Roman K. Muradov is an illustrator originally from Moscow, Russia and currently living in San Francisco, California. He has a BS Engineering degree from Gunkin Russian State University of Oil and Gas (whoah) and a MFA from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco (much better). He is an instructor and Senior Lecturer at both Academy of Art University and California College of the Arts. He has a varied career of teaching, book/newspaper/magazine illustrating, graphic novel writing, award winning, and many other venues of expression that I’m sure I’m not aware of.
Muradov’s cover for the 2015 CC release of Day for Night is the highlight of a very strong package for this well-regarded film’s induction into the Criterion Canon. Roman is a self-professed non-movie buff but he recognized easily that this great film is all about “the process” and that certainly fits well with the mindset of an illustrator. His imagery is absolutely perfect for the tone and content of the film and that is why I voted it my favorite cover of 2015.
… AD Eric [Skillman] specifically asked me to draw a meat grinder with a neat strip of film coming out. I was worried that the requested chaos would stand out among the predominantly minimalist Criterion covers, so right away I decided on a simple vibrant color scheme to unify all the imploding details. … Logic, particularly in scale, had to be avoided. It’s not often that an Art Director asks you to draw something messy and chaotic, so I was pretty excited to see how far it can go. Of course, a balanced accidental arrangement is much harder to figure out than a sensible pattern, so it took a good deal of tweaking, rearranging and disrupting. I wrote a long list of objects and recurring motifs, grouping them by shapes and colors, as well as by their appearance in connection to the characters. For most of them I tried to approximate the feel of a half-remembered image slowly drifting in and out of focus.
Originally I had the camera eating and defecating tape, but the Art Director said it makes no sense in terms of filmmaking. Needless to say, questions of sense are at best peripheral in my concerns, but I had to obey and cut off the tape, letting it loop through the backside, filled entirely with text. I kept the coloring much simpler than the cover, so it doesn’t compete with the text.
Roman Muradov’s clients include: New Yorker, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Penguin, Random House, Vogue, Time, NPR, GQ, Washington Post, Nobrow Press, Lucky Peach, Google, Motorola, Scout Books, Chronicle Books, Plansponsor, Houghton Mifflin, Knopf (plus more Criterion, if my vote counts for anything).
For more information please see the links below under Primary Sources.
Note: This article was sourced from a short email conversation with Mr. Muradov and Internet information. Errors are those of the original articles, but editing and assumptions I take blame for.
I thank Roman for the generous access to his process post via Patreon.