Late last year I was commissioned to illustrate a book for the Folio Society. I am a fan of the their beautiful publications they have produced some wonderful editions with some wonderful illustrators so while fifteen years in illustration have helped me in confidence I can't deny I was a little nervous when an e-mail dropped into my inbox titled 'Folio Society job for you'.
The process of producing a Folio book is unlike any other publishing work I have done but thanks to my Art Director and Editor it turned out to be a thoroughly pleasurable experience, they worked with the lightest of touches and I really felt I had room to interpret the book in my own way. While in recent years I have found the Art Directors I work with leave me to my own devices to interpret briefs as I wish this is still unusual for me in book publishing so I was delighted at the amount of freedom I had, just the appropriate nudge from time to time.
The book I was asked to illustrate was The Owl Service by Alan Garner. It was not a book I was familiar with but after a day reading it I knew Folio were also adept at placing the right story with the right artist. It was very much my 'thing' dark, surreal but landed in the everyday. Perfect!
Mr Garner I hope I did your strange tale justice.
I have posted the cover and the frontis piece here. The cover in particular took me away from my usual approach, I wanted to take advantage of the block print and was limited to two colours and the cover material. This turned out to be a really nice limitation, I chose to drop any photographic elements for this and hand draw the whole thing as I felt it would work well with the flora and give me control over the thickness of the lines which was important.
I will post some of the interior illustrations soon!
Bye for now x