My latest book cover for Utz Books’s editions of Frances Hardinge’s novels (previously: The Lie Tree). This is for Cuckoo Song, a strange, wild, kind 1920s tale of fey creatures, family, and urban planning. It is available for pre-order from Utz Books here (I understand). But if that is not your language, I recommend tracking this book down in one you can read. It’s a delight.
The process, from thumbnail sketches to detailed pencils to cut paper silhouette, is shown below. The details on the original are very small — the whole piece was cut from a sheet of A3 paper, but a lot of room was taken up by vines at the bottom/top.
I hadn’t yet read any of Frances Hardinge‘s novels when Gili Bar-Hillel of Utz Books asked me to illustrate the cover for the Hebrew translation of The Lie Tree. And oh, it is so very good!
Here are a few of my first thumbnail concepts for the cover.
The novel is a beautiful combination of gothic mystery, scientific discovery, faith, lies, ambition, hubris and secrets. Part way through I realised that it felt like Matthew Arnold’s poem “Dover Beach”, and then a particularly apt sentence sent me back to the beginning to check for a nonchalant line that convinced me this was entirely deliberate on Hardinge’s part.
Here are the pencils. We decided to go with more open vinework around the title.
I then cut the final image out of black paper, and sent it through for the designer, Dor Cohen, to do wonderful things with.
The Hebrew translation of France’s Hardinge’s novel The Lie Tree, translated by Yael Achmon, is now available for pre-order from Utz Books: The Lie Tree.
Thanks to my supporters on Patreon who help give me time to put together these process posts (and who get to see projects like this early).