sketchbook stories :: hugh d’andrade

I can’t remember exactly when I first met Hugh, but what I do vividly remember is his work. Oh, and his hats :-) Hugh has done work for book covers, magazine spreads, Burning Man paraphernalia, board games, as well as the occasional t-shirt and skateboard, but what he is probably best know for is his rock posters. And all I can say is that his posters, really do ROCK! He’s created art for Elvis Costello, Lucinda Williams, Calexico, Joan Jett, Jonathan Richman, and the Avett Brothers. How cool is that!? And in 2008 his red and black striped cat, sporting one of Hugh’s signature hats graced the cover of the Communication Arts Illustration Annual. Hugh is married to the amazing Mati McDonough and says his greatest ambition in life is “To project his mental images into the minds of innocent people everywhere.”


Here is Hugh’s Sketchbook Story ::

HD: People often tell me that there is a spooky, fairy-tale quality to my work, and I’m glad to hear it. I love fairy tales, and I love artwork that is a little scary and a little funny at the same time.  So I was glad when I got a call last year from Penguin’s young adult novel division about doing a cover for a new take on the Brothers Grimm tales.


HD: The book was then called “The Grimm Tale of Hansel & Gretel”. After reading most of the manuscript and having a few conversations with the art director, we decided to feature Hansel & Gretel in a spooky forest. But the key was to have the two kids looking confident and unafraid. This is the first sketch I did.

HD: I had a hard time at first capturing the kids, and we tried a bunch of different versions. (I’ve found that book covers, more than other types of illustration I’ve done, require multiple sketches — many revisions, many versions. Oy!) Here’s a later version.


HD: In the end we used the kids in silhouette, with just a few items  drawn in detail. Here’s how my photoshop file looked as I worked.


HD: I’m really pleased that I got to do the art for the spine, back cover, the lettering for the title and author, as well as interior chapter opener illustrations. It’s a whole package!


HD: Here’s a photo of the final book, now called “A Tale Dark & Grimm.  The New York Times reviewed it recently, and said it was destined to be “a classic.” I’m quite glad to hear that — I’d love to do a sequel!


And here’s where you can find Hugh:


if you are an artist or designer or would like to recommend someone to be featured in Sketchbook Stories please feel free to drop me a line. I’d love to hear from you :-)

  1. Hugh has long been a favorite of mine. His work is so emotive and playful. Never a dull moment.

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