Friday 11 August 2017

Book Covers. #kidsfavbookart

A piece of my own art
Last Monday the wonderful author/illustrator got Twitter all a buzz with #favkidsbookart. If you have time do go back and search the hashtag. It was joyous. Everyone was sharing pictures of their favourite illustrators from children's book, both from the past and contemporary books. All day Twitter was full of colour.

I am lucky I have small grandchildren so I still have an opportunity to get lost in picture books. Not that I need an excuse.  There are some fabulous books out there such as Oi Dog, Oi Frog and Oi Cat by Kes & Claire Gray. Jill Murphy's books, of course, such as Five Minutes Peace.  Then you can't forget Shirley Hughes' books which were a large part of my children's childhood. More contemporary is Steve Antony, who at a reading very kindly drew a Mr Panda for my grandson. A delightful and generous man.
Shirley Hughes
Steve Antony
 This made me think about covers. I love book covers. They inspire me and draw me into a book. I will also confess they can put me off a book. I know the old adage 'don't judge a book by its cover'...but sometimes I do. For example the Lolita style cover of Penguin's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory that caused a bit of an uproar a couple of years ago. One of my all time favourite books but I would never buy that version. Book covers are tantalising. They shout 'look at me, come and see what's inside,' and should be treated with respect.

I suppose I first remember being really introduced to illustrations by my eldest sister who loved Arthur Rackham's work. I am so grateful to her for the books she gave me with his illustrations. They were always so delicate. They were an inspiration, but then so was she, always fostering my love of books and reading.

When I had my first meeting with Penny and Janet of Firefly, it suddenly sunk in that they were serious about my novel Flight when they started talking to me about the cover. I sat there with this little voice running through my head saying 'I am sitting here with two people asking me whether I had thought about the cover of MY book! OMG! Is this for real?'

You are always told you will have little input on your cover, certainly in the early days, so this took me by surprise. They have been very generous and have asked for my thoughts, which I have given. I will be very excited to see what they come up with. I am sure it will be something brilliant as I love the covers they have produced recently such as Eloise Williams Gaslight, Jennifer Killick's Alex Sparrow and the Really Big Stink and, in particular, the recently announced Hope by Rhian Ivory, so delicate and beautiful colours. Watch this space to see what appears.

As you can see from my piece of art above. I am no artist, but I love art. Artists/illustrators have my total admiration and they should be given a lot more respect, everyone should shout about their work including their work on covers, not just in picture books. I love owning beautiful pictures and photographs too. I can quite easily get lost in them. Making up a story about it. What is happening behind it, around it. Who are the people? Why are they there? What are they doing?

Keep enjoying your book covers, keep reading picture books, love art. Art is for all.

Enjoy this too. Ed Sheeran singing Photograph.