Today I made a lino print for a famous book:
Most of you have probably read it, or are aware of it. It is on most English Literature curriculums because it is a) very, very good and b) very, very short. Because most people are dragged through it when aged around 15, it has mixed popularity. I ducked out of examination level English at the earliest possible moment in school I never studied Of Mice and Men and consequentially quite enjoy it (I still like Catcher in the Rye too!).
However, I read it a little a while ago and decided to do a mock-cover, and I thought also about writing a bit about what I was thinking when I made the cover. If you haven’t read the book, do so now- I can wait…
Finished? Good. The basis of this idea is to play on the incredible tragedy of the story, which is that Lenny constantly dreams of his rabbit-raising utopia and at the end is denied it. I thought the best way to cruelly toy with the hearts of the readers was to show exactly how lovely this ending would be, so that the new reader would be even more shocked when (spoiler) Lenny dies at the end. Thus, there is also something heavenly about this scene.
Also, the cover is a wraparound, as you can tell from the first image. This is funny as a composition, because obviously a book is a three-dimensional object, and unless you’re totally fine about creasing the spine, you never actually see the whole image flattened out. Thus the back cover (the left hand side of the original image) is relatively empty, to allow space for blurb and things, while the front carries most of the “pick up this book!” appeal.
The really interesting thing though, is the spine (shown to the left). It’s the smallest part of the book but if, like me, you buy most of your books from second-hand shops, it’s also the first thing you see on the shelf. So the composition is arranged so that while it’s a thin book (as mentioned, Of Mice and Men is very short), as many different colours as possible run through that line, so that it stands out more than all the other spines, while not interrupting the entire image when laid out flat.
Hopefully all these parts come together in not only a good flat image but a good book cover. I might enter this into the AOI next week, so if I do, wish me luck!