Friday, September 21, 2018

Problems? Sleep On it

September 21, 2018
   A couple days ago I spied a sweet little sketch on Facebook by the late Buck Dunton and it looks like this:

   I like the concept of a dusty vignette. A gaggle of riders who could be outlaws or cowboys riding into town. Or, out of town. I put it in my clip file for future reference.

A Cover Design Problem
   For the past six or seven years we have done a photo issue in January. They are invariably good sellers for us, but by this time, I have a serious problem with them. We have done the basic cover design—with the same type style!— to death. The covers were intended to look the same, by design, for collecting purposes, but to those of us who hate to repeat ourselves, it started looking wayyyy too much the same. 

Too much of a good thing.

   I went to bed that night with a series of problems. How do we keep the basic theme but change it up, without ruining the impact? What can we possibly do to keep the theme fresh? We have already done gunfighters and Native Americans and Pancho Villa.  I woke up in the morning with a few insights. I grabbed my sketchbook and scribbled the ideas down as fast as I could write.

Dream Notes

   The theme of the issue—and the title of my next book—is in these mash of notes. I see a big type cover with a small vignette at the bottom that looks like this:

Sketch for "American Outlaws" cover

   Gee, I wonder where I got that idea?

  The difference between a Master and a beginner is the Master has failed more times than the beginner has ever tried.

   Keep trying.

"It is a common experience that a problem difficult at night is resolved in the morning after the committee of sleep has worked on it." 
—John Steinbeck

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