Monday, October 31, 2011

Anatomy of a Logo: Neal Adams Monsters

Neal Adams Monsters was published by Vanguard Productions in 2003. The book featured his interpretations of the monsters Frankenstein, Werewolf and Count Dracula. The logos for the monsters were created in 1980. Around that time Neal was looking to expand into publishing. A black-and-white photocopy of the color cover mock-up (see below) had close-ups of the three monsters under their logos.

In mid-January 1980 I designed the Werewolf logo first. When the project became a rush job, I used typefaces for the Frankenstein and Count Dracula logos.

The first story in the book was Frankenstein. Back in 1980, I showed a typeface to Neal. He sketched some ideas on layout paper. He added beveled edges to the letters, and explored another design in perspective. We decided to use the typeface I had chosen plus modify the “F”.

I do not have the original art. The photocopy of it shows the size, which was drawn on bristol board. With a T-square, adjustable triangle and an assortment of ellipse guides, I drew the letters in outline. Neal drew the beveled edges and stippling effect. Someone added the frame. A photostat was made of the framed logo and pasted onto the spread.

Werewolf was the second story. I made a couple of sketches then enlarged them.

I tried alternate designs of the “E”, “F” and “R”.

Once I settled on the letter designs, I made a tight ink rendering. Another design of the “R” was not used.

Next, I made a tight pencil drawing of the logo.

With the pencil drawing over the inked one, you can see how I adjusted the spacing of the middle letters, and made minor changes to some of the letters. The vertical strokes of the “R” and “L” are aligned.

Then I made another tight pencil drawing of the logo.

And that was followed by a tight ink drawing.

I secured the ink drawing to the back of a sheet of one-ply, vellum bristol board. The logo was drawn in pencil. I used white gouache to make corrections.

That version was never used. Some time after I finished the logo, Neal decided to use a spread to introduce each character in the book. I put Were Wolf on one line and drew it in outline, then Neal added the special effects.

The Count Dracula logo followed the same steps as the Frankenstein logo. Neal added the ankh which helped to balance the logo on the spread.

Two typefaces were considered for the logo. The first one was Cortez; the second one, Hoffman, was from Art Nouveau Display Alphabets by Dan X. Solo.

In the back of the book Neal talks about some other projects. One of them was a Tobe Hooper project called Funhouse. That's my logo sketch. The book is available at Vanguard Productions. Have a happy Halloween!

Related Posts

(Photo post next Monday)

Monday, October 24, 2011

Street Scene: Titan Missile Museum

Entry door to the underground facility.

Below: The warhead and part of the missile;
no stencil lettering on the missile which was
in the movie Star Trek: First Contact.

Amusing video.

a Frankenstein, Werewolf and Count Dracula graphic novel.)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Lettering: Leary of the 90's, Part 2


Back at the studio I began work on the finished art. The last refinement was enlarged slightly on a photocopier, and then secured to the light box. I placed a sheet of two-ply bristol board over the photocopy and penciled the letters, swirls and ornaments. Using a variety of french curves and ellipse guides, I inked it with a Rapidograph technical pen. Corrections were done with white gouache.

The art was scanned in two parts and stitched together; the
alignment is slightly off in the middle near the top and bottom.

THURSDAY, MAY 17, 1990

I delivered the artwork in the afternoon.

FRIDAY, MAY 18, 1990

David called and said he wanted a few additional ornaments: three boxes, two running heads and three folios. The quotes from Leary would be inside the boxes. The swirling running head and folios would replace the standard ones used in the magazine. I delivered the art later that day.

MAY 1990

Later that month, I picked up copies of the Laughtrack from David. (I saw Leary at the 1976 San Diego Comic-Con. My recollection is foggy, but fortunately, memories of his attendance were recalled quite clearly here and here.)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Lettering: Leary of the 90's, Part 1

TUESDAY, MAY 15, 1990

David Vogler, of David Kaestle Inc., offered an assignment that I've always wanted to do: lettering in the style of the 1960s psychedelic poster era. The Kaestle studio handled the art direction and design of Laughtrack, a program distributed at comedy clubs. The topic of the May issue was the 1960s, and in particular, Timothy Leary. The title of the article was “Leary of the 90’s”; David wanted title to reflect the psychedelic poster era. He provided a photocopy of the Leary photograph.

Later that evening at home, I looked through my small collection of Bill Graham psychedelic concert postcards (reduced versions of the posters) and selected a Wes Wilson design.


The next morning at my studio I began sketching out the design. David supplied a rough layout, which I do not have in my file. The title and text was on the left page of the spread, and, on the right, was the photo of Leary and a caption. In addition to the title, I had to include the writer and photographer’s names.

I chose one of the thumbnail sketches and developed it further.

I enlarged the sketch and began refining it. There were two graphic elements that David wanted in the layout: the peace sign and a flower.

Peace sign in the corner.

Flower above Leary’s head.

On the third refinement, I positioned the peace sign over Leary’s head, like a halo; the flower was moved to the left page. Tracing paper was placed on top of the sketch, then the lettering and swirls were refined.

Separately, I worked on the writer and photographer credits.

In the afternoon, I showed the layout to David, who got a laugh out of the halo, and he approved it.

(Today, October 22, is Leary's birthday; Tomorrow: Part 2; related posts: PsychedelitypesPsychedelic Poster Postcards)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Anatomy of a Logo: Cougar Growl

My 40-year high school reunion happened this past weekend, but, I wasn't able to attend. The year 1971 was my senior year. From the time I was a freshman, I contributed illustrations and cartoons to the Cougar Growl, the school paper. Being an avid comic book fan and collector, I subscribed to a number of fanzines and prozines, and shared them with my friends, who included Mike Adams, a senior, and Tony Salmons, a freshman. When Jim Steranko launched his company Supergraphics, I ordered copies of the History of Comics and the Mike Hinge Experience, and subscribed to Comixscene. I really liked his Supergraphics logo.

During the summer I used the logo as a model to redo the Cougar Growl logo. I sketched out the logo and discovered a problem with one of the letters. The shadow, cast on the left, did not work with the letter "L"; the strokes were not visible. So, I changed the shadow to fall on the right. My uncle, Allen Chin, an advertising art director in New York, had given some of his old tools to me: compass and ruling pen set, french curves, 24-inch T-square, triangles, pica ruler and ellipse guides. Working on the kitchen table, I finished the lettering in a couple of days.

When school started I convinced the editor, Ken Williams, to use the new logo; below, detail of the logo, and its debut in the paper.

(Next post on Saturday: Timothy Leary)

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Lettering: Modern and Foreign, Part 6

Lettering: Modern and Foreign was the second book by Samuel Welo. His first book was The Studio Handbook (1927), and the third was Trade Mark and Monogram Suggestions (1937). I did not find any biographical information on him in a Google search. So I turned to the genealogy web sites and

Starting with I searched for “Samuel Welo” and found a “Sammie Welo” but he was a carpenter, according to his World War I draft card. The United States Federal censuses did not record a “Samuel Welo” until 1940. I tried alternate spellings of Welo, such as Weelo. Wela, Wello, Wilo, Wila, etc. but I did not find him. (Sometimes the census enumerators misspelled names, and the data entry people at have to transcribe, sometimes, hard-to-read handwriting.) Then I began to suspect that “Samuel” was not Welo’s first name, so, I changed the first name search to the letter “S” and looked for “S Welo” in the censuses. I got 108,195 hits.

Well, you have to start somewhere. The first name on the list was “Anna S. Welo”, so I skipped to the second name "George S. Welo" and clicked on the link to the 1930 census image (see detail, below). His name was on line 52; in the “Profession” column it read, “Commercial Artist”, and in the “Industry” column it read, “Studio”. I sensed I had found Samuel Welo.

I went back to the list and clicked on the link for “George S. Welo” in the 1920 census (see detail, below). His name was on line 21; in the “Profession” column it read, “Commercial Artist”, and in the “Industry” column it read, “Sign Painting”. Now I was certain I had found Samuel Welo.

I searched “George S. Welo” and found him in the 1900 and 1910 censuses and his World War I draft card. He was a Michigan native who lived in Kalamazoo.

At I searched “George S. Welo” and got unusable results. I searched “Samuel Welo” and got hits for two of his books. Then I narrowed the search to Kalamazoo, Michigan newspapers and searched “Welo”. Of the 29 hits, three were about him and one was related. With this information I was able to write the following profile.

George Sherburne “Samuel” Welo was born on July 9, 1895 in Covert, Michigan, according to his World War I draft card. In the 1900 U.S. Federal Census, he was the only child of Andrew and Vena. They lived on Third Street in Winthrop Village in Alfsborg, Minnesota. His father, a salesman, was born in Norway, and his mother was a Wisconsin native. In the 1910 census, the family of three lived in Kalamazoo, Michigan at 924 Denner Street. The Kalamazoo Gazette reported, on December 28, 1913, the upcoming New Year's event at the Majestic Theater, and included a sentence about Welo (see top of the second column).

As one of the added features New Year’s eve,
Sam Welo, the well known local artist, will give
away specimens of his art studies to the audience.

Sometime during his early life he gained the nicknames “Sam” and “Samuel”. In the June 27, 1914 Gazette “Society” column was this item.

Mrs. Emiline D. Fair, of 940 Denner street, went to Covert, Mich.,
yesterday where she will be united in marriage to Mr. George A.
Sherburn [sic] at their future home. Mrs. Fair is aged 62 and Mr.
Sherburn is 72 years old. Accompanying the bride were her son,
Frank and daughter [sic], Mrs. Vena Welo.

The last sentence should have read, “Accompanying the bride were her son, Frank and the groom’s daughter, Mrs. Vena Welo.” Vena was the second child of George and Jennie Sherburne, according to the 1870 U.S. Federal Census.

The Kalamazoo County Genealogical Records includes “Selected Kalamazoo Directories”. A 1915 listing was found for Welo and his father (see detail, below). He may have been a student at a nearby college or at the Detroit School of Lettering.

Welo was named after his maternal grandfather. On June 5, 1917, he signed his World War I draft card as “George Sherburne Welo”. The card showed his address as “1325 Alamo Avenue”, and his occupation as “Enamel Sign Brusher” at the “Michigan Enameling Works, Kalamazoo, Michigan”. (A bit of information about the company is here.) He was married and had one child.

On the back of the card was a description of him, “tall, slender, with dark brown eyes and light brown hair”. The Gazette still referred to him as Sam and Samuel in the February 5, 1918 article, “Sam Welo Wins Auto Contest”.

Artistic Booklet Captures First Prize—
Nearly Half Hundred Entries

To Samuel Welo, 1325 Alamo avenue,
fell first honors in The Gazette’s automobile
contest, which closed at noon today.
Welo was one of 47 contestants.

Welo’s contribution consisted of a booklet
containing pen drawings of all the
automobile dealers in Kalamazoo,
their trade marks and the names
and features of the cars offered for sale
by them. Welo’s effort was thorough,
neat and contained many clever ideas….

…The two winning first and second place
will be given a season pass each
while the remaining 20 will be given
two tickets each.

Almost three weeks later his family suffered a tragic loss. On February 25, the Gazette published this item.

Baby Welo
Victor Platt Welo, aged one month,
son of Mr. and Mrs. George S. Welo,
1325 Alamo avenue, died at 8 o’clock
Sunday morning. A short prayer service
will be conducted at the home at 4 o’clock
this afternoon by Rev. Foster Fuller.
The body will be taken Tuesday morning
to Covert for burial.
[Covert is about 30 miles/48 kilometers
west of Kalamazoo.]

The 1920 census recorded Welo and his family in Benton Harbor, Michigan at 81 Ninth Street. His wife was named Lola and their daughter was named after his mother. He was a commercial artist in the sign painting business. In 1927 his book The Studio Handbook was published, and he used his nickname Samuel. The date of his move to Detroit, Michigan is not known.

In the 1930 census, the Welos lived in Detroit at 8525 Wisconsin. He worked in a commercial art studio, which was his studio. The same address appeared on page 59 of Lettering; he had an advertising art partnership, McMullen-Welo. And on page 69, he featured his own studio, “Samuel Welo Studios, 8525 Wisconsin Avenue, Detroit”. According to the census he married when he was 19 years old. His second book Lettering: Modern and Foreign was published in 1930. His parents passed away in Kalamazoo in 1935. (Their names can be viewed at the Kalamazoo County Government website. Enter “welo” in the bottom search box, “All Names or Type”.) Trade Mark and Monogram Suggestions was published in 1937.

The 1940 census recorded him at 8544 Cloverlawn Avenue in Detroit, where he was a commercial artist with a private business. The December 27, 1941 issue of Stamps noted the Krist-Port airport dedication in Farmington, Michigan, on October 12; the postmark was designed by Sam Welo. A World War II draft card for him has not been found; he may have passed away before the draft or he did not register or his card was lost. In 1946 Lettering: Modern and Foreign was reissued as Practical Lettering: Modern and Foreign. The Studio Handbook was revised and published as Studio Handbook Lettering in 1948; another edition appeared in 1960. It’s not known if he was involved with the revised editions. His wife passed away in Michigan in January 1966, according to the Social Security Death Index. What became of Welo is a mystery, but I believe there was an obituary in a Michigan newspaper.
(Updated September 18, 2012; (Parts 1234 and 5next post on Monday, Anatomy of a Logo: Cougar Growl)