These are beautiful and unexpected books, laconic and startling.
I put the covers together over several years, starting in 2012 (!), but the line work was all on one sheet of scratchboard, with branches gradually winding across it. Having a tactile interaction with the original style helped a great deal in keeping it fairly consistent. The hardest bit was revisiting the Photoshop file every 2/3 years and trying to work out past-Kathleen’s rationale in setting up the layers.
Here are some of the very first roughs:
From there, we worked up a connected design. This is the sketch which became the final image. I must have read the first two books at this stage, but the last two weren’t yet available, so they’re more just guidelines.
This was (I think) my first time using uninked scratchboard, and inking it myself in the areas I wanted line and texture. So much less chalk dust this way! All scratched with knife blades.
The last book was Air Logic. Once I read the book, I had to work out how to fit the images into not only the style but the pre-existing connecting branches, and keep movement. I still quite like the running figures in the second sketch from the left on the bottom row, but it is a bit Scooby-esque.
The books are now all available from Small Beer Press: