Above is another process shot I took while cutting out the cover illustration for Flyaway. You can see some more of my process behind designing the cover silhouette at this post: Illustrating Flyaway: Kathleen Jennings on creating art and prose together.
I’ve mentioned before that I adore what Tor.com did to the silhouette for Flyaway. Having a book coming out in two markets simultaneously, however, meant a new cover — and in this case, that meant a different treatment for the same silhouette.
I love both covers — the rich embroidered density of the Tor.com cover, the airy spaciousness of the Picador — but as well as being exciting to me as an author, it’s fascinating to me as an illustrator, and as an occasional tutor/guest lecturer in writing, editing and publishing courses. It’s interesting not just because of how visible it makes the work of the designers (Jaya Miceli and Liz Seymour), but because of how clear it makes the story each publisher is telling to (and in the visual language of) their region.
I think the Tor.com cover (below) leans into the literary gothic/horror aspect (and possibly for an American-inflected taste), and I am very fond of the typeface, which reminds me of midcentury Faber poetry books. The Picador cover, on the other hand, bends towards the more literary realism/fairytale genre as it exists in Australia, with a Gothic current under the almost whimsical swoop and piercing of the title.
Both are accurate, both are beautiful, and it’s so neat to get this side-by-side comparison of what two different publishers and designers can do with the same piece of art.
I asked the designers about the direction they took (and the typefaces!)
Jaya Miceli, regarding the Tor.com cover:
Flyaway is an enchanting, mysterious fairy tale-like story, full of emotion and curious characters. While Kathleen’s paper cut illustration captures the elaborate quality and richness of the weaving stories, in designing the cover, I added an extra layer with an anatomical etching to peer through for color, texture and depth. At a glance the artwork feels like an intricate tapestry and up close the detail within reveals the pulsing eeriness of the story.The font is Lydian.— Jaya Miceli www.jayamiceli.com/
Liz Seymour, regarding the Picador cover:
The opportunity to intertwine image and title type was an obvious design direction. Space, simplicity and choosing a sympathetic typeface were the key. Yana typeface is used for ‘Flyaway’, an elegant serif font, based on hand lettering.
— Liz Seymour › SEYMOUR DESIGN
There are some basic differences – the format was different, and though our markets have a lot of overlap, I couldn’t tell you why, but publishers in another country usually have really strong feelings about the type choices of other editions! When I briefed the cover I was only looking to change the type and maybe look at some variant colour.
But as we looked at those adaptations, I really felt the Lotte Reiniger-style silhouette was a strong visual referent for the audience – it speaks strongly to the tradition you work in – so preserving a silhouette became the first thing we did. I confess I always had in mind a kind of punked-up william morris illustration; that sort of literary, wistful, romantic notion of the folk/fairytale/legend oft evoked by illustrations like morris, aubrey beardsley, even mervyn peake. But you can see it cleaved closer to folk art, which suits both illustration and book much better! I would say the colour choice came out of that – I was initially asking for a much brighter set of colours – maybe even fluoro. But we didn’t favour those in the end.— Mathilda Imlah
Flyaway is scheduled to be published at the end of July 2020, and is available for preorder from your local bookstore (see if they’re doing phone, online, or bicycle orders!), or: