Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test


by Tom Wolfe // Picador

Hand-lettering & Illustration by Phil Pascuzzo. Based on a visual developed by Laura Hanifin


Hand-lettering by Phil Pascuzzo

This book was about the rustic/Grateful Dead proto-Psychedelia movement and I didn't want to evoke the urban and developed Haight-Ashbury Psychedelia look or the Peter Max / Milton Glaser take on the '60s. This cover was inspired by the original 1965 Muir Beach Acid Test poster created by Norman Hartweg that was later hand-colored by Ken Kesey's daughter, Sunshine Kesey:

But this design was considered too hippie-dippie, crunchy-granola and a cleaner, more psychedelic redesign was requested.

My new idea was to focus on the Merry Prankster Bus, "Further," render it as a black and white pen and ink drawing ala The Beatles' REVOLVER album cover and project a psychedelic multi-color lava lamp effect over it.

Laura Hanifin's photographic interpretation of this was a toy bus painted white and dripping with colored paint.

Photograph by Laura Hanifin

Tom loved the idea but didn't want a photograph of a generic bus. He asked if we could instead, have an illustration of the actual Merry Prankster bus FURTHER and brighter. Ugh! This has to go to the printers yesterday.

So in a rare and unusual move, I took Laura's interpretation and put it back in Phil Pascuzzo's hand and he re-illustrated her approach using a photograph of the "FURTHUR" bus as reference which became the final cover.

Whew, approved. Just made the printer's deadline.
The final will be separated as 4/C process but with the cyan, magenta, and yellow inks replaced with their fluorescent equivalents for a brighter psychedelic look. Hopefully.

Big thanks to Laura and Phil-Dog for putting their egos aside, getting the job done and saving my ass.

TIME Interviews Tom Wolfe


sixfive said...

tough one, I find your original idea the most appealing.

Social Network Web Design said...

I also like the original idea best. I'm biassed when it comes to green/orange/brown combo. :)

ian shimkoviak said...

Original idea is by far better.