February 26, 2009

Ghost Factory Magazine (Roughs)

My friend David Peak has commissioned me to create a cover illustration for his annual literary magaszine, "Ghost Factory." He has given me free reign, and a lot of lead time, so I have decided to document the process in real time. The following is a narrated tour of my first round sketches.

In general, these sketches have come from my initial reaction to the title of Mr. Peak's publication ( which I find to be very evocative, ) and the aesthetic that I have seen evidence of in his first two covers. When the cover image is paired the phrase "Ghost Factory," the title of the magazine will in a sense become the title of the painting, and the image will be seen with whatever connotations that title suggests.   The drawings below are not so much illustrations of what I think "Ghost Factory" means, but images whose impact is enhanced and slightly augmented by being paired with this phrase.

Keep in mind that the following images are just sketches. I have simply colored some drawings on photoshop. The cover, whatever we decide to go with, will be much more carfully drawn and rendered.

Enough gibber gabber. here goes

1: Ghost City

A rendering of a city as scene from above and reduced to an almost abstract geometric pattern. In this scale it might be hard to see, but there is room in a piece like this to create some interesting little details amid all the seeming conformity of the urban grid.

2: Ghost City II

A variation on the previous image, this time showing the city at an angle to create a little more sense of depth. ( again, pay no attention to the roughness of the lines here. All of that will be ironed out in the execution stage.)

3: The Writer's Workshop

This is a variation on one of the motifs you may have seen on my website, that of the "imagined interior." In this interior, I am imagining a hypothetical author's writing room. The walls are made of rough wood paneling, and crowded with reference material. The floor is littered with paper. Something nice in the idea of the writer making ghosts.

4: The Heap

I am always drawn to the piles of discarded furniture that suddenly appear on the sidewalks of my neighborhood. Their is something evocative about these personal objects being suddenly abandoned, and also an element of surrealism in seeing such everyday objects out of their usual context.

5: The Shipwreck Graveyard

Here, an image I have been batting around and would love to bring to a greater state of completion: a bermuda-triangle-esque, shipwreck graveyard. This isn't necessarily the layout I would choose for this image. And, as with all the images, there is a lot I would do to bring more detail and interest to this piece.

6: The Factory

The most literal response to the title of the magazine: an arial view of a factory and parking lot.

7: The Wood Lot

And finally, an image I seem to return to again and again. I thought I would throw this one in as a signifier for a whole lot of images I have been toying with surrounding my interest in the great depression.

That's all for now. . .
Tune in next time when I take one of these through the development process!


benhem said...

Hey, that first image is fantastic. I would be really interested in using that aesthetic to make a random-city-generator. I'd post a link back to here. Would that be okay?

Design Squish said...

Indeed great depression is a good topic right now.
Love the illustration of the firewood/tree/logs.

davidpeak said...

Anyone have any thoughts about covers in general? Should they somehow serve to complete the purpose of the journal? Or should they serve as something that, for whatever reason, lures a reader in? Is it possible to do both?

The mission of Ghost Factory is to explore issues of cultural identity in the united states. How do you see these images relating to that?

I'm really curious.

jnkw said...

The optical effect of the first sketch certainly plays with identity. I don't know about cultural identity, but I suppose that's what the content of the magazine should provide, like a Williams-Sonoma gift basket.

More to the point, the mission of the magazine is not a given. It has to be proven and perhaps argued in each issue. But just because the cover is the first thing encountered, I don't think it has to be a visualized thesis statement.

And what about the evolving cultural identity of the magazine itself, now three paper piles old?
What if the point was directly made early on and now it is time for a new and more complex point to be stacked like so much mind lumber.

Hmm, the firewood sketch is also nice.

davidpeak said...

I love the idea of a magazine about cultural identity re-shifting its own identity as it progresses from issue to issue. That's really wonderful.

I see the image of the logs working on the back cover, labor done, product made.