Tuesday, February 13, 2018

When Light Left Us

This beautiful book is out today, and I had an excellent time developing the cover for it - mainly because I was specifically asked to get inking, and the entire cover was do be created from the ink work I love doing so much.

The book is an unusual work of Young Adult fiction - yes, it has an alien in it, but it's not sci-fi, nor is it fantasy.

The Good Reads review - always dependable - outlines the story thus:

When the Vasquez siblings’ father left, it seemed nothing could remedy the absence in their lives . . . until a shimmering figure named Luz appeared in the canyon behind their house.

Luz filled the void. He shot hoops with seventeen-year-old Hank’s hands. He showed fourteen-year-old Ana cinematic beauty behind her eyelids. He spoke kindly to eight-year-old Milo. But then Luz left, too, and he took something from each of them. As a new school year begins, Ana, Hank, and Milo must carry on as if an alien presence never altered them. But how can they ever feel close to other people again when Luz changed everything about how they see the world and themselves? 

In an imaginative and heartfelt exploration of human—and non-human—nature, Leah Thomas champions the unyielding bonds between family and true friends.

Here are the many stages of evolution that this cover went through - I had so many ideas, but as ever, you can use only one!

There were several ideas. Rather than traditional rejections, with this cover it was really organic process, and I sent along a lot of initial ideas as I had quite a few after reading the synopsis and parts of the manuscript. Making the type to be the main attraction was important, as was creating an air of expectancy and mystery - this story does, after all, involve an alien life form.

The figure, though devoid of an obvious gender or age, was deemed too literal a representation of this kind, friendly life form, whose name is Luiz, and who is described as a ‘shimmering figure’. I did love the figure though, and he’s stayed pinned up in my studio ever since! The scrubby, desert landscape was important to capture, so that took centre stage. Donna at Bloomsbury was the art director on this; we’ve worked together many times, so it was an easy process - she is very clear about what she likes, and is great at seeing things I can’t.

I really wanted a glowing moon, and this was created with my age-old technique of drawing through the coloured ink with bleach. This is one of my oldest ink-tricks - I discovered it as a young teen having borrowed my Dad’s Quink and nib pens - and I still use it today; you can see it in a lot of my work. It's incredibly satisfying to have to wait a few seconds for what you've drawn to emerge on the paper. All of the art was created with ink on A3 cartridge paper, then scanned and the final cover pieces together digitally. There was no tweaking of the ink work - just the type, which is created of several layers of ghostly, fading-in-and-out typeset layers.

Thank you to Donna at Bloomsbury for asking me to create this one - I loved every second of it!

Buy the book here.

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