Friday, April 5, 2013

A Psychochronography in Blue (Part 3)

If a blue box making a strange Whooorp-ing sound appeared next to you right now, and turned out to be a time machine containing an eccentric alien with a British accent, what would you do?  You wouldn't need to go back in time to read the first two chapters in this exciting adventure because thanks to the wonders of the internet you could just click HERE for Part 1 and HERE for Part 2, allowing you to catch up in mere minutes, freeing you to see the end of the world (risky, but with tree people), the fall of Rome or the birth of your great-great-great grandchild with the Doctor.  When clicking those links do be careful of which wi-fi provider you chose though, you never can be too careful...

So yes, this is the third cover for The TARDIS Eruditorum, and the second by me.  If you've just read the previous two parts you'll note a distinct change in style for this one, and we'll get to why in just a moment.  Clicking the image will bring it up at half the final print resolution - even that is pretty large.  If you wish to order the book you can get details from Philip Sandifer's related site HERE, and I'll update with actual links for purchase later.

Incidentally, I don't know that I ever posted a photo of the actual book resulting from the last one.  Let's take care of that now.  It turned out darker than I was expecting, and the glossy cover reduces the "Old book" effect a little, bit otherwise it's very nice:

So the preamble to the new one isn't as involved as for the last one.  Philip emailed me and basically said "You still interested?" and I basically said "sure," and got to work on some ideas.

The Third Doctor was the first shown in colour, was trapped on Earth (specifically in the UK), worked for the military (more or less), had the largest supporting cast thus far, introduced the Master, was far more action oriented, and was at the dawn of the glam rock sensibility of the 70's (a subject covered heavily in the book); So I tried to aim for something that hit upon at least one or two of these elements in each of the cover roughs.  Some were very successful,  others less so.  My Brother pointed out that the one on the right of the first row is actually far more early 80's than 70's, and took to calling it the "Unexplained Mysteries cover"  as it looks just like the covers to a series of books focusing on UFO sightings, Ghosts and other unexplained phenomena that were around when we were kids (I run a lot of things past my Brother - he's an artist too and I value his insight).

The last cover on the right in the second row is the closest to my original vision of the cover, but as you already know we went with the one next door.

Funny thing is that this one, which is my far the most witty of the designs (with part of the British Isles forming the shadow of the Doctor's coat, shirt and face), was the only one that came about wholly by chance.  I was shuffling elements around for a very different idea, moved Britain out of the way of an element that never made any of the covers and went "Oh...  Yeah, that's cool!"  And just had to shuffle it around and make it negative space to the background rather than a different colour as it originally was.  the happy accident strikes again.

Philip liked the design of that cover, but much preferred the text layout from "The Incredible Shrinking Doctor" cover on the far left, so I set out to combine them, and also to come up with the rear cover for another rough draft.

The first go didn't work that well, though it's still recognizable as the final cover, if from a universe one slot over.  I felt it would be difficult to make out all the text with the original colour scheme and went with something more somber (the text on the back is from the second edition as a placeholder by the way).

Phil, quite rightly, wasn't to keen on the changes.  They still look pretty cool, but it's completely lost the Glam Rock Colour Explosion that drew him to that design in the first place.  Let's try it again...

Several variations of typeface and colour with the same layout.  Eventually it was agreed we'd go for the version in the lower left.  All through this Phil had been very keen on the dot pattern in the Doctor's profile, and at some point I thought I'd try it on the rear cover as well, and I also decided I liked the rounder typeface for Phil's name, even though it didn't fit with any other type elements - Making it distinct to compensate for it's relatively small size.

Around this time Philip asked me to also come up with a logo that he could place on other books, as the TARDIS style emblem from the previous volume wouldn't look so great on a book about Wonder Woman (for example).  A fair point, and so I set to sketching up some ideas.   Phil liked the idea of the EP being part of a scroll, which was the very first idea I'd laid down, and the monogram type thing in the lower right, which was the very last thing I'd done.

As you can see I never managed to make the Monogram work to my satisfaction, so I threw some other things into the mix.  Phil stuck with the scroll, and while I liked it I also had a great liking for one of the others for graphical reasons.  I even tried it on a mock-up of the cover, but eventually Phil decided he really liked the scroll, so we stuck with that for the final.

All the above elements came together for this final rough, here at the actual size I created it (if you enlarge it at least).You'll note that very little has changed between this and the final cover, even though I had to re-author many of the elements in order that they be scalable  up to the final print res.  Naturally tracing the outline of the map took a rather considerable amount of time, especially up in the Scottish parts, but the rest was fairly easy. You may also note that the TARDIS outline on the back has now changed - that's because I was using an outline of the wrong TARDIS - Pertwee's was much boxier than the more recent ones.

The only other difficulty was the dots that Phil had liked so much, and my notion to carry that through to the rear cover.  Since the underlying design is vector based rather than bitmap this was actually quite a task, and took quite a chunk of my computer's memory to handle.  As a result this cover was a lot more intensive than the previous one, and I'm very happy that I'll finally get to upgrade in the next few weeks.  Should make doing the next cover a breeze.

I won't show work in progress shots of the other revisions as mostly it was a case of adding the usual grime and creases and other minor tweaks to the design (the rear text, the spine width, the quote on the back and so on).

As with last time, here's the cover without any of the wear and tear (and using slightly different dimensions as this was from before the spine width was final).  Very colourful, very graphic, very 70's, and hopefully really nailing the Glam Rock sensibility crossed with action-man espionage look that Phil was likely hoping for.

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