Friday, September 17, 2010

If I Loved You, I Would Tell You This

Many times I receive a manuscript, read it through and just hope I can do the writing justice with a cover design. This is the case with Robin Black's beautiful If I Loved You, I Would Tell You This. As with all short story collections, the difficulty lies in finding imagery that can represent the tone of all the stories.

From the Random House website:

"Brilliant, hopeful, and fearlessly honest, If I Loved You, I Would Tell You This illuminates the truths of human relationships, truths we come to recognize in these characters and in ourselves."


The title story is where I originally began. It centers on a woman who is dying of cancer addressing her neighbour, who wants to erect a fence that blocks her driveway. The fence became a visual icon for me in the first round of comps:

The second set of imagery I used was paint strokes, inspired by the story, Immortalizing John Parker. The main character, who is a painter, reflects on her own life while painting a portrait of an aging Alzheimer's patient.

The painterly feel of the comps was what I was asked to concentrate on and from there a series of painted comps was submitted for review. First warm, then cooler colors...

Towards the end, the focus shifted back to an earlier comp with the 9 paint strokes. From there, we adjusted the background color and the final jacket was complete. Seen below is the front cover, spine and back:

A small aside: Initially I used 9 paint strokes because the manuscript I received over a year ago had 9 stories. It wasn't until I showed up for Robin's book reading at Bryn Mawr College that I realized the book had 10 stories.