Monday, July 13, 2009

Ghoulish Goodness

When a new Storey book is hot off the presses and on the way to the warehouse, everyone on staff gets a copy in his or her mailbox. Today glints of grisly green and ominous orange were shining out of the mail cubbies, and I knew that Ghoulish Goodies, a book that I designed, had arrived.

A sad fact that is true of many, if not most, creative types is that we are rarely ever satisfied with our work. When I look at a finished book that I designed, I usually say to myself, "You could have done better," or maybe, if I'm feeling generous, "Not too bad."

While there is definitely a catalog of criticisms running through my head as I look at this new book, I think I'll go so far as to say that this one is "pretty good." One of my favorite things about it is the illustration work by Michael Slack. Michael and I once collaborated on a game that Chronicle Books published called Ick! (very fun and a favorite in my house). He sort of specializes in gross, so I thought he'd be a perfect partner for a book full of gloriously icky recipes. Here are a few of his many awesome illos for Ghoulish Goodies.

I propped and styled the photos for the book, which is outside my usual role as an art director and designer. I think the job I did was "not bad," maybe even "pretty good." By some fantastic stroke of good luck, the photo schedule coincided with Halloween last year, so thematically appropriate odds and ends and fabric backdrops were readily available. Here is a slide show of a few photos that show some of Sharon Bowers's fun recipes. No book of Halloween treats is complete without that perennial favorite, Ladies' Fingers (propped with a teacup and saucer from my grandmother); also shown is Ghoul-Ade (I bought that test tube at the MASS MoCA design store 'cause it was cool, and I'm glad I found a good use for it); Tombstone Cupcakes (find those beautiful cupcake wraps at; and Spiderweb Sugar Cookies (neat-o spiderweb fabric from

If you're wondering what the red text is on the Ghoul-Ade photo, it's a note to our very patient, much-beleaguered prepress miracle worker Hartley, asking him to make the "fly" in the ice pop more. Fortunately, that note does NOT appear in the printed books!

Last but not least, a shout-out to the book's photography team, Kevin Kennefick and Sheri Riddell, for their tremendous skill and sense of humor . . . to food stylist Norma Miller for her awesome kitchen magic . . . and, of course, to the author, Sharon Bowers, for writing this book and giving us all the opportunity to have such fun!

Alethea Morrison, Creative Director

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