I've been fortunate to have worked with several authors and publishers over the years for book cover design that includes Insect Lab. Starting in 2007 with Tachyon Publications' short story anthology "The New Weird"; compiled by Jeff Vandermeer. Vandermeer went on to create The Steampunk Bible, of which Insect Lab is featured, and has recently had the first book if his Southern Reach Trilogy adapted into a feature film for release in 2018.
In 2010 Hachette Publishing released “Pure” the first of a trilogy of young adult sci-fi by Julianna Baggott.The story of Pure is a fiction of a postapocalyptic future to where a big glass dome separates society, and two young lovers, one on the outside, on contained within.The female of the 2 cobbles together a mechanical flying companion, an artificial junk butterfly, made from scraps of paper, wood, wire, metal, and clay.
The photographer for the book design, Kevin Twomey, contacted me with the proposal to fabricate this creature from scratch using the same materials as the character did in the book. So instead of using a real butterfly, I designed and fabricated something truer to the texture and world depicted in PURE. Here are some of the different wing designs, stitched with metal wire.
On this page is a closeup of the custom beetle I fashioned for Chronicle Books "The Clockwork Scarab" by Colleen Gleason. The challenge here was not only one of design, but of logistics. I had to make a piece that seemed dark and enigmatic and magical and also could easily be held in the hand of the model in the photoshoot (without damage) with the right details picked up by the camera.
The Clockwork Scarab
Here is the beetle in process, halfway through the fabrication of adapting gears and mechanics into it's carapace.