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Welcome to my art blog from Tasmania, Australia. I post a little on my various art projects while also working in plant genetics. For more, please try the links to my various art pages or email me at silvergumstudio@yahoo.com.au. Thank you for visiting!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Book cover

I'm happy to say that I've nearly finished illustrating The Book.  A week ago the publisher, IP Kidz, asked if I could do the cover art work in time for it to be shown at the Frankfurt Book Fair.  Of course, I jumped at the chance, so last week was a flurry of brainstorming, visiting creative friends and cutting and pasting using both scissors and Photoshop.  This is the preliminary design that everyone liked best - a representation of different characters from the book, each leaving their own distinct footprint.  It will probably wrap around to the back of the book with more pawprints so it's fun to turn over.  I really enjoyed designing this, and credit Illustration Friday for giving me the inspiration - I think it sprang directly from the drawing I did for the topic 'Refresh' a few weeks ago!

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.


  1. Looks fabulous Gay! Congratulations! I bet you can't wait till it's in print!

  2. Good stuff! I am sure it won't be another twenty years before the next one. Keep us posted about publication date.

  3. Eek, how did I miss a post? I know! I've been obsessed with tiny art trading cards. (Also, I know how to follow a single post but can't figure out how to follow your blog, arrgh!)

    This cover is so adorable! I love all of the characters and it looks so fun. And oh my gosh, the tale of your first try is hilarious! I don't suppose you kept your drafts? :D

    I do hope your shoulder is getting better if you're not quite recovered yet!