There are many things about this project that I am happy about. Firstly – as I’ve never designed a book cover before I definitely feel that I’ve learned a lot from this. I learned a lot about how to use typography and design together in ways that were still aesthetically pleasing. I never usually work with so much text so it was a huge challenge for me. I broached concepts and subjects in my drawings that I don’t usually attempt – it was refreshing to illustrate a concept that was so deep and meaningful where usually my work is mostly decorative. There were also so many new techniques and textures that were a challenge for me to master using graphite. I felt like I pushed myself with my drawings a lot. I’m more considerate now of how I treat my drawings too – usually I draw on any old scraps of paper but this time I was deliberate and careful of what I was drawing on and the specific sizes (although it was of no consequence to the finished book cover.)
I learned a little more about using Photoshop – I’m now confident about using bleed and making my own templates from scratch using guides. I also learned more about using my camera and the best way to take clear and beautiful photos of my work. One of the things that I’ve always struggled with was the finishing touches of a final piece – I might make a really good piece but the presentation online and physically let it down. I’m now more considerate about how I present it physically and in photos online – I think it’s just as important and needs as much thought put into it as the piece. There’s no sense in spending hours on a piece only to photograph it badly.
The design itself I think is pretty unusual for this book, and I think I’ve touched on a lot of aspects of the book that are often neglected by illustrators. I feel that what I’ve achieved is truer to Burgess’ vision and also taps into the author a little bit too – as he was a composer and lover of classical music too, like Alex. Even the colour scheme reflects the motifs of the book – the white hospitals and lab coats contrasting to the darkness of the streets that Alex and his Droogs roamed down. There’s many examples of black and white contrast in the novel. I also actually like the little hints of orange from the penguin logos – it relates a little to the title but is still really subtle. I did stray from the penguin brief a bit – by changing the template, removing some lettering and adding a reverse cover – but I decided that as I wasn’t going to enter the competition I could design something a bit more beautiful instead.
If I had a little more time, I would have liked to have tried out some techniques such as embossing or spot gloss on the cover to really make it pop. I don’t think that it really needed that much done to it though, as the strength was in the design and not really the print finishing.
Overall I am really proud of this book cover, and I think I have learned enough from this project to take on some book cover commissions from clients. I think it will be a good addition to my portfolio as a book cover is something that was definitely missing. I feel like the more projects I take on that I haven’t done before, the more versatile it makes me as an illustrator.