Penguin Book Cover

I wasn’t very interested in this project as we were limited to three titles, none of which I was particularly interested in off the bat. As such I began to research the three options in regards to the themes that they tackled, stories contains and previous work that had been made for covers. As I want to separate my work from what already existed. I Also looked into people more knowledgeable than me discuss the books.

In To Kill a Mockingbird the main themes covered are those of race, prejudice, justice and coming of age. So a design focusing on these themes would be interesting. Other visual motifs I could use are that of birds, trials, lynching, rape, murder and Alabama.

After some research I found that the most common book size was 6” by 9”. As such this is the size I decided to work to for my designs. Additionally I decided to do 15 quick sketches for each book to look for strong ideas that I could further develop. When working on The mocking bird designs I really ended up liking the idea of the image of the mockingbird decomposing to show the themes of life and death. As well as experimenting with colour to symbolise race as well as the notion of good and bad in the court system. I also experimented with designs focusing on the jail and trail scene, as well as trees with nooses however I didn’t find to be very innovative or interesting enough to be taken further.

In In Cold Blood the main themes covered are murder, crime, mystery, family and obsession in 1950’s america. The initial designs that I came up with focused on the murder itself, I especially liked the designs of dripping blood as well as the family photograph with the faces crossed out, however Figured that this doesn’t really fit with the theme of the books as much as the blood ideas.

In Secret Diary of Adrian Mole the main themes covered are puberty, school, girls, bullies, family and body image. As such for my designs I decided to draw upon my memories of high school for both the scenery as well as the emotions of the images. However after producing 15 designs none of them stood out to me as worthy to take on further.


Now that I had gotten to a point where I had a range of interesting ideas, I first started developing the ideas I had drawn for To Kill a Mockingbird. Focusing on the idea of the decomposing bird. Where in some images I had it alive in one half and dead in the other. For these designs I liked how they turned out as I was using my new watercolour technique for colouring them, where I used black watercolour instead of ink as it gives it a more subtle natural look. As much as I like some of these designs I don’t find them especially inspired and I would be unsure of’ how to turn them into a completed project in the time frame that I have left. I produced a few more images to see if I could refine it, however I didn’t think it worked overly well as I felt they wouldn’t work as pixel art. If I had more time to work on them maybe.

After developing the In Cold Blood designs I really like the composition of the dripping blood text and the bloody hand together. I felt like the other designs that I did weren’t as visually interesting as this one. As such I decided to take this design forward to be worked on digitally. I decided it would be fun to work in pixel art as this way I can really focus on getting an interesting colour palette, additionally it would increase the chance of me getting noticed in the competition for having a unique cover. I also need more practice in drawing hands so this will be a fun exercise.

I imported the image onto my iPad and rescaled it until it was at a pixel rate that I was happy with. I was basically looking for the point that every blood drip was around 5 or 6 pixels wide, which would allow me to add appropriate shading and highlights without adding too much detail. I was really pleased with how the blood turned out, probably because I was using a reference to make sure I got the shadows and highlights where there would naturally be. I struggled a little in making the text legible in the blood however I think it works. If I were to do it again this is one area that I might improve upon though I’d still want it to retain the look of natural blood.

Painting the hand turned out to be more difficult than I thought as I wanted it to look natural but also stiff as if it were in rigour. I feel like I captured this however I should have used my own hand as reference for a more realistic depiction. I liked the use of colour as it has a pallid look to it, though I think the highlights should have perhaps been more subdued. On the other hand I did want to stand out. There is probably an ideal middle ground between the two.

I continued the image around the side and the back and feel like it is a successful end to the project.