A Great Illustrator, part 1

A great illustrator, Part 1
I know my main character so well, she is like a member of my family. Yet, when I received some early drawings of the book’s cover design from Jill Calder, I felt I knew Jess even better. Each captured the essence of Jess and it was hard for me to choose which to go with for the final design. The drawings brought Jess alive in a different yet complementary way from the walking, talking and thinking Jess I’ve had in my head these past few years and that made me think about the skills of a great illustrator.
Jill has given Jess a new dimension; an almost tactile realism that will help the reader visualise and feel her. The image below also shows Adeline, the little ghost, and the antagonist, Dr Laythorpe, the Victorian medic and father of Adeline.
While this isn’t the final cover design, it demonstrates Jill’s skill in creating an original and compelling cover which will stand out on a bookshelf. In the case of Oranges and Lemons, Jill has come up with a parallel version of Jess. It’s my hope that my readers, like me, will form a similar, lasting bond with her. Jill has used colour to create mood and atmosphere, symbolism and vibrancy. She has also taken elements from the story and used them in a way which echoes Victorian book illustrations. (Note the cat and the rat decorating the lettering of the title.) Jill’s research is clearly seen through images which reflect both the Victorian and contemporary periods in which the book is set. And I’m sure you’ll agree, the doctor looks positively creepy while pale, ethereal Adeline is perfect for a ghost story!
Working with Jill has been a new and interesting process for me. It began with a series of emails, followed by a meeting, almost two months ago, during which I shared information with Jill about the plot and characters of Oranges and Lemons and Jill explained the process of creating a cover design. From there, Jill began doing some small development drawings, progressing to some first roughs of whole cover designs for me to approve. Once she knew what I did and didn’t like, she was able to refine her designs and produce some second roughs. Which, by the way, are amazing, but they are for later! For now, Jill is putting the final touches to a cover design which I believe works brilliantly with the book. And I cannot wait to see it!
I hope you are enjoying my blog and I invite you to send me your comments by clicking the comments button below. Until next time. . .

Jill Calder early rough cover design