Diary of a series redesign: Finding an Illustrator

In the third of our series on book cover design & redesigning a series, we explain how to find an illustrator to run with the ideas from The Covers Meeting

It should be no surprise to anyone that we at A&U love the work of Sebastian Ciaffaglionenot only has he illustrated all of Lian Tanner’s covers so far, he has also done the very beautiful new illustrations for Garth Nix’s Old Kingdom series. We liked them so much we put them on our wall.

 Sebastian Ciaffaglione, illustrator of the Old Kingdom covers

So Seb is our go-to fantasy illustrator, and he is incredibly talented. But, he did the first Hidden covers, and now we need a whole new look. So who do we go to, when we can’t go to Seb?

We go to the place that starts with G and rhymes with moogle.

The interwebs are home to various repositories of talented illustrators’ work, such as Illustrators Australia and The Style File, and these are often filterable by style or genre.

We wanted a fantasy illustrator… who was good at:

movement,       light,       youth     and   energy.

So when we saw this…

Arden Beckwith illustrator: Jakka and Turmi
Arden Beckwith: Jakka and Turmi

…we knew we wanted to meet Arden Beckwith.

The mysterious Arden was not known to any of us here at A&U – most of the work in the folio appeared to be for video games. But according to the page, Arden was based in Melbourne, so we invited Arden in to Onion HQ for a chat.

A time was arranged, and Arden walked into our lives: a YOUNG, WOMAN illustrator – two kinds of people we love to give opportunities to – and she was most impressive. Apart from the beautiful piece that caught our eye, her work credits included contributions to the STAR WARS franchise(!!?#!), no less. ‘Nuff said.

We pitched her the brief, she said yes, even though the draughty old terrace house that is Chez Onion in East Melbourne is no doubt a lot less glamourous than Skywalker Ranch.

Okay, Arden might not literally have been to Skywalker Ranch, but either way, she went away with her arms piled with books. And we were very excited to see what she would come up with for Lian Tanner’s brilliant stories.

Meanwhile, back on Tatooine, Luke wanted to go to Tosche station to…  no, that’s not right, wait… meanwhile, we needed to get a designer on board. Josh Durham of Design by Committee did the design for the first Hidden covers, and he also did the design for Lian’s Keepers Trilogy, that we wanted to echo. And his series design mojo is 👌. It was a no-brainer. Thanks, Josh!

Next up, we really do have skin in the game when we take roughs from our little dream team back to the covers meeting. DUN-DUN-DUNNN…

%d bloggers like this: