The Childermass, 2008
The titles Shapton chooses draw heavily from English and French fiction and belles lettres. “Many are books I’ve read,” she says, “many are books I want to read. I’m often drawn to the cadence of a title or the images it suggests.” Her use of bright colors, abstract patterns, and simple iconography recalls such classic book designers as Alvin Lustig, Edward Gorey, and Vanessa Bell. Shapton turns out roughly one wooden book a week, and takes custom orders through John Derian.
After making Penguin-inspired paintings for over a decade, Miller is moving on to other projects, including co-writing the screenplay for his 2000 novel Slow Down Arthur, Stick to Thirty. Still, he can’t stop coming up with titles of imaginary books. “It’s become a habitual mindset,” he says. “I’ll hear something and isolate it from a conversation, and it’s hard not to go and paint it.” Meanwhile, the chain of appropriation has come full circle. Penguin recently commissioned Miller to design a series of books by Edgar Allan Poe and writers of fairy stories—in other words, to create book covers based on Miller’s paintings of other book covers.
Possession Obsession, 2008