Art director Nicholas Blechman presents The New York Times' selections for the best book covers of 2013, including The Circle by Dave Eggers, designed by Jessica Hische, Without Their Permission by Reddit founder Alexis Onahian, designed by Oliver Munday, and The Art of Sleeping Alone by Sophie Fontanel, designed by Ben Wiseman.

See some of the year’s favorite books, which also happen to have some pretty great covers, here, here, and here

(HT GalleyCat)


Tigerstripe Camouflage

Of all the camouflage patterns, tigerstripe is probably the most instantly recognizable and visually attractive design there is. Produced in South-East Asia during the Vietnam war in a variety of versions, it was initially issued to US Army Special Forces troops who valued its functionality and concealment properties in jungle environments, and regarded it as a kind of status symbol.

Later, tigerstripe suits became available from local tailor shops, and were privately purchased by other personnel – pilots, reporters, photographers etc – as a distinctive and fashionable alternative to the standard olive-green uniform. Tigerstripe has also gained notoriety in popular culture, being worn by Dennis Hopper’s photojournalist character in Apocalypse Now, and on stage by Joe Strummer.

Tigerstripe Zig Zag

US Army Special forces recruited tribal villagers to assist them in the more inhospitable regions of South Vietnam, and issued them with tigerstripe uniforms. One of the rarest and most interesting patterns has been christened the Zig Zag pattern, because of the way the background colours move diagonally across the horizontal black stripes. Legend has it that it also includes a phallic symbol as a sign of bravado for the ethnic tribesmen.

Maharishi Reproduction Tigerstripe Zig Zag

Nowadays, it is extremely hard to find original tigerstripe garments, and even harder for those of a larger build to find wearable sizes, as the majority were manufactured in small Asian size ranges. Maharishi have faithfully reproduced one of the rarest and most desirable tigerstripes, the Zig Zag pattern, in authentic colours, fabric and cut and incorporated the phallic symbol found in the original pattern.

Specific styles of cut associated with this pattern are the two pocket shirt with straight cuffs, pants with two thigh pockets and boonie hat with foliage loops around the crown. These authentic reproductions are a limited edition of 500 sets only worldwide, and have never been reproduced before. Whilst nobody would doubt Blechman’s camouflage knowledge is bordering the perverse in its depth, he has acknowledged the still deeper artist and re-enactor Neil Holdom as the inspiration and resident expert for this project.

Maharishi SS/2008

The New York Times has a great animated post on their site, exploring the production of Parmigiano-Reggiano from cow to counter. Art and text are provided by the illustrator Nicholas Blechman. It’s especially timely, given that Parmigiano was one of the cheeses in danger during the FDA’s short-lived “no-cheese-aged-on-wood” #SaveOurCheese fiasco. 


Hardy Blechman on Norman Wilkinson’s WWI ‘Damdazzle’ camouflage 


Vintage Alka Seltzer ad by illustrator R.O. Blechman, who is being honored with the 25th annual Masters Series Award and exhibition at SVA. Exhibition up from October 2nd – November 2nd at the SVA Chelsea Gallery; reception next Thursday, October 3rd.


Barry Morrow won an Emmy Award, with Corey Blechman, for the teleplay of Bill, a 1981 TV movie about his experience of befriending and caring for a mentally disabled man named Bill Sackter. Dennis Quaid played Morrow, while Mickey Rooney won the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or a Special for his portrayal of Sackter.

Morrow received sole writing credit for the 1983 sequel, Bill: On His Own, and six years later he won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay, with Ronald Bass, for Rain Man, starring Dustin Hoffman as autistic savant Raymond Babbitt, a character Morrow based on a savant he’d met in 1984 named Kim Peek. Hoffman won Best Actor for his performance; Rain Man also received Oscars for Best Director (Barry Levinson) and Best Picture (Mark Johnson, producer).