Laszlo Zakarias became my new GD Hero (Graphic Design Hero) when he designed the book cover for my soon-to-released series for Fiction Vortex and Fictionite. The brief for the artwork had a particular request I thought would be hard to manage. But Laszlo succeeded so well, and exceeded my expectations of the cover so much, that I absolutely had to look at more of his work! And ask him a few questions. I know you’ll be just as delighted with him as I am 😀
You design book covers, illustrations and Photoshop art. Can you tell us why these projects interest you?
I’ve always been interested in reality—especially in changing the reality somehow. I worked as a video editor for more than 10 years, which was a way to modify the objective raw material to produce emotions, and thoughts, in a viewer’s mind. Later I found this possibility on other platforms too, like drawing illustrations and modifying photography, and I found this very-very exciting 🙂
As for the book covers: I read a lot. I was in love with book covers since I was a child, so it was only a matter of time to bring together these three (or four) things: the books, the illustrations, design, and me.
What did you most like about working on The Quest For The Wholly Pale fantasy cover?
Making the photo!
I was searching for the right photo for the cover, the one I imagined, but didn’t find anything quite similar to what I had in mind. So I decided to shoot the photo myself, of myself. I put the cover together in my head, then I set up a little studio in my living room, found some old sheet, took a paper and a pen in my hands as place-holders for the paper roll and the wand, and shot a few photographs. It was really fun.
Your brief for the The Wholly Pale had a strange request: a man’s six-fingered hand. It’s a difficult detail to get right, but you did it beautifully! Can you tell us a little about how you did it?
Yeah, fortunately I have six fingers on my left hand, so I just took the photo and that’s it.
No, just kidding. It wasn’t as hard as it seems to be. I just duplicated the little finger and made it look like part of the hand.
Have you had other book or illustration requests which had you thinking ‘out the box’? Can you tell us about one or two of them?
Yes, I like those requests. I don’t really like to make the same thing twice, or something similar to other works. There are a few styles I like and use repeatedly, but I like it most when I can try out something new.
I love visual metaphors, associations, and telling stories with visual elements, so if I have freedom in my work, I usually work with these. Though these are not book covers (yet), here are a few examples.
You’ve done other covers for Fiction Vortex: Gridiron and FuturePunk. These two covers have a different look and feel to your other FV covers. Do you prefer working on a special Laszlo look, or do you think of yourself as a design chameleon?
I don’t think that there would be a special style that could be called my own, and that’s not my goal. The FuturePunk cover was made with 3D software which I just learned to make the cover.
For the Gridiron cover I looked through the internet to learn something about these Aztec-style tattoos and drew them myself. I like to use different styles. It’s much more exciting for me if I can find the right style for the actual task.
Your other work is also fascinating. I love your musical typographical art. What gave you the idea to create them, and how do you choose the songs to use?
I saw this typographic art somewhere, and loved it. I did some quick research and experimented a lot. Then I found out how it goes and started to make these. I only choose songs I love, and which have a special meaning for me.
There’s lots of fun stuff on your website, like the illustrated quotes and your photography. Do you ever get to sleep, or are you permanently hooked into your machine while drinking coffee? 😀
I quit coffee a few years ago, so I sleep well 🙂 But seriously, yep, I’m trying to spend my time being healthy. I work, sleep, eat, do sports, meet people; so I try to keep a balance between doing and experiencing.
About Laszlo from tsg.pictures
I’m Laszlo Zakarias, a Hungary-based freelancer graphic designer. I studied IT but never worked as an IT guy, but have decades of experience in video-editing, photography and graphic design. I’m interested in movies and screen-writing, books, photography (as a hobby), and especially in philosophy—philosophy as a practical science—even if it sounds strange :). I think of Earth as a living being, and humanity as the part of this one big living thing.