Welcome to Under the Cover! In this edition, we take a look at the creation of the cover of Shawn Hitchins’ memoir, A Brief History of Oversharing, out now.
Standing naked on the cover of a book isn’t how most first-time authors would choose to be introduced to an international audience. (Especially after the emotional eating demands of penning a memoir.) It was a simple concept that came to Shawn Hitchins while he washing his apartment’s floor.
“If I’m going to overshare in the book, why not also on the cover?” thought Hitchins. The fiery comedian dropped his wet mop and ran across his apartment to quickly sketch the idea on yellow legal pad.
He immediately photographed the rough drawing and sent it to his friend Ben Steamroller for illustration.
“I don’t know how often ECW gets a revised manuscript with an attached art direction proposal, list of collaborators, and budget,” he laughs. “I don’t believe it’s the norm.”
Hitchins’ work in theatre demands strong high-key marketing visuals with zero budget, and his live shows are recognized for their attention grabbing images.
Over the years, Hitchins has developed a trusted circle of artists to collaborate on his work, and his most important relationships are with some of Toronto’s best photographers. Long-time friend Jen Squires was his immediate choice to shoot his (and her) first book cover.
“Squires is incredibly good at delivering a high-key commercial aesthetic and fast. More importantly, she knows how to shoot around my face,” he quipped. “Did she need to see me nearly nude? Probably not.”
“We saved the reveal for the inside cover, because the visual of the front cover caused people to immediately flip over and read the backs of the galleys,” said Hitchins. “It was probably the first time I’ve sacrificed a joke like that.”
Hitchins laughed (and maybe a bit too hard) when pressed as to how he sourced his statuesque body double, actor Nathaniel Bacon.
“It’s amazing what gorgeous musical theatre performers will do for an honorarium.”
You can get your copy of A Brief History of Oversharing wherever books are sold!