Book design process 2013: Racing the Moon

As mentioned in my previous post, this week I am doing a bit of a retrospective on some of the books I designed this year.

RACING THE MOON // Allen & Unwin

Another Allen & Unwin title I worked on was Racing the Moon, a children’s/young person book. As soon as I got the brief I knew I had to illustrate the cover, in my mind there was no other option, and while I did provide photographic concepts in the first round the publisher agreed – illustrative all the way.

This was a tricky cover, as the story is set in 3 distinct places in 1930s Australia: urban workman suburb Glebe, an upper north shore Sydney Catholic boarding school and a south coast reform school/farm. Which location to show on the cover? I felt Glebe would offer me more scope of concept, so I hopped in the car and drove around the suburb, stopping to take snaps on my iPhone and make a few sketches before heading back to the studio to create the first round concepts.

These concepts are about linking the suburban landscape of Glebe with the terraced houses, to the rolling hills of the south coast/ the moon.

This concept is my favourite cover this year, hands down. I used the optical illusion cube pattern as my inspiration and illustrated workmen’s cottages, stacking them to show urban build up – everyone living in each other’s pockets which is a stark contrast to the open farm in the south coast.

Unfortunately for me, the author was keen to have a more country/rural scene on the cover. So after many rounds of concepts and a revision of illustration style, we had the final book cover.

Internal illustrations, title page pattern and chapter opener icon.

In the end I compromised on my original illustration style of flat colour and black outlines but was able to once again push myself to add more depth to the image with grainy shading and creating brushes in Photoshop. The entire cover was illustrated in Photoshop.