Widely recognized for his work on "The Rock" sculpture on Berth 1, local artist Dave Rubin also has delved into the process of designing book covers — his latest work is reflected on the front and back covers of a book written by an old friend with First City ties.
"Wanderlusting" by Gary McWilliams originally was published in 2014, and chronicles the author's own adventures in Alaska through the 1970s and '80s.
After not being satisfied with the prior cover editions, McWilliams recently collaborated with Rubin, whom he had met in the '80s.
Rubin met McWilliams in 1983 after performing in Ketchikan with his band Tattoo, alongside Fred Simmons, Tom Dunn and Rick Palacios.
"Our band was playing at the Sourdough," Rubin recalled during a Monday afternoon interview with the Daily News. "And after we finished and (asked) if anybody knew a place where we could stay, the four of us — because we'd just gotten of the ferry and had nowhere to stay — and (McWilliams) came up and said that he had a boat down at Thomas Basin called the Hyack and that it had four empty bunks on it and that we were welcome to come down and sleep there. "
The band accepted McWilliams' offer.
Years later, as McWilliams was on the prowl for a new cover, they connected.
"I've known him a long time," said Rubin. "He knows I'm a painter — I painted his portrait once. It's in the (Tongass Historical Museum). And I said, 'Yeah, you should maybe us that one for the cover.'"
McWilliams thought about separating his book into two volumes, but decided to keep the 400-plus page book in one piece, meaning that he only need two images, for the front and back covers.
That portrait currently housed at the Tongass Historical Museum ended up on the back cover of the eighth edition of "Wanderlusting."
"So he wanted one picture for the cover and he was going to use the painting I had already done of him for the back cover, " Rubin explained.
McWilliams continued to search for a fitting title image for "Wanderlusting."
"It really wasn't right," Rubin said of past concepts. "So then he found an old photograph of himself that was taken on a freighter in New Orleans back in the '70s. I looked at that and I said, 'Well, that would be a really great cover.'"
And with that, Rubin set about bringing the picture to life, crafting another yet portrait of McWilliams. This time, his subject was standing in the sun on a freighter, framed by a second vessel in the background.
It is this design that is featured on the cover of the eighth and most current edition of McWilliam's book.
"Wanderlusting" is not the first book that Rubin has worked on. He designed the covers of local author Mike Harpold's book "The People We Wanted to Forget" in 2018, and Harpold's first book, "Jumping the Line."
"You work hard to make it right," Rubin said of designing a cover.
"It's sort of like the poster for the movie, you know," Rubin commented. "It's the first thing people are going to see. And you have the author's idea of what should be the cover, and you have to sort of satisfy that."
Rubin said that most difficult part of creating a book's cover is knowing that many people will measure the book based on that design.
"Knowing it's going to be the first impression that people have of the book and what it is (is difficult)," Rubin explained. "I mean, you're actually in this endeavor, you're really, really aware that people judge a book by its cover, when the advice is not to."
Rubin added, "This one, we're suggesting, 'Yes, judge this book by its cover.'"