JOHN MELO
Illustrator/Graphic Designer


Created the cover illustration for Time Machine II
The sequel to George Pal's 1960 feature film The Time Machine
written by George Pal and Joe Morhaim

 

I started my commercial work about 1970, either 1971/1972 I had a full time job for a while, in what I later felt was the best motion picture advertising agency in the industry. There I realized I was a fairly good concept artist, working with the copywriter and creative director, creating ideas for print campaigns for the film industry. The job entailed electing type, creating logos, working with the artists or photographer to create what would eventually be the print campaign for a film. The company I was employed at, worked on some of the biggest blockbuster movies of the 70’s, it was like going back to school. The agency would work on 3 to 4 films a week, the pace was hectic, but it was great training.

After a while I started freelancing for other similar agencies, eventually starting my own first film advertising agency in 1979 with one of the bosses from the film advertising agency I started with. I created a 2nd agency: Zephyr Communications in 1987. Parallel to my agency work I also creating a career as an illustrator, for the publishing industry, magazines, film, theater, TV etc. . My background in motion picture advertising helped me tremendously, formulating concepts and type solutions, in some cases modifying type when used as a logo. As a paperback illustrator in the beginning, usually after a few assignments, I was told by my clients do what you feel will sell the product. I was given full freedom to create the concepts, sometimes I design the title treatment, other times the in-house designer of the publishing company did. From that point on I created most, if not all the concepts.

The pencil sketch of John Melo's alternate cover for
Time Machine II
image copyright John Melo

CLICK HERE for larger image

 

 

I have been an illustrator most of my life, parallel to that, I started a film & theater entertainment marketing /advertising firm. Science Fiction has been one of my favorite genres. Here is the back story of the creation of the cover art. In 1981, I was honored to be asked to create the paperback cover of George Pal's sequel "Time Machine II". There were actually two pencil concepts created, but I had to choose the simple version based on a tight timetable the publisher had.I still have the original sketch of the more complex version I would have produced if time allowed. Bob Burns at the time helped me by giving me photo references of the original Time Machine prop he had acquired and refurbished.

At the time, I was a full time illustrator for about 14 years as well as a graphic designer for print campaigns for the Motion Picture, Theater and TV Networks, As an Illustrator, my work was primarily in paperback and a small amount in magazines, TV, films and theater.

At the time I was a freelancer doing Sci-Fi, Occult, and Detective. I was working with all the major publishing houses. Some of the covers created were for tie-ins to major TV series as: The 6 Million Dollar Man & The Kojak Series with Telly Savalas. I was producing about 2 paperback covers a month, along with my graphic design work. I had a schedule about 6 months in advance for most of my illustration clients.

About the same time I received the commission for Time Machine II, I was asked by a publisher to produce the cover for a novelization for another Sci-Fi classic: Forbidden Planet, but the assignment never came thru. I presume there was a problem with the rights. In any case Time Machine II was given to me at the last moment with a very tight deadline. Being one of my favorite Sci-Fi films I worked it into my schedule, plus Dell Publishing had been my client from the beginning of my career. The concepts, photography (shot for the cover concept not used) and final art was done in about three and half weeks. As soon as I got the assignment I did some research about the The Time Machine prop, and found Bob Burns. Bob was extremely helpful and supportive in sending me reference material on the machine. I really needed the photo reference since the book was to be a sequel. Some time after the completion of the cover, a movie assignment brought me to LA. I did visit Bob on that trip, and gave him a copy of the concept sketch of the Time Machine Cover that was never rendered. I believe I also gave him a printers proof of the final cover, both of which I presume he may still have.

I still operate my marketing and advertising firm for film and theater. Recently we have expanded into helping Broadway, Off & Off Off Broadway productions to get started, thru readings, development, and marketing of their projects. We are also assisting a few producers on the funding of both theater and film projects.

John Melo resides in New York City, his email address is:
jmelo@zephyr-com(dot)com
replace (dot) with .

Below are further examples of John's work


 

 


Winner of the cover of the year award in 1980
Sold over over 4 million copies.

 

 

 

 

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The Time Machine Project 1998 Don Coleman
Web Site 1999 Don Coleman
Web site created by Don Coleman
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