Greatest Misses

A random collection of rough sketches for book cover designs that were not used, along with variations on otherwise approved and printed designs from published books. This batch was taken from projects that I've worked on over the last five years of freelancing. A number of the approved and printed versions of final designs can be found elsewhere on this site.

You can get to this collection by clicking here, or click on image below to scroll through the rest.


Author Shoots Down Jacket Design

Seeing this Conan O'Brien video reminded me of one of my favorite author encounters. I was at Villard Books at the time and we were publishing the first volume in Hunter's "Letters" series. The designs wound up being fairly straightforward as Hunter wanted a severe departure from the rowdier look of his fiction packaging and to play it straight with the photos he had in mind. I would also design the covers for the next several books in the series once David Rosenthal, the Villard publisher at the time, and Hunter had moved over to Simon and Schuster. Books, and jackets, get it around 2:00.

pPatterns Continued

I recently purchased a deluxe version of the app FatTag(FatTagKatsu). It has a number of new features including more options for brushes, colors and backgrounds, as well as control over the dripping action. The last item mentioned is great as you now have the option of turning off the drip entirely. The dripping action now reacts in real-time to gravity, so the drips will curve if you rotate the phone as the drips are flowing. When drawing with the dripping action off, this has to be my favorite brush-drawing app to date. The touch/pressure response seems to be more fluid than anything else I've used. The resolution appears to be the same for now. It would be great if, at some future point, one could do this all on an ipad in print level resolution.

Below are a couple of patterns recently created in FatTagKatsu, and then run through Kaleido. 


on 2010-06-03 14:43 by Dan

Some new books of patterns have been put up at Issuu, and some more will be on the way when I get a chance to put them together.  

Open publication


on 2010-06-03 14:41 by Dan

The link to my pattern books at Issuu. Dan's books at Issuu 

Symmetry and Animation

Real time animation is one of the the more fascinating features in some of the art/drawing apps I've found. Below you'll see a sample that starts with something generated in iPocketDraw, a nice little vector drawing app, that was then run though one of the apps that has a real-time animated play feature to it; Kaleido.

Kaleido divides, mirrors, and quarters images in a manner similar to a basic kaleidoscope and gives you a control for focal depth, which adds endless possibilities to further distort the image. Just hit 'play' to start and stop the animation, and then hit 'save' when you have imagery you like. Given the current iphone resolution issues, working with anything too photographic tended to create pretty murky imagery. I went in the opposite direction and tried it with more basic line art, and stumbled onto a great pattern maker. By going back and using already saved Kaleido pieces, you can create even more variations in the patterns, as well as patterns of ever increasing detail. This pattern making process should translate to the ipad nicely, and be able to truly generate ready-for-print patterns, ornaments and backgrounds.

Given the volume of samples involved, I've taking some of the better patterns and turned them into booklets, a number of which are up at Issuu. Most of these booklets involve art originally generated in FatTag. FatTag, which is meant to simulate dripping markers or spray paint found in graffiti, is another app which uses animation as the drips continue away from your "ink" marks in one direction or the other. You can control the dripping for now by capturing screen grabs as you go. Below are several of the booklets, you can look at more if you wish by clicking through the embed (and zoom) to the Issuu website, and then clicking the author button in the corner. I have seven up at the moment, and have another handful or so to assemble. The actual creation process on the iphone of these patterns is extremely quick, and good animated fun.

FX Photo Studio

Below is a photo originally shot using the 5.0 Megapixel App on the iphone, and more recently uploaded into FX Photo Studio where I applied a rusted metal filter. This app has 125 filters, has layering capabilities, shoots and lets you import, and can save at higher resolutions. Not bad for a buck.


Mash Apps

Probably the most fun I've had rummaging through and playing with iphone apps is when I create something in one app, than run that saved image back through the same app or other apps. The more times, the merrier. So here is a Heat Pad screen grab from an earlier post, run through a filter of a toy camera app from Japan. It's called Camera Tan, and it has 32 filters, and can shoot and save at some nice, high resolutions. I like it for no other reason than the resolutions it can save at, although I really like several of its filters.

Gold Dust

Okay, so this is reaching but one can see where you could pull some nice textured backgrounds from screen grabs off of this app. It has wonderful animation, and is temporarily entrancing as entertainment, but it's really tough to draw with in any meaningful way. I'll spare you Sand Art which was a disappointment, despite the promise.


Stylus Pens and Your iPhone

Finally bought several stylus pens designed for touch screens. What follows are samples created as I bounced around several drawing apps. You can get really nice fluid curves with these pens. Unfortunately, most of the iphone apps are saving at a resolution that doesn't capture all of the info that is there on the screen. The ipad will be a different story, as the resolution should go up to print-like resolution.

First up is a drawing started in Vellum, and then painted on in Brushes. Any fine drawing in any of the samples from this post was done using a stylus pen.


Next are two examples done in VELLUM attempting to show how nicely curves are rendered, despite the resolution. These look great on the iphone screen from within the app.

These last ones were done in Ink Dabbler, and again show the fidelity and accuracy you can get using the pen in certain ways. Not sure if the stylus pens work for gestural drawing, in the way that a fingertip might, but worth having.


Gravity and Your iPhone

One the most interesting features of smart phones is the accelerometer inside. Rather than attempt to explain how it works(see Wiki), I'll focus on what it could mean for the iphone as a design toy/tool. A graphic designer can now throw in gravity as a possible tool within even simple digital design environments. Add to that the touch interface, and the fidelity of the rendering, and that the rendering is immediate and happens in real time. Go try and do this type of manipulation in Photoshop so quickly and easily.

One interesting App is Sketchmania, where you can draw simple objects, lines, stick figures, etc. that you then can move around the screen using gravity as you rotate the device around. This uses the accelerometer, but in a very basic 2D way. Nothing to admire on the visuals front, but a hint at what could be possible within a better drawing program. Try the free version with ads, it's worth a doodle or two.

It's with Marbling, that the 3D wonder of the accelerometer comes into its glory. This is more widely known for creating funhouse effects on snapshots of one's friends and loved ones.

These were BuroDestruct dwgs that were filtered in Marbling. Surprisingly smooth rendering, even without the resolution for now. Rendering with gravity in 3D now is what photographic lense distortion must have been like when it was first developed. Very similar results in a way, although the accelerometer based rendering promises to be much more. Not to be abused, but it will be there for use. 

Next up are a few iphone shots that were also run through Marbling. 

How about drawing with heat in real time? Heat Pad handles that. I just started to play with this, it's probably more toy than tool for designing but with a lot of features and color schemes available, and again with really nice rendering.

One more mention is Pollock, which is an 2D ink splat doodle App. Nice and organic, although very bitmapped for now.