So, I’m continuing the cover process for the Beta Testing the Apocalypse cover. Previous parts: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. In the last post, I was showing the evolution of the color. This time I’m focusing on the type design.
This was the first iteration. I wanted to typographically mirror the ‘beta testing’ concept by having some kind of wireframe version of the type present… it was a little too much.
I still wanted they type to be somehow active… but not quite as hyperactive as here.
This is pretty close to what I settled on. The drawing had so much going on in it, that I decided the type needed to be more subtle and clean… so the two elements won’t compete with each other.
The next task was color. I started out by blocking out areas that were closer to the viewer… more in focus.
I ended up subdividing the line art into three ‘layers’ apparent below. Initially I wanted a limited 2-3 color palette… but it quickly became obvious that the detail demanded something else…
I eventually settled on this general color palette… but it still needed more.
This is how the final color scheme ended up.
If you’re just joining us, check out parts 1, 2, 3.
It took me a while to work up the nerve to ink this thing. Normally I would’ve inked most of the building with rules & rapidographs. But I decided against it… Since everything was so rigidly planned out, I wanted to have a more organic line in the finishing process. Click on the image to super-size.
A few quick tests of the pencils with type & color.
After the cover concept was approved it was time to pencil… this was the most complicated drawing I’ve done in a long time… maybe since architecture school? Click on the image for full-sized glory.
I’ll be at CAKE in Chicago this weekend. I’ll be there running the Uncivilized Books table and signing Beta Testing the Apocalypse at the Fantagraphics table. Uncivilized Books is debuting four (4) (!!) books at the show:
We’ll also have copies of our recent releases by Michael DeForge and Dash Shaw, as well as the Eisner nominated Post York!!
I will also be showing previews of my upcoming Trans Terra and… Twin Cities Noir where I have an all new 10 page comic (more on that later). It’s going to be an intense weekend! See you all there!
Found this while doing some cleaning. A trial comic done with different tools to see how well it’ll shrink. I think it’s from around the time I made Trans Atlantis.
An amazing review of Beta Testing the Apocalypse went live recently on Rob Clough’s HighLow blog. Rob really gets into it. Here are a couple of excerpts (warning there are some spoilers here!):
Kaczynski tops himself with “Million Year Boom”, about a brand expert who winds up working for a bizarre “green” company, trying to come up with a corporate logo as it prepares to go public. This is, an insane stew of paranoia, devolution, corporate messiahs, and global capitalism fused with a tribal, scatological mindset. The final panel, where the protagonist’s blood spewing across a door gives him the inspiration for the logo, is a stunning moment.
Kaczynski really has his finger on the collective neuroses of the new millennium. A recurring theme in this book is how Kaczynski taps into how various of our senses have been warped through modern living. In “Noise: A History”, Kaczynski boils down the history of the world in terms of random events and how many decibels they measured out to, from the big bang to the falling of rustling leaves. He links past to present through the use of that measure of sound, providing an interesting shorthand for understanding the world in its greatest, worst and most indifferent moments.
Read the whole review here.
A new interview, this time with the Bill Baker at Morton Report. We get into one of my favorite topics: architecture. Here’s a taste:
What prompted your decision to become a creator of comics, a builder of stories, if you will, rather than a creator of buildings?
I think there are a lot of similarities. As I mentioned, the part of architecture that really spoke to me was “paper architecture.” People like Lebbeus Woods, Le Corbusier, and Étienne-Louis Boullée used drawings to create buildings based on specific ideas. Some are real proposals, some are real but probably unbuildable, and some are completely impossible… they all work as concrete representations of ideas about humans, the world and the cosmos.
Chris Ware, among others, has proposed that comics are a way of thinking. He is also one of the few cartoonists that has taken that idea to its limits. That is analogous to architecture, I think. I also find it interesting that Chris Ware is very interested in architecture.
What do you get from creating comics, generally, and what did you get from creating Beta Testing the Apocalypse?
This is very difficult to answer. This is my medium and much of my creative output is bound up with it. At some point in your life, you grow into the medium that works the way you think. I think comics are that for me. But it works both ways, the more comics you make the more you think in those terms…
Read the rest here.
Another nice review of Beta Testing The Apocalypse come in. This time it’s at Bookslut:
But what else are these bewildered men and women supposed to do but struggle to find appropriate metaphors? If Beta Testing is an instruction manual, it’s not one they can read. Those with jobs don’t know what those jobs entail. Those with apartments notice too late everything’s made of papier-mâché. The book quotes Freud’s axiom that anatomy is destiny — but DNA is untrustworthy, too. Subjectivities shift. Cities and their inhabitants collapse into one, if you’re lucky, or overwrite your existence altogether if not. Ballard wrote that the triple pillars of science fiction are time, space, and identity. Here it’s impossible to tell where one ends and another begins.
Is this the future? Does it have to be? The curse of the man in Kaczynski’s “10000 Years” is to dream he is a Martian. “I don’t have the right constitution for this world,” he thinks. “I’m on the wrong planet.” But for us, reading his story, his curse is a useful genetic mutation. Science fiction is notoriously unreliable when it comes to predicting Saturn dreams, laser beams, and 21st century sex machines. It’s fantastic, however, at taking our present reality and making it strange again. Beta Testing The Apocalypse makes us Martians to better let us see what’s happening all around us.
Read it and witness the disquieting Gernsback of Now.
The whole review can be found here.