Mark Schultz Various Drawings Volume Five – The Creation of the Cover!

This summer, I will be publishing the fifth volume of Mark Schultz’s Various Drawings. Over the course of the last few weeks, book designer Randy Dahlk and artist Mark Schultz have been working on the cover design and art. While I have been included in the email correspondence between these two gentlemen, my input was been zilch. They know what they are doing and have an organic working relationship, especially after already having worked together on the first four volumes of Various Drawings and the Xenozoic collection. I had the good fortune to sit back and watch these guys correspond and pass email attachments back and forth. What I’ve done here is share some of the details, sketches and finished cover for Various Drawings Volume Five.

All artwork copyright © 2011 Mark Schultz.

This first sketch shows Mark’s idea for the jacket artwork. You’ll notice Mark has been zooming in closer to Jack and Hannah with each of the five successive Various Drawings collections. This is intentional. He planned this from the start. For the goal of this cover Mark said, “I wanted sort of a suspense pulp thing happening.”

Two hours after receiving Mark’s sketch, Randy responded with this idea for the cover. It’s not uncommon for Randy to shoot back with three or more cover ideas, but this time just the one came back, and I felt like he nailed it. Multiple cover variations were not needed or missed. Mark agreed. Randy kept with the established design style of the book series, a Russian Constructivism look, the cream color and futura font you will find on each, and the ongoing geometric shapes, rules and solid panes of color.

Twenty-three days later Mark sent us the finished art for the cover. I recognized immediately the style was reminiscent of Mark’s Conan book illustrations with the gritty look, mood, and feel to the piece. There’s a definite noir look to the work, which turned out to be responses Mark was hoping to hear. You will notice Mark wasn’t keen with the original positioning of Hannah in the initial sketch and remedied the art to his liking.

Randy had the final cover design wrapped up by the day after receiving the art from Mark. With both my and Mark’s approval on the initial design sketch, it was a matter of plugging in the art and adding the colors. It looks fast and easy, but is more work to wrap up than you might think. The above samples show the front cover, followed by the front and back cover with partial flaps.

Mark Schultz Various Drawings Volume Five will be available in July 2011. I’ll have full details on the book and sample art on the Flesk website by March 2011.



John Fleskes
Flesk Publications