Happy New Year!

May your feeder be full in 2011. Happy New Year!

I am grateful for the work this past year from my author, publishing and other design clients. A blessed new year to all. —Dave


Filed Under Uncategorized

Great article: Do authors really need to promote their own books?

Tooting your own hornMany authors that I work with have a hard time with promoting their books or themselves for that matter. I can well understand because I often have a hard time promoting myself and my design services. Whether it’s due to a lack of confidence (I’m really not that good), or feeling “I’m too humble to toot,”  or just that we never seem to have enough time, there’s usually something that gets in the way of tooting our own horns.

First of all, if you want to sell that book and get your message out, no one is better qualified to do it than you. Whether you’re an established author, with the good fortune of having the backing of a large publishing house, or an independent self-publisher marketing by grassroots and viral campaigning, you have to toot!

Author Mary DeMuth has a great article on the subject that’s worth the read. Read it and go ahead and blow that horn. It’s okay!


You can read Mary’s article here.


Filed Under "book cover design", Promotion

Keeping It Simple!

Book cover design by Dave Aldrich for the book "Keeping It Simple!" by Jayne DeRouin

Keys to Living an Uncomplicated Life

“Jayne DeRouin is an ordinary woman living an ordinary life and just like everyone else, she’s had to face and overcome many of the challenges and obstacles of life.”

That’s the beginning back cover copy on my latest book design project, “Keeping It Simple!” by Jayne DeRouin. Jayne lives in my home state of Rhode Island and I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know her and her husband David in person. They both have been a joy to work with.

The premise of her book, keeping life simple by finding freedom in the balance of the physical and spiritual, was the very springboard for coming up with the cover. What could say simplicity and freedom better than a child flying a kite at the beach? The color palette was kept simple as well. I dominated it with a soft blue sky to create the feeling of tranquility and the spot of red in the kite gives an active point of interest.

Now we’re working on other materials – a media kit, letterhead, business card, post card, and other items for her to use to promote the book.

I wish Jayne the very best. Both her and David have been helping me with Keeping It Simple!

Update – November 11, 2010: Keeping It Simple is now available on Amazon.com or through Heart & Soul Publishing (where you can get an author signed copy of the book).


Filed Under "book cover design"

Where did the summer go?

I’ve been rather quiet here since the summer. Been busy with life and well, life.

I’ve had some interesting and fun design jobs though and I’ll post them soon. IN THE MEANTIME here’s a video I created for my own (and my old art school alumni’s) pleasure.



Postnote: My old alma matta was the late, great Vesper George School of Art (fondly known as VGU to its alumni, although it never reached university status). Sadly the school closed its doors in the 80’s. It was located on St. Botolph Street in the Back Bay area of Boston and is now condominiums. I miss the school, but the area has never looked more beautiful.


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My take on the future of design

magazine cover for 1961 issue of Design Magazine

…and kind of life in general:

Having spent the majority of my design career in print I had grown anxious and weary about the future with digital media, but I am no longer worried. It’s all about, as it’s always been about, quality content and the means to promote that quality content.

The world seems to be spinning faster than ever before… growth and change in technology is a moment by moment occurrence… life is constantly in transition… and I just can’t keep up… yet I’m okay with that!

Enjoy the ride. What’s good and noble and of lasting value will endure and the rest will become just another soon-to-be-forgotten iPhone app.

Peace 🙂


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United and Untied

illustration titled -  United and Untied

Another side trip. An illustration done for an article written by author and friend, Carol Peterson. She didn’t ask me to do it, but I appreciated what she wrote and felt an urge to illustrate her thoughts.

Here’s the article she wrote:

Well, I did it again. Actually it happens all the time, and I’m trying to learn not to take it quite so seriously. Only God is perfect, right? And to prove that’s true, a few weeks ago there was another typo in the Sunday bulletin. Actually, it wasn’t that bad of a mistake; almost everyone read right over the word and said it as it was supposed to be and not the way it was written. But then someone had to ask me about it. “It says untied. Don’t you meanunited?” Now I do tend to get embarrassed and all bound up about such things, bound up in human imperfections as I am. But when I thought about the error, it seemed to make perfect sense. It was in the offertory prayer. “As grains of wheat are gathered for bread and as grapes together are poured out for wine, so may we be untied in your presence through this sacrament of grace.”

There’s a real sense of accomplishment when we do something well, when we get it right. But our brokenness and imperfection can leave us all tied up in knots, that’s for sure.

Yes, it is true that we are in bondage to sin, and we cannot free ourselves. We sin by what we have done and by what we have left undone. We don’t love God wholeheartedly and we don’t love our neighbors as ourselves, either. We are all bound up in our humanity.

Yet we hear words of forgiveness as we receive the body and blood of Jesus, who lived and died and lives again so that we can stand before God untied from our bondage to sin and set free from our imperfections and brokenness.

So we pray, As we come to your table, O Christ, may we be untied in your presence, to live in the wonderful freedom you have won for us!

Carol is the author of the novel “Eddie’s Wake” that I had the pleasure to cover design. Besides being a writer she is a wife, mother, lover of Lake Superior and an interim pastor in the Lutheran denomination. She resides with her husband Tom in Wisconsin. Her blog is called, “Writing Eddie’s Wake”


Filed Under illustration

Taking a side trip with photography

With this business of books and book design, like many other businesses, there’s much hurry up and wait. In other words, “We need ideas now but it will be a while until we’re ready for you for the next stage.” That seems to be the nature of things for me.

So in my “side” time I follow another passion with photography. Here are a couple of things I’ve recently been working on that I thought I’d share.

First, a few stills taken in Providence, Rhode Island. Such a beautiful city that has gone through a renaissance of its own. I enjoyed using Photoshop to create an illustration feel for these. If you click on the images it will bring you to my Flickr site and from there you can view them at a larger size if you wish.

Providence River Panorama

Providence River/Canal

South Water and Memorial - Providence

And a short movie I created from stills and video, compiled with a music track in iMovie. I had way too much fun.



Filed Under Photography, video

The Last Matryoshka (book title revealed)

book cover for "The Last Matryoshka"

Oh, so that’s the title of the book .What in the world is a matryoshka you say? Well, you know those charming Russan nesting dolls, the ones that are usually made of wood and are hollow, and you open one and find another, open that one and find another, and on and on. Yeah, that’s what this is, but they’re usually not as creepy looking as this one.

“The Last Matryoshka” is a suspenseful mystery that takes place in Russia. There’s blackmail, dark prisons, lewd tattoos and lots of bad guys.

So my work is done for a little while on this. The advanced reading copy has gone out and I await the final instructions for the back cover and spine.

The Last Matryoshka book cover - 3D


Filed Under "book cover design", illustration

Sneek peak – revised

Skully the Matryoshka Doll

The revised illustration - more sinister looking.

Round Two

It’s been a little while since I revised this illustration (with the “sinister filter” in Photoshop). I am waiting for the final go-ahead to complete the cover of this book so that I can post it in its entirety, but I wanted to show the approved illustration. Definitely more sinister looking. The client, author, and publisher all agreed thankfully, and love it. (Whew!)

Besides the skull face I added texture to the surfaces to give a more realistic feel and move away from the flat, cartoony look that I had before.

Next step will be the back cover, flaps and spine for this one. Looking forward to it.



Filed Under "book cover design", illustration

Sneak peek and the mystery of interpretation.

illustration of nested doll

This is an illustration for a upcoming mystery novel. I had a lot of fun with this, but the client felt it just wasn’t sinister looking enough. So back to the drawing board I go.

Interpreting the wishes and desires for a client is a tricky thing at times. You go over the client’s instructions and suggestions, do your research, and then do your best to interpret it all with the creative energies they’ve hired you for. Sometimes it’s a bull’s eye hit and other times the target is missed all together. All part of the process.

I found out that I’m not too far off from the mark on this one. I’m getting ready to tweak it with the Sinister filter in Photoshop. 🙂


Filed Under "book cover design", Promotion, Uncategorized