Look at this beautiful book!

Stranger Things Happen - in the life!

It is Subterranean Press’ limited 10th anniversary edition of Kelly Link’s collection Stranger Things Happen, which I had the absolute delight of illustrating. And it really is a beautiful book, beautiful mustard-coloured cloth (mustard? goldenrod? schoolbus yellow? I don’t know, but I like mustard), and the lovely satiny wraparound colour, and ostrich-skin textured endpapers. If this is what ebooks force hard copy books to look like, then bring on the revolution.

The only cover specification I received was a request that it contain a nod to the original Shelley Jackson illustration:


Since I had recently been researching 60s fashion and pattern illustrations for Delia Sherman’s The Freedom Maze, I already had images on my mind for “The Girl Detective” – old Nancy Drew books, and specifically the endpapers:


Here are my initial thumbnail sketches for the cover, and for the last story in the collection.

Stranger Things Happen - cover sketches

After that I ran around the house taking reference photos (if you share a house with me, the chances are you’ll end up in an illustration). The torch is a pepper mill (with, oddly, a built-in light), which is more torch-shaped than our actual torches.


The internal illustrations were pen and ink only. The cover I drew in pen and ink, scanned, cleaned up, added a single flat layer of yellow, and a background texture scanned from an old book. Every story in the collection gets an element (or a share in an element) on the cover, but my favourite part is the peacock’s tail.
Stranger Things Happen - cover

Here are some more glimpses inside from Small Beer Press, and here are some lovely words on the book from the LA Times.

The limited edition is available from Subterranean.