Monday, August 22, 2016

Calligraphy: Donald Jackson’s The Story of Writing

The Story of Writing
Donald Jackson
Taplinger Publishing Company, 1981

Dust Jacket Front

Dust Jacket Back

Front Endpaper

Title Page


Alice Koeth created the August 1981 flyer for the Donald Jackson event at the Donnell Library in New York City. After Jackson made his presentation, he signed copies of his book, The Story of Writing, on the front endpaper. Several people were waiting to have their book signed when the library closed at 8 o’clock. Outside the library, the remaining people assembled in the parking lot where Jackson commandeered the parking attendant’s booth and finished signing the books. I gave him my full name but he wrote my initials, A J.

Parts 1 and 2 by Donald Jackson

Parts 3 and 4 by Donald Jackson

Leading calligrapher Donald Jackson to discuss his creation of
The Saint John’s Bible, the first hand-written and illuminated 
Bible produced in over 500 years, April 20, 2013

(Next post on Monday: The Freeman Logo)

Monday, August 15, 2016

Anatomy of a Logo: X-Force

I met with Marvel editor, Bob Harras, at 12:30, October 22, 1990, to discuss the X-Force logo. I don’t remember the details of the meeting. Usually there’s a general description of the title and characters. Sometimes the editor has an idea or suggestion for the logo. I believe Bob told me to do whatever I wanted. As it turned out, this assignment had a long deadline. 

Back at my studio after the meeting, I did some thumbnail designs. On the sheet below, you can see a few of my sketches for the Hellraiser/Nightbreed Jihad title.

On November 18, 1990, I developed and refined two logo designs.

My appointment book said Bob called me on November 26. I don’t recall details of the conversation but the logo was put on hold. About four-and-a-half month’s later, Bob called on April 5, 1991 and gave me the green light to do more logo designs. Below are my thumbnail sketches.

Two days later I produced tight renderings of the designs.

On April 9, I faxed four designs, some with variations, to Bob, who chose design 4-C.

On Sunday, April 14, I started work on the final art.

The final art was ink on LetraMax paper. Corrections were made by scratching off the ink and peeling away a layer of paper. I delivered the art on April 15. This version appeared in the first issue.

On June 18, 1991, Bob called and said he wanted a bolder version of the logo. On the 23rd I created a bold version which required adjusting the spacing between all the letters.

On Monday, the next day, I faxed the design with alternate versions of the counters for the O and R. Bob approved the logo with the alternates. On the revision I adjusted the letterspacing again.

On June 25, I made a tight rendering of the logo. A few minor changes were indicated in red. Then I proceeded to make the final art, which was delivered the next day.

August 1991

August 1991

August 1991

August 1991

September 1991

October 1991

November 1991

December 1991


November 1992


October 2004; Logo variation with a different X design

December 2010

December 2010

September 2014; Deadpool logo by Todd Klein

Related Posts

Monday, August 8, 2016

Calligraphy: Edward Gentile

Edward Gentile
born July 20, 1890, Chicago, Illinois; also known as Edward Gentle

Art Institute of Chicago
Student from 1911–1912

North American Newspaper, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Commercial artist, 1914

Studio of Design and Lettering, New York City

Freelance Artist


World War I Draft Card
Name: Edward Gentle
Address: Shiller Park, Cook County, lllinois
Occupation: Artist, Ethridge Company, 200 South State, Chicago
Height/Build: Short/Slender
Color of Eyes/Hair: Brown/Brown
Signature: June 5, 1917

Balloon Corps, American Expeditionary Forces
Panoramic draftsman, 1918–1919

Cook County, Illinois, Marriage Index
Name: Edward Gentle
Age: 29
Marriage Date: December 16, 1919
Marriage Place: Chicago, Cook, Illinois
Spouse Name: Ruth R. Running
Spouse Age: 22

1923 Chicago, Illinois, City Directory
Name: Edward Gentle
Occupation: Artist
Street address: 140 S Dearborn
Telephone: Sta 6561

The Inland Printer
April 1925
“Decorative Design and Lettering”
Eight-page feature of Gentile’s work

The Inland Printer
October 1925
page 114: Our Cover Designer
We asked Edward Gentle, designer of the cover for this volume of The Inland Printer, where he found the material for his design and just what style or period it represented. Mr. Gentle told us that back in 1914 he was browsing around in an old book store in New York, in search of material, when the old bookseller said to him: “Mr. Gentle, I have an old book lying around here that maybe you can get something out of.” with that he brought forth an old book, printed in Paris in the early nineteenth century. The book appears to be of the nature of a private edition, the title page containing the following: 


de Meubles
dans le Style du 16 Siecle
dedie a
son Altesse Royale
la Princesse Clementine
a Paria
Cher. Deflorenne Editeur 
Quai de l’ Ecole, No.

In this book are illustrations of friezes, facades and various ornamentation of the French Renaissance period. It is from this rare old book that Mr. Gentle obtained his ideas. Mr. Gentle is a well known decorative illustrator of Chicago. Examples of his work appeared in the April issue of The Inland Printer.

Eastern Edition of Advertising Arts and Crafts
Lee & Kirby, 127
page 244: Gentle, Edward, 10 East Huron, Del 3475 Chicago, Ill. Allegorical, Animals, Arch. Rendering, Borders, Decoration, Decorative Wash, Design, Direct by Mail Art, Figure, Historical Subjects, Interiors, Landscapes, Layout...

The Italians in Chicago: A Study in Americanization
Giovanni Ermenegildo Schiavo
Italian American Publishing Company, 1928
page 97: Thirty-first Annual Exhibition by artists of Chicago and vicinity at the Art Institute of Chicago, February 5, to March 8, 1927:
…Edward Gentile, The Spirit of Culver.

American Art Directory
Volume 27
R.R. Bowker, 1930
page 529: Gentle, Edward, 3 East Ontario St.; Chicago, Ill.; h. Grand Ave. and Ruby St., Franklin Park, Ill.
Des., illumination—Born Chicago, July 20, 1890. Pupil of AIC.

American Art Annual
Volume 28
MacMillan Company, 1931
page 547: Gentle, Edward, 224 West Superior St., Chicago; 339 Harrison St., Oak Park, Ill. P., I., C, T.—Born Chicago, Ill., July 20, 1890. Self-taught. Works: Cover designs for “Compton’s Pictured Encyclopedia” and “Our Wonder World,” and coat of arms. Specialty, illuminated manuscripts.

American Art Annual
Volume 29
MacMillan Company, 1932
page 455: Gentle, Edward, 224 West Superior St., Chicago; 339 Harrison St., Oak Park, Ill. P., I., C, T.—Born Chicago, Ill., July 20, 1890. Self-taught. Works: Cover designs for “Compton’s Pictured Encyclopedia” and “Our Wonder World,” and coat of arms. Specialty, illuminated manuscripts.

p496: Gentle, Edward, 224 West Superior St., Chicago, Ill.
Illumination—See biog. notes in Directory of Graphic Artists.

Who’s Who in American Art
Volume 1
R. R. Bowker, 1935
page 203: Gentle, Edward, 109 North Oak Park Ave., Oak Park, Ill.
Des., Dr.—Born Chicago, Ill., July 20, 1890. Self-taught. Works: Cover designs for “Compton’s Pictured Encyclopedia” and “Our Wonder World,” and coat of arms. Specialty, illuminated manuscripts.

1940 United States Federal Census
Name: Edward Gentle
Age: 49
Birthplace: Illinois
Home in 1940: Oak Park, Cook, Illinois
Street: 109 North Oak Park Avenue
Residence in 1935: Same Place
Occupation: Art Supervisor
House Owned or Rented: Rented
Value of Home or Monthly Rental if Rented: 30
Attended School or College: No
Highest Grade Completed: High School, 1st year
Duration of Unemployment: 6
Class of Worker: Wage or salary worker in Government work
Weeks Worked in 1939: 52
Income: 1128
Income Other Sources: Yes
Household Members:
Name / Age
Edward Gentle, 49
Ruth R Gentle, 43
Amadeus Gentle, 19
Urania Gentle, 16

World War II Draft Registration Card
Name: Edward Gentle
Age: 52
Birth Date: 20 Jul 1890
Birth Place: Chicago, Illinois, USA
Residence: Oak Park, Illinois, USA
Address: 109 North Oak Park Avenue
Employer: Illinois Art and Craft Project, 679 North Wells, Chicago
Height/Weight: 5’ 3.5” / 120 lbs
Eyes/Hair: Brown/Black
Signature: April 27, 1942

The Christian Science Monitor
February 16, 1946
“All-But-Lost Art Revived”

Buffalo Courier-Express
(New York)
March 27, 1946
“Revives Medieval Art”

The Boston Herald

September 8, 1946
“Revives Medieval Art”

The World-Herald
(Omaha, Nebraska)
September 26, 1946
“Ex-WPA Artist Spurns $35,000”

The Medieval Art of Illumination as Applied to Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address
Fine Arts Print Guild, 1946
Promotional brochure

Who’s Who in America
Volume 34 (1966–1967)
Marquis Who's Who, 1967
page 763: Gentile, Edward, designer, illuminator; b. Chicago, Ill., July 20, 1890; a. Joseph and Mary (Tise) G.; student Art Inst., Chicago, 1911–12; m Ruth R. Running, Dec. 16, 1919; children—Amadeus Edward, Urania Ruth. Commercial artist North American Newspaper, Phila., Pa., 1914; with Studio of Design and Lettering, N.Y. City, 1914–17; free lance artist, 1919–30; manuscript illuminator from 1930. Served as panoramic draftsman Balloon Corps, A.E.F., 1918–19. Paintings extensively displayed in Chicago by U.S. Treasury Dept. in war bond sales. Designs reproduced by The Inland Printer, 1925. Exhibitor at Art Inst. Chicago, Marshall Field Galleries, All-Ill. Soc., one-man show Chicago Galleries, one man exhibit, Town Club. Address: 832 Wisconsin, Oak Park Ill.

Who Was Who in America, 1969–1973
Marquis Who's Who, 1973
page 265: same as above except address, “Oak Park IL” and addition of death date, “Died Aug. 4, 1968”

Kankakee County, Illinois Death Index
Name: Edward Gentle
Death Date: August 4, 1968

Social Security Death Index
Name: Edward Gentle
Last Residence: 60202 Evanston, Cook, Illinois, USA
Born: 20 Jul 1890
Died: Aug 1968

(Next post on Monday: X-Force Logo)