Born into an artistic family, Deas has always had an interest in art. Both his older brother and father have strong illustration skills. Michael J. Deas, his brother, is a master realist painter and one of the premier illustrators in the United States, known for his work for many recognizable images, including The Columbia Pictures logo, the Marilyn Monroe, James Dean and Edgar Allan Poe stamps, The Interview with a Vampire book cover and many Time Magazine covers.
Deas attended the Loyola University in New Orleans, where he majored in graphic design. Because his interest lies primarily in illustration, he tried to incorporate illustration into most of his design projects. Upon graduation, he spent two years working as the production designer and art director at the New Orleans Publishing Group. Accompanied by his college girlfriend and future wife, Deas moved back in with his parents and began his search for a new job.
Living in the town of Garden City, Deas was surrounded by reminders of his childhood. Browsing the shelves in the children's section of the local library, he discovered a career path that he had not previously considered. Deas got employed as an art director at Scholastic in the advertising and promotions department where he worked on several projects, including the promotional materials for the Harry Potter series. He later moved into the trade division where he designed and art directed children’s books.
Deas draws his inspiration for his work from music. Most of his initial drawing skills and hand-lettering are developed from his obsession with rock and jazz music. He spent most of his school hours doodling every textbook, notebook and desk he encountered with names, illustrations, logos and designs related to his favorite artists, including EELs, The National and Interpol.
Other than music, Deas is also inspired by work from other artists and designers in the industry. He particularly admires concert and theater poster designs that are influenced by the styles of early American pop combined with a modern edge. These designs are mostly characterised by great hand-lettering, illustration, and the silk-screening process.
A fan of the Sanford design 2B pencil, Deas starts all of his projects with a sketch, doodle, or note to himself in order to come up with a concept. Through these rough sketches, he thumbs out thoughts as he reads through the manuscripts. Over a variable period of time, he then creates multiple rough cover comps of the sketches using different approaches and styles, including photographic, iconic, illustrative and type, that serves as reference for feedback and approval from the publisher and editor. On average, he designs at least five comps per title. Once the design is narrowed down to a certain direction, the rough comp will be send to an illustrator for the design and creation of a unique look.
The Lunar ChroniclesEdit
From the start, the approach for the The Lunar Chronicles series design was to touch upon the classics and combine it with a futuristic spin. The title is designed in a way to riff on the classic 'once upon a time' feel and to create a strong and slightly wicked vibe through the use of serifs and flourishes. Deas' choice of the font of the title, Aeronaut, was originally based on a lettering he found in a book of old ornamental typefaces and which is an homage to the Neogothic typefaces of the late 1800s, a style that combined mediaeval gothic elements with Arts & Crafts influences. By mixing the new with old, Deas attempts to make a contrast that works in a way similar to cyberpunk.
For Cinder, Deas picked up some common elements from Cinderella that were fairly synonymous with the story in the novel and designed around them. The most used common element in numerous preliminary comps and ideas involved the glass slipper. To bring in the futuristic feel and characteristics of Linh Cinder, he focused on the cyborg as a design element. Ultimately, the cyborg aspect was scaled back to make the cover friendlier and to better resemble Cinder’s personality. The lower portion of the leg and the glass slipper represents Cinder's strong, sexy, fragile and human traits. The partially visible metal parts adds an edginess that makes her imperfect, threatening, but with a hint of secrecy.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Lam, Thuy. "Interview with Cover Designer Rich Deas." Read Now Sleep Later May 4th, 2012.
- ↑ Michael Deas: Illustrations and Portraits. "Biography." 2004.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Schultheis, Shelby. "Going Graphic." LOYNO Magazine 22, no. 3 (2012): 28-29.
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 Feiwel and Friends. "Meet the Staff." 2007.
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 D, Kat. "(Blog Tour) GIVEAWAY & CINDER Cover Design! In-Depth interview with designer Rich Deas." A Backwards Story January 14th, 2012.