For the past four weeks I have been working on creating a new book cover for the story of 'James and the Giant Peach'. We were given a selection of competition briefs to choose from, all from various publishers and organisations. I chose the Puffin competition as I had loved 'James and the Giant Peach' when I was younger and thought it was something I could really sink my teeth into!
Any Roald Dahl book is automatically associated with Quentin Blake and whilst I love his work it was a challenge to move away from his iconic illustrations. I wanted to do something completely different and inject my love of colour into the design. I had initially decided to have a large circle representing the peach sitting on top of a patterned background. I spoke to Ian about this and he suggested that rather than just having random shapes, why not use elements from the book to create the pattern. I really loved this idea so set about drawing different components from the book. Some had quite a major part to play in the story, like the seagulls, whilst others were less significant, like the rhino. I tried to make them as simple as possible to compensate for the colour overload and decided to use Illustrator to create a clean slick line.
Symmetry played an important role in the cover; all the elements were symmetrical when possible. Also, the circle on the front is balanced by a square of the same height and width on the back.
Regarding the typography, I opted to design a bubble-writing style type to highlight that this is primarily a children's book. For the back I chose a sans serif font that looked 'child friendly' but I would really like to make my own typeface for when I send it off to Puffin in April. I also wanted the text to be a part of the pattern not just an afterthought so incorporated it into the design, e.g. the worm is normal on the back but forms 'Quentin Blake' on the front.
When finishing the cover I decided to limit the palette to six colours, which were the basis of the rainbow. I added pink to the worm but other than that I didn't want to overload it with lots of colour.
Overall I'm really pleased with my cover, its everything I wanted it to be - colourful, eye-catching and unusual. There are a couple of things I need to tweak before I send it off but this is the version as it stands at the moment.