Faux book covers for modern Les Mis AUs

The Subtle Grace of Gravity

Okay, so. Over the course of this year, I read one bazillion Les Misérables modern alternate universe stories. (You're like "what???" Take Victor Hugo's student revolutionaries and place them in a modern setting – or space! or Hogwarts! — and you get stories about social justice with lots of puns, pining and found family dynamics. I AM SO THERE.) I am consistently blown away by the talent of this fandom. They write whole books, good ones, and put them on the internet for free. I just. Never getting over it.

Anyway. I was chatting with one of the authors last week about Hamilton, visited her tumblr and saw where she had ordered a quilt kit named Gravity. (Because she wrote an Amis in space tale — The Subtle Grace of Gravity.) I remembered being super impressed with her story — medusa in space! With computer hackers and searching for a new world! I decided to make a faux book cover for her.

Filed under: *muffled screaming* you GUYS LOOK AT THIS LOOK AT HOW AMAZING IT IS there is so much though that went into this I am beside myself perpetually in awe of people who make things inspired by my words

The photo is from NASA, taken by Apollo16 (that's a nerdy reference to one of the Les Mis characters often being referred to as Apollo) and the diamond pattern is to mimic the Gravity quilt. (Yeah, you thought I'd go with hexagons, didn't you? I KEEP YOU GUESSING.)

Her friend Nell reblogged the cover, which made me go "oh! I should make one for one of her stories..." She had one I really liked the world-building of — a whole gods and goddesses thing – called Silence is the Speech of Love. Aphrodite played a large role in the story, so I did an image search to see if anything caught my eye...

Tags: look at this!!!!! the little home-shrine set-up with APHRODITE this is so lovelyyyyyyyyyy sometimes i write stories and sometimes people make WONDERFUL THINGS based from them the mythology au

...and then Myrmidryad reblogged the covers and SHE wrote this Pacific Rim fusion which was perfect but I didn't have time to properly track down imagery to make a cover that would look like a movie tie-in, so I made one for her story set in a bowling alley:


I gave up on this one midway. The background was too busy and the title was so long! But I pulled it out of the trash instead of letting it best me. Absolute favorite part: the subtle blue/purple drop shadow.

Separately, I had told another author that her story made me cry (this is what happens when I read fanfic at 4am) and I couldn't help but go "well, what would I do for a cover on that one?"

Now of course I kind of want to make more of these. But these were all born of the stress of MY LAST WEEK AT THE TIMES, where I needed a creative outlet to not implode.

(Resisting the urge right now to see what I'd come up with for the one set on a Christmas tree farm...)

Rainbow Rowell bookmarks and such

Rainbow Rowell bookmark set (print size)

I made this set of bookmarks for Lesley who runs The color scheme made itself. It's a quote from each of her books and her short story in an anthology — mostly in publication order. I swapped Landline & Fangirl to have Cath adjacent to Carry On. And of course Midnights needed to be the indigo color!

Aside from the fall issue of Gadsden Style (which just feels boring by this point to make posts about), I think all my most recent designs have been Rainbow-related. Like the cover art for my Carry On fanmix.

cover art for my Carry On fanmix

And I had another friend read Eleanor & Park, so I made another graphic using a quote from the book...

Quote from Eleanor & Park

Then just because I was downloading a space photo for something else, I made something with the quote about stars from Carry On...

the stars feel close enough to touch

Advancing Women to the Top logo

Client: Would you be interested in creating a logo for an upcoming event that The Chamber is hosting? The event is called Advancing Women to the Top. It's a two-hour seminar that consists of 10 minute "talks" that are uplifting and motivating for women. We hope that it grows into a two-day conference next year. We're seeing great response already from just our initial discussions.

Me: I went looking for arrow art, since it could denote upward movement and I liked this pattern I found. So I stole the double stacked arrows (like a mini mountain) and just put the words next to it. But I put all this on top of the pattern so you could get a hint of that, too. We can break the words out of course!

Client: We love it!!! Fantastic!

The logo on some swag at the event:

Brooks Consulting logo

Brooks: "I need a logo."

Me: "I'm in! Any idea of what you want?"

Brooks: "Yay! I like simple, clean lines but not cold or super corporate, since I will have the focus on small, local and community."

[back and forth on possible designs, serif or sans serif fonts, color choices]

Me: "I think the blue is a good choice: pulls on the water aspect of your name BUT ALSO can tie in to the sea (like your Cali roots) and the river (your Gadsden home)."

Brooks: "LOVE!"

Seen on Scene

My editor wanted info cards our staff could hand out to readers to inform them about our new Seen on Scene photo galleries. This isn't what he had in mind, but I knew which company he'd use to have the cards made and my philosophy is that if you have the option to bleed? Bleed.

(Also, he liked them design and said he knew I'd take it and run with it anyway.)

The starburst pattern is to be reminiscent of a camera's flash. (You probably knew that.)

Art of Beer logo

The problem with waiting, oh, say, A YEAR since you designed a logo to blog about it is that I can no longer remember what the client told me she was looking for. She was pleased with the end result, though. (I just wish I could remember more of the process!) We were going for a crafty, arty feel. The ART of CRAFT BEER, y'know?

But we worked on this in fall 2014 for an event that took place spring 2015, so I couldn't unveil the logo at the time. And then I just forgot. Alas. I did find this note that I sent with prelim designs:

I like these circular messy backgrounds. The mess is reminiscent of creating and the circle is like the messy print that would be left by a bottle or glass.

It was fun to see the logo on promotional materials and little tasting mugs:

One of my logos in the wild

A photo posted by Laura Catoe (@damecatoe) on

Best indirect compliment I got on this logo: finding out somebody was berated for "stealing it." They were like "you can't just appropriate someone else's logo..." and were told "I didn't; I had Laura Catoe design this one." Good enough to assume it was thefted — nice.

The world is better with me in it

Laura, would you have time to come up with a Life Skills logo we could put on t-shirts and the notepads for the camp?

Here are the characters: 世界因我而精彩

The English is “The world is better with me in it.”

We have equal guys and girls, so it would need to appeal to both.

Any ideas?

Do you know what dimensions you need? Or a number of colors?

It should be horizontal, don’t you think? To go across a tshirt? Maybe no more than 3 colors?

So here is something I learned: all the globe art I have cuts off ALL of Asia. Like, I wanted to play with including the earth, y'know? But not one that doesn't even SHOW Asia. Hmph.

Well that is interesting. : ) I just had to order crystal world globes for the cleft trip, and I learned that in EVERY globe, they put the US above China. Like we are lording over them. YIKES.

Okay, this is supposed to be an abstract globe, but I'm not sure it reads as that unless you know it's supposed to be that...

I love it!!!!!!!!!!!! Super, super cool and powerful. Let me run it by the China team members to make sure they love it as well. THANK YOU!!!!! :)

Yes, you are

I know the only way to get better at these is do more of them and I mean to and then... never do. Alas. Much like I mean to keep this blog updated...

You are a feminist

From this essay

Year of the Sheep

Love Without Boundaries needed a design for their Chinese New Year cards and sent me the photo of the adorable kiddo in a sheep costume.

They also wanted a design where a parent could add their own photo.

I also recently designed their annual report. I did it one page at a time and never looked at how it would turn out flip-book style. D'oh! So many pages where the boxes don't line up. Design woes.

Fandomtines 2015

In 2013, I made a set of "Primevalentines" — styled like the themed valentines you pick up to hand out to classmates. And last year, I made valentines for the fandoms that helped me through the adoption wait.

This year, they aren't so much "valentines" as just Graphics for My Current Fandoms. (I knew I'd be disappointed to not make something.) I started with Les Mis AUs.

(Uh, yeah, see, I read Les Mis in high school and honestly, I don't remember Enjolras or Grantaire's characters at all. But I have a friend who likes this pairing and she knows I love a good AU, so she sends me little portions of fics and then I get intrigued and... yeah, I have accidentally joined the Les Mis AU fandom. Nerd pitfall.) One of the writers that has delighted me to no end is idiopathicsmile. This is taken from one of her fics:

Next up is the Hexagon Fandom, which is really just Fandom Fandom... as in, how fun to connect with people elsewhere over something as simple as "hey, hexagons are rad!"

Hexagon fandom

Then I wanted to do something for Teen Wolf. I was thinking Stiles but couldn't decide upon my angle and then Kris and I watched the episode where Papa Argent bellows "another werewolf?!?"

My newest fandom is The 100, so of course there was gonna be a Bellarke one. (This one is my least fave as I rushed it a little in my eagerness to share with yadykates...)

All that was left was Landline. MollieKatie had requested that there be a Landline valentine, but she had no specifics for me. I tried flipping through the book for ideas but all I would end up doing was re-reading several chapters at a time. (Ah, Rainbow.) Finally I decided: SUBPLOT ROMANCE. And the pugs.

Book cover for The 4th Corner

When Liz Ashe mentioned that she was getting close to publishing the sequel to In Shadowside, I pestered her to find out if I'd get to design the cover for it. And I did!

The 4th Corner is available on

Logos for the family business

I adored North & Marigold in Stephanie Perkins' tale in My True Love Gave To Me, so I decided to design a fake t-shirt for his family's business — the Drummond Christmas tree farm. While I was working on it, I realized there really needed to be a companion design for Marigold's mom's restaurant.

I tweeted these at the author & was delighted that she linked and reblogged them: