Cover Design for “No Punchline” By Jeff Suwak


Cover for “No Punchline.” Copyright Jeff Suwak, 2014

I had the pleasure of designing the book cover for Jeff Suwak’s short story, “No Punchline:
Or, The Night Chale Thayer Blew his Head off at the Punch Drunk Comedy Club.” This was a really exciting project. Not only do I resonate with Jeff’s writing, but I found the subject of this short story to be particularly interesting. There is darkness in it, but also lightheartedness; humor, as well as extreme human pain and suffering; and tenderness juxtaposed with violence.

For the design, Jeff wanted a very simple approach where images were used minimally, if at all—an approach that relied more on typography to get the feel of the novel across. I can’t tell you how excited I was to get my hands on this project!


My crazy studio as I worked on "No Punchline"

My crazy studio as I worked on “No Punchline”

Over the course of a few weeks, I sketched out thumbnails and drafts, created multiple layouts, and finally narrowed the design down to the final image. In the end, I created the cover by hand using pen and ink on medium textured paper. There is something about Jeff’s short story—the humanness of it all, the suffering, the immediacy of it—that made doing the artwork by hand very important.

I am so pleased with the result, and I know that Jeff Suwak is too. Not only has he been a great client to work for, but I am so thrilled that my artwork is being used for such a fabulous story. Jeff has this habit of just knocking my socks off with his writing, and this story is no exception. I really encourage you all to go and give it a read—you’ll be glad that you did!

If you need some convincing, go ahead and read my Amazon review:

Jeff Suwak is a mad genius. I have been chewing over the meaning of this short story for about two months now, and it has still got me thinking. I think the topic is especially germane given the recent suicide of comedian Robin Williams. What is the purpose of life? Why are we here? And what happens when something so insanely irrational occurs that logic fails and we suddenly get the joke?

Gritty, poignant, and darkly funny, this is the kind of story that I keep returning to, and I find new meaning in it every time.

What I love about all of Suwak’s work is that good and evil are never as black and white as we think. We are taken beyond a shallow, mundane understanding, beyond logic itself, and are given something more real and meaningful than we had thought possible.

If you haven’t read Suwak’s work yet, you are in for a real treat.

Go read Jeff’s story at:

Jeff Suwak: best client ever:) Thanks again Jeff!

From Facebook. Jeff Suwak is the best client ever:) Thanks again Jeff!