Sunday, May 27, 2012

Under Cover: Harlan Ellison

The Baronet Uniform Library of Harlan Ellison's Works was a mass-market paperback series to be published in Spring 1980 by Baronet Publishing under its Baronet Books imprint. Baronet was the original publisher of Will Eisner’s A Contract with God, and the Byron Preiss produced books, The Illustrated Roger Zelazny, The Illustrated Harlan Ellison and Alfred Bester’s The Stars My Destination. Cover dummies were made of the first two volumes, The Glass Teat and Paingod and Other Delusions. The fonts ITC Machine and Helvetica Black were used on the dummies. 

I was the designer of the Ellison series. The publisher was Norman Goldfind, who was, at one time, the publisher at Pyramid Books, which published eleven Ellison books in a uniform series designed and illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon. The Baronet edition would reuse the Dillons artwork. If you see the Paingod original art hanging on someone’s wall, please call the FBI because it was stolen from the Baronet office.

I hand-lettered “Harlan Ellison” in a stylized script. I don’t have the sketches but you can see the some of the penciling on the bristol board. At the inking stage, the outline of the letters and shadows were the same weight. I stopped, looked at the outline and thought the weight should be different. I considered painting over the shadow outline but the surface would be uneven and might affect the inking. So, I decided to start over. All of the inking was done with Rapidograph pens and an assortment of ellipse templates, a French curve and a flexible curve. White gouache was used for corrections.

The ITC Benguiat font family was used on the cover and spine. For the front cover title I used Fat Face. The pricing information was set in the Futura Condensed family.

Baronet went out of business before the books were published. Harlan Jay Ellison was born May 27, 1934.

Update: Harlan Ellison announced, on Art Deco Dining Pavilion, that Leo Dillon passed away on Saturday, May 26.

(New post on Monday: Central Substation)