Friday, January 15, 2016

book cover: city of weird

Forest Avenue Press' next short story anthology, City of Weird, is a collection of thirty weird fantastical stories, all set in Portland, Oregon.

I've been obsessing over the cover for this one. Not only is City of Weird a book I edited, but I wanted the cover to be reminiscent of something I love, those old pulp magazines like Amazing Stories and Weird Tales.

What would have been incredibly fun would have been to tinker around with some of those old covers and create the illustration from that, but for something professional, you can't just alter undersized or copyrighted material (the above little images are from Wikimedia Commons), and I, of course, wanted something all my own, so I decided to build it.

I thought it would be fun to show off just how primitive an image like this starts out. I began by building the bridge out of shapes in Illustrator.

Color was something I dealt with later. I knew I'd want something more atmospheric than grays and browns, but those drab colors made it easy to keep the pieces straight.

Once the bridge and background were laid out, I started building the octopus. Early steps in tentacle-making:

Again, willy-nilly on the colors.

Early draft welcome sign concept I scrapped. Then more tentacles.

Then from Illustrator to Paint Shop Pro to start the shading process.

And finally textured and halftoned:

City of Weird comes out October 11, 2016, including stories by Stevan Allred, Jonah Barrett, Doug Chase, Sean Davis, Susan DeFreitas, Rene Denfeld, Dan DeWeese, Art Edwards, Stefanie Freele, Jonathan Hill, Justin Hocking, Jeff Johnson, Leigh Anne Kranz, Kirsten Larson, B. Frayn Masters, Kevin Meyer, Karen Munro, Linda Rand, Brian Reid, Bradley K. Rosen, Nicole Rosevear, Mark Russell, Kevin Sampsell, Jason Squamata, Andrew Stark, Adam Strong, Suzy Vitello, Leslie What, Brigitte Winter, and Leni Zumas. More info on the book and Forest Avenue Press is here.


  1. I love this so much, G. You really pulled it off - brilliantly! : )

  2. The cover just couldn't be better. Can't wait to read the book!

  3. Great, great cover. Loved seeing the building, honing and development of image and color. Super job!

  4. I just read your piece in "Spent," and I was blown away! Beautiful and lovely and so warm and honest. Yeah, I know I'm a little behind the times . . . just keep writing and editing, and eventually, I'll get around to enjoying it all. You Rock!

  5. Oh, thank you all! And, Laurie, glad you enjoyed Shopping with Clowns. :)

  6. What a wonderfully fun cover! I love the incorporation of the bridge with the octopus. Can't wait to read the book.