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.
I came back from holiday to find this, what a great birthday present! I'm on page 59 of Lürzer's Archive's 200 Best Illustrators Worldwide 14/15. I'm not usually one to blow my own trumpet, but it's nice to think that from some 5,100 submissions my piece Yakuza Games was selected by the jury to be included.
For those of you who don't know about Lürzer's Archive publishes jury selected collections of the best work in illustration, advertising, photography and specials editions for categories like packaging design and automotive ads, and have been doing so since the 80's. I was really happy to be approached to submit for the 14/15 edition of the 200 Best Illustrators Worldwide, and even happier a few months later to hear that one of my pieces had been selected.
What started as a bit of fun for an image of paper scissors stone, has become my new favourite illustration! I knew the game had come from China but never realised how popular it is in Japan, which gave me a whole new tangent of ideas to bring into the piece. Sansukumi-ken (three-way deadlock), Yakuza gambling and yubitsume – the possibilities were endless …ish! It also gave me a chance to play with my love of Japanese textile print and tattoos too – a bit of contemporary illustration in a Japanese style. Jankenpon!
I am so happy to have this piece selected by Lürzer's Archive, and be in such good company amongst the 200 best illustrators worldwide today. There are some great artists up there so have a look on their website to see the whole list.
Here are some close ups: