Crypto Riffs

When creating art for a book or magazine cover, I usually hit the mark fairly quickly after going through some initial rough passes, i.e.  getting through  the shit before the brainstorm.

Every once in awhile I think I’ve struck gold,  only to put aside the art for 24 hours and then  return to find something ain’t right.

Back to Square One.

Rarer still is when I have a series of variations –  like them all  and can’t decide which is best. That’s where I was today working on the cover for a forthcoming “cryptlipo” themed issue of LE SCAT NOIR.

I wound up with three designs:

Each spoke to me —albeit  in different languages. (BTW, the word is a bastardized marriage between crypto and Oulipo)

To reach this point had taken two and a half days. When I sat down to do the cover  I didn’t have the photograph. Instead, I was focused on the type in Adobe Illustrator.

I liked the concept of the characters hiding behind the theme, a game of hide and seek. This would be quite nice if I was only going to  use typography. Combined with an image, however, it would probably be lost to the viewer. But then I realized that was OK because it  was still there and captured the theme.

Sure enough, after I extruded and warped cryptlipo, “hidden” was barely visible. 🙂

Once I had the photo of the man at his typewriter, colorized and tweaked it, it was then a matter of coloring the type.

I placed each image beneath the masthead for comparison.

Alas, all three looked pretty good.


FINALLY… I made a decision.(I had to, I’m the editor).

I chose the one at bottom here.because the typography seemed integrated with the photo as opposed to looking slapped on.   The type  in the other  two are  more dynamic, but overallI think this one looks best.

What do you think?


My new collection THREE PLUS THREE MAKES SEVEN: Potential Literature for Those Who Flunked Math will be out next month from J.V. Steinholt’s Blazing Chapbooks in Paris. Don’t fret, it will be available on Amazon in North America and Europe and the texts are all in English, so  no need to hire an expensive translator with an attitude.

It’s a slender volume, too, so you can take it on the subway, slip it in your purse or beach bag, no fuss no mess. It’s also squeaky clean, so you don’t have to hide it under the bed, you can proudly display it on your coffee table and impress your guests.

I don’t know what the cover price is yet, but whatever it is it’ll be worth it. Trust me.



Don’t miss the July issue of LE SCAT NOIR, it’s packed with  explosive and sublime divertissements and features new translations of ALFRED JARRY, plus a star-studded cast of artists and writers.

Best of all, the issue is FREE to read and download at this LINK.

Enjoy it while you can.