client in my twenty years in the business who felt a need to speak to me in person, but of course, this was back in the days before email was as widely used as it is today. I wanted to do something a bit different from the assignment the year before, so I brought along a sample of a newer ‘paint’ style that I’d been playing around with. They went for it on the chapter openers, but still wanted my scratchboards for various spots sprinkled throughout the book . I didn’t think the two styles meshed all that well, but I thought the designers did a real nice job of integrating the paintings into the design of the book, using extreme detail shots of some of them, and using colored backgrounds that I created for the purpose throughout the book.

The book is still available (and amazingly still in print) at Amazon (link here)

Book Project (I think)

St. Mary's Press

This is a rather mysterious set of illustrations. I can’t find an invoice to correspond with these, but my memory leads me to believe that this was for another book project for St Mary’s Press that I’d been doing work for during ’94-96. I’m guessing these were done somewhere late in ’94. I kind of like the bold woodcut look of these, much better looking than most of the scratchboards I was doing around this period. (of course, there is also the outside chance that these were done for the Christian Reformed Church, who I was also doing a lot of work for during this period)

Christian Justice

St. Mary's Press

In the summer of ’94 I had one of the biggest projects of my career so far. This was a catholic school textbook that would involve several color ‘chapter opener’ illustrations like the sample I’ve included here, plus a color cover spread across the front and back, plus several smaller black and white illustrations (something in the neighborhood of 30 or so), plus additional color inside pieces and a few large spreads. This project also involved a personal day long consultation and visit with the publisher in Minnesota, St Mary’s Press, which was a new thing for me. A plane ride and night’s stay in a local hotel, being shuttled around by the art director. Needless to say, this ‘hermit in training’ was a bit nervous. It wasn’t nearly as bad as it would be today, as I still got out of the office occasionally to deal with local clients at the time, but I was still not quite prepared for so much personal face time all at once.

Most of the ‘major illustrations’ were roughed out on site during the board meeting (gave me something to do, and I have always been much better at communicating visually rather than verbally), and a recurring motif was discussed (the ‘dove of peace’) which popped up in one way or another in each of the main illustrations. I’ve still got most of the original artwork for this project, surprisingly enough, although I think I may have sold one of them to the art director as a keepsake (probably the cover spread).