Designing a book of this magnitude required me to get into a very dark head space. You can’t simply sit down and start creating something so macabre without succumbing to the very dark things in yourself.
I won’t lie. Designing the manual was a joy but was also depressing at the same time. There were times where after designing a few pages, I would have to take a break and get some fresh air. Picture this, you’re at your designer desk creating layout after layout. Each layout is comprised of distressed imagery, broken bodies, bloodied body parts, undead eating people…..well you get the picture. It’s the apocalypse and the journal needed to reflect that.
To harness this dark mood, I would simply turn on my iTunes playlist and listen to the likes of Lamb Of God, Slayer, Tool, and Nine Inch Nails. Trust me, after hours of this stuff, you would turn into a serial killer. Errrr……..
I also spent a lot of time researching movies and books that would help get the creative juice going. Several films that left indelible memories for me were the likes of Red Dragon, The Dark Knight, Evil Dead 2: Army of Darkness and, of course, Se7en. Some are cheesy, I know, but the art direction and the overall sinister cadence worked. I think what resonated with me most was the darkness these films portrayed. Incidently, there were movie props that I could draw inspiration from; i.e. books!
There was a documentary on Heath Ledger’s prep work for his role as the Joker in The Dark Knight. It appears he had constructed a book to get into character. A sort of displaced method acting…..if you will, on how to be the Clown King Of Crime. Sad, but what I took away from it was the honesty of self downfall. Here is an example of the how he cobbled together pieces of paper, news paper clippings and other random artwork to get into character.
Heath Ledger’s Joker Diary
As you can see, there is definitely a lot to be studied in this clip. The way the journal is constructed and what it represents in Heath’s character was memorable.
Evil Dead 2 ( 2013) Book of The Dead
Another great inspiration was H.P Lovecraft’s Necronomicon. A sinister grimoire of witchcraft surrounding the Cthulu occult. There is plenty of literature about the work. I won’t bore you with it. But there was this great feature on it for the 2013 remake of Evil Dead 2. Incidentally, that movie was initially going to be called “Book of The Dead“. Take a look at this video and note the scribbles in each page. Moreover, love the texture work!
Se7en ( 1995)
Honestly, I wouldn’t be able to talk about our book production without citing the grand daddy of awesome book craft in the film “Se7en”. The trailer was all I was able to find online until I happened upon this great piece on how the John Doe books were crafted. There is something about churning pages like a mad man. The work was so meticulous and just awe inspiring to me. They even mention the art of photocopying over and over again paper to give it that worn in look.
Check it out here:
“The Notebooks” featurette, with commentary by designers Clive Piercy and John Sabel
We learned a lot from this discovery. More to come!