In this memoir, 95-year old author Jim McDougall recounts his personal story of time spent in the South Pacific during World War II. He was an ordnanceman on one of the amphibious “Black Cat” PBY Catalina aircraft. His story offers a frank and touching personal glimpse into one man’s life in the Navy, and the continual tension between boredom and terror that marks the lives of those in active combat.

Creative Brief

Jim recounts his enlistment in the Navy and assignment to the South Pacific in 60 short story arcs. Thoroughly researched, he used a combination of historical references and his own flight log notes, enhanced by old photographs, maps and graphics. As a designer I needed to reprocess a number of old photos, as well as (re)create several graphical elements.

Interior Images

As often happens in this type of project, several of the images were of insufficient quality for press work. Through a combination of resolution adjustments and noise and grain additions I was able to produce a consistent look and feel throughout the book.

Details: Divider Line

I love tailoring divider lines to a books text. It is a traditional embellishment, which I believe adds a certain flair to the pauses in the story. In this case, a swash from the BonBon Ornaments by Feno Type provided a suitable look—reminiscent of the front profile view of the PBY aircraft, and its large twin engines.


The particular deadline for this project was the “Wings of the North” Air Expo at Flying Cloud airport in July 2018. Here author Jim McDougall and his daughter Jackie, who was instrumental in editing and organizing the project, proudly show off copies of the first printing of the book.

After selling out the first run, we tweaked the editorial and a few images and reprinted, again at Bookmobile.

Author Jim McDougall and his daughter Jackie Seeman, who coordinated the project.
Author Jim McDougall and his daughter Jackie Seeman, who coordinated the project.

“I would like to convey special gratitude to Paul Nylander whose creative and technical advice and assistance… brought us over the finish line.”

Author Jim McDougall