Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Although this is my first book cover, I should admit it isn't my first attempt. About twenty years ago, in a fit of youthful folly, I went to a publisher and suggested that they really ought to employ me to paint book covers. After I'd nagged them for a few months, I got my chance. They called me in and asked me to paint, for a small paperback cover that naturally also required space for text, the following (I've never forgotten it): 'a red-headed woman, in widow's costume of the 1880's, standing on the veranda of her Ballarat home, firing the flintlock musket that her husband used at the Eureka Stockade at a flock of sulphur-crested cockatoos in the pepper tree opposite - in photorealist style, with special emphasis on the red hair.' In fact, I had been offered the job because I was fond of painting red hair. A fortnight of hell ensued, involving days of research in the library, before I returned clutching in sweaty hands my colour roughs depicting the scene from aerial and over-the-shoulder perspectives (possibly Chagall was the only person who could have fitted the required items into the allotted space). Not entirely to my surprise, all my designs were rejected and, with head held high and feet held higher, I was thrown out, as Spike Milligan once said. Well it all just goes to show that if you give up for twenty years and then get back to your intended career, eventually you will succeed. Just remember that, boys and girls.