Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Blue Orchard

Sometimes you work on a cover, it gets approved, you're waiting for the email/call to get started on the mechanical and boom....the cover is killed. Why? Well, doesn't matter. Some internal conflict has rendered your cover a no go.

Case in point: a novel, The Blue Orchard.

Summary: On the eve of the Great Depression, Verna Krone, the child of Irish immigrants, must leave the eighth grade and begin working as a maid to help support her family. Her employer takes inappropriate liberties, and as Verna matures, it seems as if each man she meets is worse than the last. Through sheer force of will and a few chance encounters, she manages to teach herself to read and becomes a nurse. But Verna’s new life falls to pieces when she is arrested for assisting a black doctor with “illegal surgeries.” As the media firestorm rages, Verna reflects on her life while awaiting trial.

I was told to make this one "beautiful." Even heavy subject matter requires a pretty cover...

Here are the three comps submitted.

The comp below uses a vintage fruit crate label from my collection. The peach is meant to overwhelm the cover (and the main character, Verna). The numbered lines in the back reference the ledger she keeps of all the patients in the doctor's practice:


Again, I used (more of) the vintage art in a new composition, this time paired with an image of a maid. Verna originally worked as a maid before becoming a nurse.


For the third comp, I mocked up the front & back. Using a vintage illustration of a woman from a stock house as reference, I redrew/recolored the figure to represent Verna. On the front cover I have her dressed as a maid, and on the back as a nurse, each time holding the peaches which are a symbolic of her family orchard.


The top comp above was chosen. A few months later the cover was killed. Too bad, I liked this one...

5 comments:

pilarcat said...

I like the first design too.
Thank you for sharing your working process. I really enjoy and learn a lot from this blog :-D

Sara Wood said...

These are beautiful...
You know, I've noticed that, in looking through various book designers' portfolios on design:related, many of my favorite designs were the ones that were killed. Funny how that happens.

Ian Shimkoviak said...

ouch. Love that top one and the bottom one. I like this layering of illustration and photograph in a collage-like arrangement for this cover and the last one you posted via twitter—with the african boy and snake illio. You rock. Nice work as a laways.

Jim said...

What a shame,
I love the title type on the last two.

mewmewmew said...

ouch. Love that top one and the bottom one. I like this layering of illustration and photograph in a collage-like arrangement for this cover and the last one you posted via twitter—with the african boy and snake illio. You rock. Nice work as a laways.



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