On a whim last year, I decided to list all the books I have created over the course of my freelance career. Below is a link to a pdf file which contains a list of the books I designed for public consumption–so items like personal journals, diaries, and the books I created before college are not included.
To accurately place the books on the above time-line, I compiled information–titles and authors, dates of publication, number of pages, publisher, print run, media and materials, my role in the production of the book (designer/illustrator/both), book dimensions–and recorded my findings on an excel spread sheet which was then saved as a pdf file. Unfortunately, the cover work for books by Steve Crockett did not make this list.
In the Fall of 1974, as the result of an overseas program at Beloit College, I spent my Field Term in London. Although I dabbled in calligraphy before, I officially count my exposure to “The Book Arts” in London as the beginning of my interest in calligraphy as it pertains to books.
“The Death of Rameer, the River Nymph,” was the fantasy-based book I wrote and created in London. This time, I integrated illustration with text on the pages of a pre-bound blank book. I wrote the text in calligraphy and decorated the borders of the pages like it was an illuminated manuscript.
Several years later, I borrowed my London book idea and designed fanciful borders and headings for TSR Publications’ “The World of Greyhawk” maps and accompanying guidebook. Periodically, throughout my career, I seem to return to designing and illustrating books and projects related to Role-playing Games.
Another fruitful period for creating books coincides with the four months I spent in Italy through the University of Georgia Studies Abroad Program. In the small mountain town of Corona, I got exposed to paper-making, marbeling, book-binding, and Italian styles of calligraphy. Below is a small collaborative book called, “Hotel Masters of Northern Italy,” a spoof of an art “show” featuring the art that can be found in Italian hotels.
Resulting from attending this overseas art program, I was accepted as a graduate student in Design at Indiana University, School of Fine Arts. In addition to my graduate studies, I continued to perfect my skills in paper-making, photography, anatomical drawing, and also worked in town with a professional book binder.
My interest in other historical styles of calligraphy piqued. After comparing and contrasting different styles of Islamic Calligraphy, I produced “A Visual Approach to Islamic Calligraphy.” For the presentation of the material, I used what I learned about the grid system and devised a sophisticated two-column / three-column fluid layout. I bound the finished book with Arabic marbled paper.
At Indiana University, my abiding interest and appreciation for letters turned towards typography. Their Graphics Department had an old moveable-type letter press (think Gutenburg). Using it, I produced a limited-edition book which I bound myself.
My graduate research focused on the history of type. As a part of my graduate degree, I compared the historical time-lines between calligraphy and typography and discovered there is, indeed, a relationship between the two disciplines influencing each other. I turned my research paper into a limited edition, spiral-bound book, “Type and Calligraphy: A Brief Survey of their Relationship.”
As my final graduate project, I researched how different type designers throughout history approached their craft, and created my first typeface design:Facet. I was graduated from IU on the day of the leap year, 1987. With an MFA, tucked under my belt, I settled in Connecticut. I did not venture into book design until I got hired by the ad agency, Autograph, in 1989.
Shortly thereafter, I moved to North Carolina. During the mid- to late- nineties, I designed a steady stream of books for my husband and his collaborators. The book subjects were non-usual, out of the ordinary, esoteric and alternative.
Today, I continue my journey designing book interiors and covers, creating book illustrations, and producing beautiful, unique specially lettered book titles.
After all, books are my passion.