When the film adaptation of J. G. Ballard's High-Rise came out I was really keen to do an alternate book cover. It can be challenging to decide on a visual style and look for something that has been adapted onto screen because there are obvious influences that will be different from the original book – but in this case I wanted it to reflect both and to be as much a High Rise movie poster as a book cover.
Having studied architecture at university I have a bit of a soft spot for the brutalist architecture of the 50s and 60s. With this in mind I made this image more of a blueprint or architect's visualisation than a photographic reproduction. It's still very detailed – the high rise itself is stark and imposing but with a much looser graphic flow to the city which almost fades into a cubist pattern.
I wanted the title to accentuate the perspective adding to the feeling of height and power.
I’ve recently been working on reworking a bunch of book covers to see what could have been if they were completely illustrated.
My first one up here is for Suzanne Rindell’s The Other Typist, a dangerous tale of 1920’s prohibition New York and it’s inhabitants. What starts out as a seemingly glamorous Gatsby-esque adventure unravels as the lies of the characters fall apart to reveal darkly twisting truths.
I wanted to represent as much of the feel of the story as I could without giving anything away, which is why I took the start point of the book, the 1920s typewriter, and pulled it apart with a suggestion of everything not being quite as it had at first seemed – to get behind the scenes and expose the working of it all as it were.
I had a lot of fun working out how the different types of typewriters of this period worked and how I could show enough without filling an A3 page with exploded, levers, push-rods, springs, screws and countless other components! So there I did use a bit of creative license to keep parts together to get the balance right.
As I’m sure you know I love hands so whilst I almost felt I shouldn’t go down that route it felt so right for this cover, elegant and seductive, really suggesting the entanglement and topsy-turvy nature of the story and it’s two main roles.
There’s also been talk that The Other Typist is going to be made as feature film with Kiera Knightly in one of the starring roles, so that would be interesting to see what the film posters look like when it comes out.