Spring 2016

Anatomy of a Magazine Cover

Artist Davide Bonazzi talks about how he developed concepts to illustrate Phil Haydon’s Alzheimer’s research

By Davide Bonazzi

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Watch a slideshow of the sketches Bonazzi made as he developed concepts for the cover story of the spring issue of the magazine.

125x125_Bonazzi revyellowThe challenge in developing illustrations for the cover and cover story of this issue of Tufts Medicine was to find a solution that captured a negative and gloomy situation, as Alzheimer’s is for people affected as well as for their relatives and friends, but with a message of hope inside.

I used the image of a brain as the main visual anchor in order to make a strong connection with the subject. One idea that came to my mind offered some different visual suggestions: a ray of light in the middle of a storm, a bridge that provides shelter from rain, a portion of sky with the shape of a brain.

It probably was a bit complicated and hard to understand as it is, so art director Betsy Hayes and I decided to turn that empty portion of the sky into a rising sun, with the same shape of a brain. That became the full-page illustration that was used with the story inside the magazine.

For the cover, we decided to use the brain as a parched desert landscape, with the ray of hope for curing Alzheimer’s represented by the tiny seedling, thrusting its way out of the cracked earth, sustained by the drops of water that signify the promise of Philip Haydon’s  research.

It’s curious to see how the process of developing an illustration involves changes and adjustments, and often gets enriched by exchanges of view and opinions.

Bonazzi, who was born and raised in Bologna, Italy, is an award-winning illustrator who has done work for The Wall Street Journal, Scientific American, Penguin Random House and Paramount Pictures Channel, among others. His style combines digital with textures of scanned found objects to give his conceptual illustrations a warm and evocative atmosphere. See more of his work at davidebonazzi.com.

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