Ariana (kotegneren LB) and I went through several rounds of cows. At first they all felt too disengaged and then "not gestural and painterly enough." Lydia hoped they would be "slightly threatening" while also "curious." We changed to a 3/4-view and facial expressions that made it clear these cows weren’t willing to move from their positions on the page, but it started to feel to everyone like the whole cow idea was too cute and Lydia’s work is not cute. She had warned me by email that she "might simply feel in the end that any image of a cow over-determines the way the book is approached..." Clearly it was time to move on.
These early sketches look so fussy to me now, though Ariana’s painting style is simple and sophisticated and the color would be just as limited in the final jacket design. That "final" design was actually one of my very first ideas, scribbled in a notepad, but instead of working it out I’d been seduced by Davis’s bovine neighbors and lost my way. Often you need to build a jacket design till it’s dense with ideas – then find the time, will and clarity to strip, strip, strip away. Lydia’s writing is that stripped down too, and to get a design right for her work I need to remind myself of this.
At first I was sorry to see these cows amble off my jacket design, but when I looked back at my computer screen, I saw that what was left was a blank space and these words:
...because, they said, I was lazy. What they meant by lazy was that I used too many contractions: for instance, I would not write out in full words cannot and will not, but instead contracted them to can’t and won’t.I had to laugh -- it turns out I’d been pretty stubborn too! Davis’s sentences hadn’t needed embellishment; they’d just needed me to stop thinking beyond their simple statement... and for me to find an equally straightforward way to set them on a page.
Finally, I choose to deboss all these words to give them another layer of strength. Like the cows, this book (and its jacket) now quietly stands its ground, daring you to look away.
- det endelige rent bogstavelige, koløse omslag