My Great-Grandfather, the Alien - ancestral story book

by Katie Carmichael

Inspired by a long-standing family legend, My Great-Grandfather, the Alien tracks the mysterious life of a Depression-era human of New York. This unique book design takes a family story and gives it universal appeal. Double page spread illustrations throughout the book are made from objects, archive photographs, maps and documents to illustrate the life journey - and suspicious death - of author and illustrator Katie Carmichael's infamous ancestor.

The family legend in Scotland was that Thomas had been murdered on New York's docks in the 1930s. Almost a century on, his descendant's investigation raised as many questions as answers. This art book graphic novel presents the story in a highly engaging way, vividly bringing this forgotten story of a black sheep of the family to life.
Thomas Carmichael was involved in secret World War One experiments, worked for one of the USA's most notorious corporations, left his family in Scotland and finally died in mysterious circumstances, being laid to rest in an unmarked grave in New York. This artwork-rich story shines a light both on the life story of one man and on vital hidden history of Scotland and the USA.
The overall design and illustrations tell the story as much as the words, providing an immersive experience for readers. Carefully selected typography, paper weight and colour palette echo the styles of the eras, helping to transport readers on a journey through time and space from the slums of Victorian Glasgow to iconic 1930s New York.
This tactile and visual feast from the designer and first time author has inspired and delighted designers and family historians alike. What began as an artistic process that sought to find closure for an ancestor's sudden and unexplained death has become a tale that has warmed the hearts of people worldwide. In 2020 Who...


Gold in Book Design 2021, Freelancer

Created by:


Katie Carmichael

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