If you know me at all, you'd know I'm a sucker for old EC-esque comic book cover aesthetics (think 'Crime SuspenStories' or even 'Tales from the Crypt'), so when I was commissioned by Editora Ática in Brazil to illustrate the cover of their upcoming edition of 'Um Estudo em Vermelho' ('A Study in Scarlet'), the first of the titles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle featuring Sherlock Holmes and John Watson, I knew exactly what I wanted to do. One of the biggest challenges here was to create three different sets of typefaces that would clearly differenciate what was meant for the reader to see—the book's title and author—and what was part of the meta-character of the cover itself (note it's a cover within a cover). Research also became an unbelievably useful tool as it helped me to achieve one of the main goals I had for this project which was to depict Sherlock Holmes in a more realistic way. For example, I learnt that curved pipes weren't trending at the time the story takes place but were introduced later when the first Sherlock Holmes plays were presented on stage. Curved pipes allowed theatre light technicians to illuminate better the actor's face without creating the annoying shadow casted by a regular pipe. And the hat… one way or another I had to get rid of that stupid hat we were used seeing Holmes with! So I told the editors there was no reason for the greatest detective ever (sorry Batman!) to be wearing a hunting cap in the middle of mean, ol' London, that it was plainly ridiculous as he wasn't chasing foxes in the English country-side. That did the trick. Regarding the three interior illustrations, I was explicitly told not to be literal so my intention was to reference elements of the story that I thought were meaningful without being too descriptive. When you read the book, and I hope you do as it contains a wonderfully written revenge story, you'll know exactly what they represent without having them interfering too much with your imagination's role. Hope you like them.
Um Estudo em Vermelho
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle