Cover ideas for Santa

A bunch of sketches for The Year Without A Santa Claus jacket art.  In the first few I was trying to summarize the story: Santa is too tired and cranky to deliver presents this year.  They don’t work well because they don’t look fun.  Jim McMullan, the Broadway poster illustrator told me a story about his early career:  after submitting depressing poster ideas that summarized the plot of a depressing play, the stage director told him “Just get the audience into the theater. We’ll give them the bad news once they’re inside.”  Good advice when drawing cover ideas, too.

The coat rack and Santa on a La-Z-Boy idea became spot illustrations inside the book.

The final idea with a happy Santa surrounded by presents was the winner.  Art director Anahid Hamparian put it all together with type that recalls the 1950’s, when the story was written.  I wasn’t consciously inspired by the famous shot from North By Northwest, but after I finished drawing I realized I had mimicked it.

0 replies
  1. Jerry Russell
    Jerry Russell says:

    Nice job, John! I LOVE that quote from McMullan! Now, that’ll cross my mind in every illustration project I work on. 🙂 Interesting that you made Santa’s eyebrows black, instead. For more expressive impact, I’m guessing.


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