A Bookplate Commission

Images © Todd Klein.

I rarely accept commissions because I rarely have time to do any. This week, for instance, I have over 100 pages of lettering waiting to be done, and would turn down any commission request in a second. A few weeks ago, though, I was caught up with most of my work, and accepted a request from Dean Stell to design a bookplate for him. We emailed back a forth about what he might want, and he was open to whatever I came up with. Here’s the pencil version I sent him with the name large in calligraphy style, the topline smaller and italic, and a pattern of moon, comet and stars, very stylized.

I also sent this negative version, suggesting it would look good with the elements in white on black, though I told him if we went for this idea, I’d make the design elements solid white, not outlines. He thought that was a fine idea, and his only other request was that I include my signature somewhere, which I had planned to do anyway. I actually like the way the pencil textures look on the name here, like a scratchboard work, but I planned to make them solid. Might use that idea somewhere else someday.

I inked the piece using my size 2 Castell TG1 pen on all the outlines, and filling in the centers with a Sharpie waterproof marker. There were a few little edge flaws that I took off in Photoshop after scanning it. Note that, if this were meant to be a realistic sky, no stars would be in the center of the crescent moon, but since it’s a fantasy design, I thought it was okay to balance the blacks this way.

Here’s the finished bookplate art ready for printing. I added the thin outline in Photoshop because I thought it needed a small edge detail to make the signature more integrated. Dean seems pleased — I emailed him the printer file and mailed the original as well.

3 thoughts on “A Bookplate Commission

  1. David Goldfarb

    That’s very nice. I agree that in a design like this there’s no problem with having stars in the middle of a crescent moon (note that the moon shape itself is exaggerated — a realistic crescent moon has the ends of the “horns” at the top and bottom points of a half circle).

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