BSP cover designs (1 Viewer)

I think the hardback 1sts of BSP are great designs, bold, memorable and distinctive...just not right for Buk. By and large I find them too neat, unadventurous and not suitable for Buk's writing and subjects. This doesn't apply to all. I think Ham on Rye, Roominghouse Madrigals look perfect. Post Office is a good design but I don't like the spine or typeface. I don't like the sans-serif face for the covers. No, I'm not mad keen on author photos on front or back cover either and I don't have any amateur artwork to launch on you.

Ok, I admit I am writing here as a reader not a collector. I only have beat-up paperbacks. I guess as many of the forum members are collectors with an emotional and financial investment in the BSP 1sts I may get shot down over this and I confess I am only going by the pics on collectingbukowski.... I am sure they *smell* great.

BSP 1sts look great and they are handsome and I'm sure well made but...just not right for Buk.

Over to you guys, form an orderly queue to give Joey K. a whipping.
 

bospress.net

www.bospress.net
JK,
I appreciate your opinion, but disagree. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so there is no problem for disagreeing!

I believe that the Martins were trying to put these out as classy as possible. They seemed to want to shy away from the sensationalism angle. They could have used more alcohol references, etc, but I think that they wanted to make modern classics in design. In that , I believe they succeeded. I think that the new Ecco covers are not as good.

If you look at some of the classics of some folks like Hemingway you will see that they look like classics. Imagine if Snows of Kilimanjaro had Ernie's face on it and the cover was in day-glo pink.

Bill
 
Bill, I didn't suggest BSPs weren't beautiful. Some are and classics moreover. I agree it would have been crass to ham up the alcohol/wild life/bio angle and I am pleased they avoided it. My point is that the designs tend to play in a bold, major key rather than the minor key that Buk sometimes uses. I would add Betting on the Muse as a really handsome and appropriate design but too many of the BSPs are very bold and direct. The covers can be a little relentlessly upbeat for Buk's subjects.
 
i fully agree about the BSPs covers. i think the fante books are much worse than the bukowski ones. ASK THE DUST and WAIT UNTIL SPRING BANDINI, are decent, but WEST OF ROME and FULL OF LIFE, have two of the worst covers i have ever seen.
 

mjp

Founding member
...if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out...

Or - tear off the covers. What's important is the words inside.
 

Hosh

hoshomccreesh.com
I think that as BSP grew as a press, the need to be immediately recognizable as a BSP book mattered. The designs are bold in their simplicity--to the point that you can spot one on the shelves. As a publisher--that's got to be the goal--to get people to pick up/buy/learn/& eventually recognize at a glance your books. I think they are wildly successful--even now--when compared to everything else sitting there...even the ECCO copies of the original designs (though ECCO should try to stay true to paper too--I hate the slick feel when you're expecting a laid cardstock cover)..

& I think the BSP's cover of ASK THE DUST is absolutely gorgeous--design, type-face...the whole package...it's fantastic.
 

1fsh2fsh

I think that I think too much
Founding member
I also like the bsp covers, esp "dangling". they are so dinstintive that it makes it an easy task to scan the books at used stores, flea markets and the like for bukowski's. I really don't even read the titles, just look for the design. 'course I've never found one, but I continue my search. I have fantasy's of finding old box's full of his stuff. anyway I'm glad that they look (and smell) the way that they do. anything different wouldn't seem right after all of these years. PS. the ECCO reprint covers suck.....
 

bospress.net

www.bospress.net
Much of is also probably comes from many of us ALWAYS seeing them as they are. They are like a favorite shirt that we love, but maybe our spouses don't like, but they are our favorite anyway.

Barbara was a world-class designer, in my book.

Bill
 

jordan

lothario speedwagon
i completely agree. that doesn't mean she never had any misses, but she was damn good. i read an article about bsp book design by robert kelly that was kind of interesting, although it was also chock full of robert kelly-isms. things like, "in the abdomen of the saltpetre corridor leading to unfamous barbara martin's design abode..." instead of just saying "in martin's design studio..." and so on.
 
i fully agree about the BSPs covers. i think the fante books are much worse than the bukowski ones. ASK THE DUST and WAIT UNTIL SPRING BANDINI, are decent, but WEST OF ROME and FULL OF LIFE, have two of the worst covers i have ever seen.

Just my opinion: West of Rome, Full of Life and, to an extent (version-dependent) The Road to L.A are quite unattractive. But the hardcover firsts are desireable nonetheless.

...if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out...

Or - tear off the covers. What's important is the words inside.

Of course, but I own a crap reading copy and a hardcover first of many of these. I needn't say more than that. Except that you quoted the Bible, so you're boxed in on that award I reneged on. :cool:

But yes and of course; the words are what matters.

But, in all fairness to Barbara Martin, I think that most all of the BSP Buk book designs are great. The only major one I don't care for is Play the Piano.... Too geometrical/starkly-lined for both the title and the words in it.
 
The designs are bold in their simplicity--to the point that you can spot one on the shelves.

Sure, but the same is true of road signs. I just don't want the book poking me in the eye after I've already bought it.

I don't argue that BSPs are not distinctive or skillful or classic, I just don't think 100% of them are 100% appropriate for Buk's writing.
 

Bukfan

"The law is wrong; I am right"
PS. the ECCO reprint covers suck.....

Absolutely, but I still prefer their copies of the BSP books compared to their new Bukowski covers and smaller book sizes. A case of choosing the lesser of two evils, I guess...
 
yes, they are distinctive, but some of the fante books look like trapper keeper covers. the cover to FULL OF LIFE by fante, would look better on a pair of running shorts.

the things is WEST OF ROME is one of my favorite books. so i have grown to love the cover regardless of how shit-awful it is. thats the thing about book covers, they dont need to be good. still, i wish i could show the book to friend without them looking at me like i was trying to feed them some self help guide from the eighties. cause that is what that shit looks like.
 

ROC

It is what it is
I just don't think 100% of them are 100% appropriate for Buk's writing.

I agree.

Some of them work well, some are classics, but some are mongrels and don't suit the content, style... don't present the 'face' that a Buk book might more reasonably expect to have.

The one thing they got right from the start was the spine cloth and label.
Some of these books may look a bit cheesy on the cover, but the sides are pure class.
 
I find them good, but the high appraisal of them seems overrated to me.

And for a 'classy' design, I miss a certain continuity in them. (sometimes only written words, sometimes abstract forms, sometimes pictures. What I expect with a classic, is one red line going through the design of one author's work.)


The one thing they got right from the start was the spine cloth and label.
Some of these books may look a bit cheesy on the cover, but the sides are pure class.

definitely.
 

Bukfan

"The law is wrong; I am right"
I find them good, but the high appraisal of them seems overrated to me.

I agree. Some of the covers only contain letters and the font and the design may be very nice, but I would'nt call them great. One cover design I do think is great, is the cover for Post Office. I really like that cover...
 
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Rekrab

Usually wrong.
I love most of the Black Sparrow Press covers. Reminds me that there was a classy small press in LA. ages ago, 1940s and possibly earlier, that had a look very much like what BSP did later. I always wondered if Martin was influenced by that publisher. The papers, the design were very similar, and they did poetry (I think). Can't remember the press name. It's been something like 40 years since I last saw one of their books, in the now gone Acres of Books in Long Beach. Maybe it'll come back to me...

[Five minutes later...]

Okay. I remember. It was Ward Richie Press. I think. Anyone familiar with them?
 

Rekrab

Usually wrong.
Now that I think about it, Ward Ritchie Press had similar production values to BSP: fine papers, letterpress covers and text. Not necessarily similar cover designs. One book of poems was entirely printed in silver on black paper -- which isn't like BSP at all -- very cool looking. What impressed me was the quality of the production, which I'd not seen in anything until I came across BSP. It no doubt was common to many fine press/private press books before Black Sparrow came along.
 

Black Swan

Abord the Yorikke!
I thinK that my favorite BSP covers is Bukowski's "The Last Night Of The Earth Poems".
I think that it is the boldness of the black and red that gives it the edge that it's content deserves.

desforges-lastnightpicture.JPG

Last night, appreciated reading "in the bottom" pg.201

in the bottom of the hour
lurks
the smoking claw
the red train
the letter home
the deepfried blues.


This is the first few lines (is this called a stanza?), from then on, each comes as a punch.
 
I loved that painting too when seeing it in BukScene.
I wondered, how many unseen paintings you've made on the subject of Bukowski.



... I am trying to figure out how to do what you just did.

It really is easy:

- though we now have a special thread to explain these things anyway, I'll tell you about it here - in a way, that has Nothing to do with techneeques (sp?) but only is about the logic behind it:


- you obviously know, how to post a pic online. You sure know the URL of this pic then. (the URL is the 'address' usually starting with http://.... etc.)

- next step (No matter if pc or mac):
to make your pic visible in your post, you will have to link to it inside your post.
There's a special option for that:

First: copy the URL into your clipboard.
(i dunno how to do this with a mac, but i guess that You do)
Then, there is an icon, right above the place, where you write, when you write. It looks like this:

attachment.php


the symbol in the red circle is to click AFTER you've put the URL into your clipboard.
But you'll recognize this anyway, as after pushing that button, there appeares a window, asking you:
attachment.php


put it in there and click OK.
... and that is it.
There's Nothing more to it!
You've just Made it!




__________________________



to get advanced, here's an idea:

as an artist, you may like to post pics in low resolution inside your posts (like thumbnails), but link to BIGGER versions of them, when clicking on these thumbs.

something like this [click the pic]:



the logic behind that is easy:

- you first have to post your thumb/'picture-in-low-resolution' inside your post as described above.

- then you'll have to 'wrap' it with a link to your bigger image. (which should be online somewhere at this point.)

- to wrap it:
mark the picture, then push the 'link'-button, which is this one:

attachment.php



- there'll occure a box that's similar to one, you've seen before:

attachment.php


here you just give the URL of your 'Big' picture.
Everything else follows the natural way.



...
 

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mjp

Founding member
We could let the forum software make image attachment thumbnails automatically. The only problem with that is if you are using an attachment to make an image show up in the post, it will be there twice, full size and thumbnail. So I've never turned that option on.
 

Black Swan

Abord the Yorikke!
David, do you find him an easy subject to paint? Each time I paint Bukowski, I struggle with his mouth. I find him difficult to capture. And yourself?
 

Bukfan

"The law is wrong; I am right"
to make your pic visible in your post, you will have to link to it inside your post.

Roni, I might be a bit slow, but how do you make your pic visible, if it's a pic from your pic folder on your computer, and not a pic from a website?
I know how to upload a link to a pic in my pic folder, but not how to make it visible.
 
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Rekrab

Usually wrong.
David, do you find him an easy subject to paint? Each time I paint Bukowski, I struggle with his mouth. I find him difficult to capture. And yourself?

Black Swan: I find his mouth and nose easy to draw. What is difficult for me are his eyes. They are often narrowed to slits, in deep shadow, hard to even make out, but somehow, still expressive. How that works, I don't understand. I spend a half hour on the drawing of the eyes, then a couple minutes doing the rest: mouth, nose, hair, cheeks, beard, ears, etc. His mouth is a few quick lines for me. Odd that it is the hard part for you.
 

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