Blurb’s senior designer is more like an artist in residence

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Our man Lesh is Blurb’s in-house illustrator. (Real name: Samuel Leshnick.) Powered by a daily double-toasted “everything” bagel with lox, he hand illustrates all of the backgrounds, borders, and ornaments in BookSmart’s themes. They embody a wide range of moods, esthetics, and subjects, but they all begin the same way. As graphite pencil sketches.

From there, Lesh refines his work in ink and eventually begins a very lengthy digitization process. In his own words, “Illustration is about problem solving.” For example, when it came to BookSmart’s new wedding themes, Lesh had to develop four distinct looks reflecting popular wedding styles. None of the illustrations could feature gradations; he had to create silhouettes. The challenge, once solved, gave way to Flora, Flirty, Baroque, and Deco. They’re so beautiful/hip/irresistible we see people using them for non-wedding books all the time. The Flora images below are an example of Lesh’s illustration process.

Initial Graphite Sketch

picture 37 Blurbs senior designer is more like an artist in residence

India Ink Draft

picture 38 Blurbs senior designer is more like an artist in residence

Digital Composition

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As it appears in BookSmart

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Now you know why we say we don’t use cookie-cutter, store-bought images in BookSmart. Blurbarians have their pick of original, artistic elements.

And thanks to Lesh, we offer hundreds of hand drawn items across 15 themes in BookSmart. He’s a busy guy. And way talented. (And hilariously funny, even tempered, and smart, but we don’t want him to get arrogant, so lets stop there.)

Do you have a favorite theme? Care to suggest one? You can bet Lesh will read your comments and you might see them appear in a future version of BookSmart.

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4 Comments

  1. Aloha Lesh, love love bagels. If you ever get to our neck of the woods you have to try Smoked Marlin in cream cheese with sweet Maui onions…sooooo ONO! Any hoo can you come up with a theme of Orchids for the Wedding section? They’re so weddingish. Thanks for all the beautiful designs.

    By Nhu Mai
      March 25, 2008 – 2:54 pm   Permalink
  2. Thanks for the kind words. Where in Hawaii are you writing from? Smoked Marlin, I’m salivating. I’ll keep orchids in mind for a future background. In the meantime, as an alternative, may I suggest trying your own hand at creating an orchid background. You can either draw the orchid or manipulate a photograph of one in Photoshop. Once you have a digital version you can import the image into your Personal Content Library (PCL) and place it into a full bleed layout page.

    Aloha,
    Lesh

      March 26, 2008 – 9:31 am   Permalink
  3. Aloha, sorry it’s taken so long to get back. Where the heck does time go these days? I’m in Kona on the Big Island. Officially Hawaii, Hawaii. Like New York, NY. But nobody calls us that…sigh…so we’re stuck with the Big Island…makes us all sound rather large. Of course if I keep eating all those bagels I might just resemble that comment. LOL I think (know) your orchids would be much better than anything I could come up with. BUT…you have inspired me so I’m going to try it out. Kind of exciting. I hope I don’t disappoint myself. I’ll let you know how it goes.

    Mahalo for your help (kokua)

    By Nhu Mai
      April 8, 2008 – 2:11 am   Permalink
  4. Hi,

    I want to import some images to the PCL to use as borders- how do I do this? The only import feature I see is for another book.

    THanks,
    JAne

    By Jane
      March 29, 2010 – 9:32 am   Permalink

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