Saturday, March 11, 2006

Marquis De Sade :: Penguin Classics

Tomer :: 'The Immoral Mentors' by De Sade is hard-core. and by hard-core i mean that while two adults teach a young girl about the secrets of sex and pleasure they also teach her why rape, pedophilia, abusing the poor, choking (for arousal), murder, adultery, incest and other progressive ideas are the only true values one should live by. and that anal is always better. during this afternoon chat they are visited by guests who happily take part of a spontaneous orgy and everybody is having sex in a gazillion positions . oh i forgot, when the girl's mom shows up she gets raped and then killed. the daughter couldn't be happier. now that's a literary classic.

the cover had to be suggestive. it couldn't be too pornographic but also had to be loyal to the spirit of the text. these first two sketches are good examples of going over board, and then bellow board.

this one bellow hides more then it shows. having his hand up her dress could imply nasty things but in essence these are things that we imagine, nothing pornographic is actually drawn.

still there was a risk there, so this PG rated version was drawn, while completely loosing the soul or whatever it is that worked in the original doodle- the girl turned into wax, the man is Mr. Hyde.

the AD was super, he kept pushing me to do 'my thing'-- basically to interpret it from the guts, no pre-constructed concepts. then he went out there and got the better sketch approved. Since the cover included a back cover and two flaps there was lots of space to build a rounded atmosphere. the back cover is essentially the 'later' of the front, the front flap showcases an evil looking chandelier and the back flap has an excited horse. hoping i could get away with something slightly outrages I had the back flap and back cover create a suggestive bestiality situation that was quickly cleaned up when the horse got circumcised to the client's request

these are references i gathered during the sketch stage. i love the hair on this Victorian chick. I wanted to keep it minimal but give a good treatment to the elements that made it in. i rendered some parts with a pencil --the wood part of the coach, the hair, the wall panel. credit should be given here to the amazingly talented Zach Baldus who first showed me this technique and still doing it much better. the rest is ink.

I used these patterns (both from Dover books) to create the carpet. the red one was a tile that took most of the space. the black and white strip was the frame at the edge of the carpet- then I distorted them in perspective. the interior reference is a Boudoir, where this book takes place. i wanted to bring the warm and stuffy feel it has to the cover.

after coloring and placing the patterns. (the type design here is just some general idea i laid down-- real designers will take care of it).

this is the entire cover- the other parts had a similar treatment, some pencil, some patterns- you get the idea.

finally, I urge you to have a look at these smarter interpretations of literary classics by some of today's leading cartoonists.


  1. This piece is great! I love the red chick on the floor. This is the kind of books that I would buy because of the cover.

    I´m jealous of this!

  2. Anonymous2:27 AM

    Now this is covert Art.
    Amazing. All great books should get the quality you provide here.

  3. Lovely pieces. I especially like the bold color palette.

    Nicely done!

  4. This is great. The cover, and the insight on the process.

  5. Anonymous9:48 AM

    When's is out?

  6. Everything I want to say can be encapsulated in a four letter word.

  7. Anonymous5:58 PM

    Simultaneously appealing and disturbing.
    a powerfully surreal juxtaposition of images, very unorthodox.

    A de Sade cover, what an honor!

  8. wow, LOVE the simplicity, feels very different from your other work. very inspiring

  9. Anonymous2:19 AM

    This is brilliant. I love the colours- both of them!
    May I ask some technical questions?*:

    1. When putting in patterns, are you using Photoshop's pattern brush? Would you mind detailing this process slightly?

    2. When you use pencil to render areas, which is so effective, how do you exploit the rendering when colouring?

    *I guess what I really mean is: 'Will you answer them?'.

  10. Anonymous11:32 AM

    wow tomer,
    i wish i could hire you to work with me on a book.
    this is a truely amazing cover. the layout is elegent, smart and quite original. i love the horse ass on the left flap. the typography you offered is actually quite good, i think u can be a real designer.. i love it when your use of colors is minimal - it makes your work much more powerful.
    this is definitly one of my favorites - truely inspiring.

  11. Anonymous2:39 PM

    im speechless. this is so amazing.

  12. Anonymous6:16 AM



  13. Anonymous5:10 PM

    Damask, the kind of French floral-fleur-de-lise pattern you use, is hugely in style right now in interior design. So are giant crystal chandeliers! Those rich architectural references really help set the puritanical stage for the lusty, line-drawn action (plus being right on time for fashionistas). I think the simplicity of the characters versus the luxe of the interiors is nice - it kind of says how whatever social constructs about behaviour (texture) we build up, our base instincts (line drawing) are what we're really made up of.

    Naama is right, the design is tight too. Nice work, Tomer.

  14. Anonymous8:57 AM

    Really great work. Very modern. I love it. Thanks for sharing.. :)

  15. Anonymous2:25 PM

    I LOVE THIS! It's refrences to Lautrec are gold!

  16. these illustrations and drawings are beautiful!

  17. Anonymous8:39 AM


    Your work gets more amazing everytime I visit. Wish you were still here in NYC to visit my class again.

    best regards,


  18. you guys are too good!! Love the sketches. Thanks for sharing your process.

  19. And then all those people who will buy the book because of the lovely artwork, and then try to read it, ROFL!

  20. Anonymous1:52 PM

    Your illustrations are always amazing. Especially your coloring. I know you use photoshop to color but would you mind posting more about your coloring process? Perhaps a tutorial?

  21. Anonymous11:54 PM

    Nice work and thank you for the links!
    That Burns cover is amazing!

  22. hey thanks everybody for posting such nice comments-- not sure when the book will be out, in a few months at least I think. the patterns are applied as a layer, not a brush. once i have a patterned layer i just 'free-transform' it to fit the plane it's covering. about applying the pencil and mixing it with Photoshop- check out a great tutorial by Adi Granov here interesting analysis erica- i did notice a Baroque revival in fashion magazines, weird. Chang- i see your student all over the place (in magazines) a really strong group of peeps. I'll try to do a tutorial soon with more focus on coloring.

  23. how exactly do you go about coloring in photoshop? i haven't quite figure out a look that i like to my art, but i love how your final colored pieces come out.

  24. great break down! it great to see artist is good as you are opening up and showing your process. Great work!

  25. Anonymous8:10 AM

    Lovely picture, but why place it in turn of the 20th century Victorian time, rather than the 1700's, when it was written?

  26. not sure where you coming from yan, the text was written in the early 19th century, which is the same time period these researched interiors originate from. who's been doing your homework? ;)

  27. Anonymous11:13 AM

    This illustration is really amazing. Thanks a lot for giving us the insight on the working steps! Pierre

  28. Anonymous11:27 AM

    This is so good I want to punch you in the face and hump your leg at the same time.

  29. Anonymous7:07 AM

    what an amazing illustration! thank you for sharing the process, it's very interesting!

  30. This image is unbelievable, I love everything about it. The colors are perfect, the composition has movement (particularly that last frame) and everything in it complements everything else. I've always admired your stuff in the New Yorker, it's significant when an illustrator can make you stop and linger on an image for more then 5 seconds. If you get a chance check out the gallery on my blog, I'd love to hear what you think. Really appreciate the work you do, keep it up!

  31. Anonymous9:05 AM

    Everything on this piece is stunning, from the superb design to the delicate line work.

    You have outdone yourself here.

    And your "behind-the-scenes" account was very interesting too.

    (by the by, I LOVE that first, over-the-board sketch, that for some reason reminds me the best Kaluta)

  32. Anonymous10:11 AM

    Cant beleive how good this is? I am speechless!

    Having loved Aubrey Beardsleys work from a very early age (the porn came later) I can honestly say that this has the essence of his work but - dare I say it - is better.

  33. Anonymous6:21 AM

    I'm no expert on art. I just enjoy the graphic novels. But I love the way the horse makes the man look even more beast-like. Lovely.

  34. Anonymous1:59 PM

    I bought this the other day just because the cover is so beautiful (not sure if I'm ready for what's inside!)

    I was delighted to find this explanation of your process today. Wonderful work.

  35. yowsers. i just found this and put a link on my blog. i hope you go far. that is beautiful.

  36. Anonymous8:25 PM

    I bought this book only for the cover, because the text is available online for free. It really is hands down one of the most startling and titillating covers I've seen. Plus it very accurately touches on the tone of the novel with just enough subtlety. I don't know how you did it. But I do know that it made me research your portfolio and buy the book.

  37. I'm sorry to say that this artwork is great but totally unappropriate to Sade's text. The aesthetic is clearly "art nouveau" and XIXth century and Sade have nothing to do with this aesthetic and period of history. Of course every artist have his freedom of creativity and interpretation, but here I just find the influences used absolutely unappopriate to the text. It shows a false historical aesthetic background, and by doing that it lowers the power of the Sade's work.

  38. Great work. Nice composition and the subject is here.

  39. i'm both lost and found in these works. There is something horrible about them, yet i've never seen such beauty.

  40. friggin amazing work, I'm gonna go buy this STRICTLY for the cover.

  41. Anonymous6:24 PM

    ladyboy sex

    Very beautiful and fun loving hardcore piece of work. I really enjoyed it.

  42. Ah, I loved this cover so much that I had to buy the book! (I was referred from the kitsune noir blog.)

    This is such wonderful work, and really inspiring. I love this style. (Not sure if the book will be as inspiring, but I guess I'll see, haha.)

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  44. Anonymous8:30 PM

    Klimt? Kokoska?

  45. wow this is really great! Thanks for sharing!