Buy it, Collect it, Trade it? Uh, not quite.

“Oh, jumbo sports cards!” 

That was my response as I listened to the pitch for a kids’ book featuring profiles of current NFL stars — stats and story on the left-hand page facing a big action photo on the right.  

I knew the medium, having designed baseball cards for Topps back in the day. But this was different — card fronts and backs don’t have to relate closely; book spreads do. Dismissing static borders to unite the pages, I went for a more dynamic, integrated look that offered lots of visual variety.

The result: the 48-page, 8.5´´ x 11´´  Football Superstars 2017 for Scholastic.

Put me in, Coach! If you need a little more spark on your team. I’ve got energy, experience, and a good head for the game. And I won’t break your salary cap.

They Lied. The True Story.

I thought I might share a recent project: some quick comps I produced recently with a book packaging partner for a proposal. A glimmer of our prodigious collaboration follows: 

Book Packager: The concept: They Lied! The Truth About Famous Liars — a middle-grade book profiling 30 liars, their scams, and why they got caught. 

Tom Carling: Got it. A quick thought for the cover: Polygraph "typography" spelling out the title? 

BP: Ooh, yeah.

BP: Hmmmm, not sure we nailed it. Too esoteric. It's got to hit in the gut.

TC:  If you want gut-punching, let's try the cover as a tabloid front page.

BP: OK, something memorable for a photo. Someone covering his face in shame. 

TC: I'm thinking no pic, BIG TYPE!

BP:  If you can do it with all text, great. I'm all eyes. 

BP: Nice going! Now for the interior.  

TC: Let’s stick with newspaper concept for the spreads, yes? 

BP: Absolutely. I think one straight-up and one hardcore tabloid.

BP:  Good stuff! I like them. That’s a wrap! Fingers crossed.

Despite VERY enthusiastic initial receptions, the proposal was ultimately orphaned in a publisher’s reorganization. But hey, if this might be a good fit for your house, we’re all ears — we’d love to make this book with you. And that’s the truth.

Art and Science Blend Beautifully to Inspire and Inform Young Readers

Jenni Desmond’s second narrative nonfiction effort is a lyrical and richly illustrated introduction to the life and science of polar bears. For me, her spare illustration style, influenced by Japanese woodblock, is a perfect compliment to the subject and setting. In blending fantasy with reality, the book succeeds in enchanting and informing in equal measure — just the right balance for nonfiction aimed at this age group, 4- to 8-year-olds.

“I aim to make my work entertaining, beautiful and funny. I love hidden depth both visually and narratively. I believe that picture books are important for nurturing young imaginations.  I don’t think picture books should be limited to children though, and I hope mine will also appeal to older people with youthful minds.” —Jenni Desmond


Hardcover: 48 pages • Publisher: Enchanted Lion Books (November 15, 2016) 
Art © Jenni Desmond