I think I’m officially done now with the first quarter of my illustration senior thesis. The overall project is to do four different book jackets for books that I really love, and the first one I chose is The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman. I knew right off the bat that I wanted to do a Neil Gaiman book, but it was a tough choice deciding which one. My favorite book is Neverwhere, but I already did a book jacket for that last year (which I actually got to give to Neil when he visited UArts!!). I also thoughtt of Coraline, but I just feel like, at this point, so many great artists have had their hands on it already that I didn’t know if I could avoid their influence and create something really original. In the end I went with this book because I think it is kinda unexplored territory in the art world, and so many of the creatures in it are abstracted in a way that I thought would be a really fun challenge to represent. Also, it’s just an amazing book, haha.
The drawing I did here is supposed to represent the hunger birds. From the description in the book, I imagined them as…a grey area between a flock of vultures and a mass of ominous shadows, I spose you’d say, haha. The moon is supposed to represent Old Mrs. Hempstock shining through the birds. At first, I also had the children’s hands emerging from the feathers to hold on to each other because I think that was a really wonderful childlike thing in the book that the main character would always be safe as long as he held Lettie’s hand. I think that says a lot about the bravery and strength children have in the face of daunting adult problems. Anyway, my teacher told me to take the hands out for compositional reasons, and annoyingly, as is often the case with teachers, I believe he was right, haha. I decided to include both versions here though so that you can make up your mind for yourself. At least you can all say to yourselves “Hmm, that was a good thought” even if it wasn’t executed that well;)
So that’s pretty much all I have to say about that. I hope you like it! If you haven’t read the book yet, then I recommend it, and don’t forget to look out for future book jackets (by me) for The Book of Lost Things, Abarat, and The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of her Own Making.