Monday, February 08, 2021

Review - The Story of Elvis

Graphic artist Jarod released ‘The Story of Elvis - Through The Eyes Of JaRod Art’ a magazine style book illustrating Elvis career, literally. 

Knowing some of his work from previous publications and on-line media this book brings it all together. Time for a closer look.


When reading the work of a graphic artist, illustrator and designer our expectations for the design are high. And I must say, Jarod Art (a.k.a. Jan Rodenrijs), didn't disappoint. 

The 64-page book comes as a glossy magazine on high quality paper. This works really well with graphic content like this. Although only 64 pages, this really is a book, looking at all the content featured on these pages. This book is really jam-packed with texts and illustrations, a bit too much regarding the number of pages. 


Design and content come together in this book. The design is modern, combining the artists graphic work with essays, illustrating and detailing Elvis musical (his)story. 

Jarod Art created so many artworks (mainly graphics based on real photos) that put together, they covered most of Elvis’ musical career. As he had already written several essays to support some of his work, a combination of these two elements is only logical. 

Structured in three time segments - the fifties, sixties and seventies - the book covers Elvis’ early ambitions of becoming a singer until his last concert as filmed for the CBS Special (and beyond, ‘Rocking Behind Heaven’s Door’, playing with other artists he inspired) in short stories.  

Each story details a certain era or key element in Elvis life, songs like 'Heartbreak Hotel', 'Hound Dog' and 'Memories, movies like 'Viva Las Vegas' and 'Elvis: That's The Way it Is' and events like the Million Dollar Quartet jam, Comeback, Aloha and CBS TV Specials. Key elements most fans know by heart.   

Although there are several illustrated Elvis Presley biographies, and there is another one coming later this year, they are all different thanks to the artist's individual styles. You can discuss style, which is in part personal taste, but Jarod Art did manage to capture the essence of Elvis Presley. 

The same goes for all the persons that are part of Elvis’ story and featured in this illustrated biography. Most fans will recognize all the bystanders instantly. 

Of course some graphics capture our man better than others, but there is so much variation and detail in Elvis and the presentation of our man that I cannot pick a bad one. 

In this book the essays really support the illustrations (usually it is the other way around), they are will written. Each essay, written in a pleasant style, is crammed onto one page, which is a design choice by the author, but I would have preferred spreading the texts over two pages with more white lines for easy reading. This is the only minor I could find. 


I think Jan Rodenrijs has done both himself and Elvis fans a favor by bundling his graphic work and thus telling the musical story of Elvis Presley in a fun way. 

The combination of graphics, with an eye for details and the addition of key-players in miniatures next to the full-page Elvis graphics worked really well. A pleasure to re-read Elvis’s story.

For more information, previews or to buy the book, visit the >>> Jarod Art website