Thursday, December 17, 2009

Wandering Souls

by Wayne Karlin

Art Director: Nicole Caputo // Nation Books / Perseus Books

On March 19, 1969, First Lieutenant Homer R. Steedly, Jr., shot and killed a North Vietnamese soldier, Dam, when they met on a jungle trail. Steedly took a diary—filled with beautiful line drawings—from the body of the dead soldier, which he subsequently sent to his mother for safekeeping. Thirty-five years later, Steedly rediscovers the forgotten dairy and begins to confront his suppressed memories of the war that defined his life, deciding to return to Viet Nam and meet the family of the man he killed to seek their forgiveness. Fellow veteran and award-winning author Wayne Karlin accompanied Steedly on his remarkable journey. In Wandering Souls he recounts Homer’s movement towards a recovery that could only come about through a confrontation with the ghosts of his past—and the need of Dam’s family to bring their child’s “wandering soul” to his own peace. Wandering Souls limns the terrible price of war on soldiers and their loved ones, and reveals that we heal not by forgetting war’s hard lessons, but by remembering its costs.

For freelance clients, I'm just required to design the front and spine and the rest is handled in-house. If I have time, I try to design the entire package. But this time I was swamped. Alyssa Stepien, Nicole's Design Assistant, did a great job taking my design and reinterpreting it for the entire package. Thanks Alyssa.

Alternate sketches:


Jason Gabbert said...

I don't think you gave them enough sketches… :)

I'm liking this constant updating your doing!

Jennifer Heuer said...

Beautiful final. but i particularly love the last two sketches with the photo of the soldier. His eyes and full expression is so eerie and unsettling in the best way.

H3NR7 said...

Jason: It took a while to find the right image of palm tree that said forlorn and weeping.

If I don't have to write too much or edit out images, it's easier to just post it.
I have a pile of projects that were killed for one reason or another that I'll post as an end-of-year wrap up.

Jen: I liked focusing on the soldier's eyes too. He has such unsettled emotions going on in there. Plus, he reminded me of Timothy Goodman.

Ian Shimkoviak said...

it makes me feel forlorn and makes me want to weep when i see so many good comps say bye bye.

But I'm glad I ain't the only one out there who has to run the hundred comp marathon.

Beautiful work.

James R. Perales said...

Great work! I also love the outtakes.
I don't know if it's necessarily the trees that look forlorn, and weeping, but the veiled haze and the duplicated palm image certainly contribute to the excellent overall effect. It looks rich and gorgeous.

fdots said...

i really like the alternate sketches :)

David Gee said...


H3NR7 said...

I know David!
Optima is my go to Viet Nam font.
Because Maya Lin used it as her font of choice on her Viet Nam Memorial in Washington, DC.