Crandolin: book covers and end credits

Borscht! (rough sketch)
A series of very beautiful things have been arriving in my mailbox, and it is about time to start showing them to you. The first is Anna Tambour’s exceedingly odd, headlong, culinary railway fable Crandolin, from Chômu Press. This rich and perfect cover is by Christopher Conn Askew:

Crandolin-Front-Cover-AskewAnna and I have plans to do something together one day. This was almost it, twice. The first time, time was too tight. The second, the book was ready to publish and the cover was at stake. The book is rather difficult to quantify, and I had read it previously, so agreed to try my hand (knowing the possibility it might not be used – don’t worry, all was fair and above board). I still like my design as an illustration, but Askew has captured the book far better – that shade of red, the twinned images, the feeling of the label of expensive nougat, or a rare olive oil. Mine by contrast is much more, well, Little Golden Book. But here is its history anyway, because I don’t draw donkeys much and hate to waste them.

First are two little stylistic try-outs: the girl with the cake is in scratchboard, the violent lady is pencil, both with digital colour.

WIP - ScratchboardLady MacBeth

I did several sketches, based on some suggestions and inspirations the author and publisher had sent me. I’d still like to do something in this style:

Cover concepts

But this is the direction we went in:

Cover concepts

And here, after exploring the depths of the internet (Russian model ship building websites) for a clue as to the rest of a font glimpsed on a four-letter station sign, and calls with Anna regarding the emotions proper to donkeys, is the cover (with crop marks, etc, as it wasn’t finally finalised).

Cover (unused)

I still like it, as a piece and as a piece of the story. Askew’s, however, is ideal.

But they did let me have an after-the-credit feature. At the back of the book, when you buy it, you will find three cold passengers still crying for borscht.

3 thoughts on “Crandolin: book covers and end credits

  1. I heartily disagree with Kathleen. This is not Little Golden Book, though it has elements of one of my favourite books, “The Little Golden Calf”. It is in fact, an extremely skillful mixing of many elements to make as a whole, a witty, seductive, and very unprimitive primitive. I have wanted to work with Kathleen for years. She is quite simply, one of the best living illustrators, in a class with E.H. Shepard and the New Yorker cartoonist, Barbara Shermund. Kathleen is also extremely professional. Too professional to have told you that I flooooooded her with thoughts, images, and sketches, and am a raving perfectionist who had reached the point in my own dozens of sketches of a cover, that I was ready to give up and put out the thing as a little red book with black letters. Also, I’m a font fanatic,and wanted the cover hand-lettered, no less. She told me that she was not good at it. But she lied. So I won’t say that this cover is wrong, and I won’t accept that it’s Little Golden Book. It is totally charming and Kathleen was so much so, and her sketches were all appealing, that we CRAVED having that after-the-feature cartoon made by her, and I’m very grateful that she did it.

    The cover by Christopher Conn Askew took my breath away. It still does. i sit and stare at it, it is so gorgeous, and it fits the tone of the book so perfectly. I feel luckier than lucky that he did this, not only the extremely beautiful artwork, but also, so much research went into making it so very right. And I also drove him mad, I’m sure, with finickities. His cover does something that is quite necessary. It gives gravitas to a book that needs that. So often, fiction that makes people smile is discounted as ‘light’,when nothing could be further from the truth. Wodehouse was trivialised as light, and he’s laughing in his gravitas. But it’s a rare book that can survive being thought as a little bit of fluff, unless everyone knows to turn to page 34, 47,58 …

    For any book of worth, there is no definitive cover. In fact, the more, the merrier! See the many covers done for another great book (yes, how’s that for bravado?): <a href="http://www.dezimmer.net/Covering%20Lolita/LoCov.html&quot;

  2. Pingback: Illustration Friday: Glow « Errantry

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