Books and their covers: designing for Trish Trash - Jessica Abel
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Books and their covers: designing for Trish Trash

trishtrash-cover-1

Trish Trash: Rollergirl sur Mars will have its avant-première in a week and a half, which means I’ll finally get to put my hands on the actual cover of this book, that I’ve been working so long and hard on. This is the final cover, the one you’ll see if you get a copy yourself.

Getting to this cover, however, was a long and complicated process. I’ve been working on covers for lots of books lately, sending in rough sketches for Out on the Wire (really rough, not ready for prime time), and trying to come up with covers for all three volumes of Trish Trash: Rollergirl sur Mars now, before the first one is even out.

Based on my first concept, we developed a cover for TT1 last year that we were all pretty happy with—Trish on the hoverderby track. Simple, direct, energetic. I should have known it was just too easy to be actually finished.

tt1-cover-orig

I visited the Dargaud offices to work with my editor, Thomas Ragon, the cover designer Philippe Ravon, and the logo and interior designer, Renaud DeChateaubourg, to work on cover layouts and logos.

working-on-logos-covers

working-on-logos-covers2

We decided to make the image simpler. I liked this idea—I had always wanted to do this thing stripped down.

tt1-cover-white-old

Finally, though, after a lot of discussion, we realized that the “this is a major book about a completely new scifi world” was not exactly getting communicated by some women on a derby track, no matter how scifi-ish the track itself. So, literally, back to the drawing board. A new slew of sketches.

reject sketch2reject sketch3

And finally, a new cover design, which you can see at the top of the post.

It always feels like a huge deal, and a lot of stressful trouble, to do a cover. I mean, it’s ridiculously important, it’s why most people will ever bother to pick up a book. And they will probably see it as a postage-stamp-sized 72 dpi icon. So it better be powerful. The stakes are so high. I kind of hate it, but when it really works, the labor and anxiety is worth it.

All this put me in mind of a book cover, for My Education, by Susan Choi, that I drew when I first arrived at the Maison des Auteurs here in Angoulême, in 2012. I went through a huge number of sketches on this one too, vetted and fretted over by a multitude of people. But in the end, it turned out well, so well that I’ve resold it for the paperback, the Spanish edition, and even the cover of the Penguin academic catalog, and might have actually eventually been compensated for my time on it! I can only cross my fingers that the same will be true of Trish Trash. 

My Education by Susan Choi

some of the many versions:

myedu1

myedu2

myedu3

myedu4

the final full wraparound:

my-education-choi-web

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Answer these 10 quick questions to uncover the real reasons why you’re not able to take control of your creative work.

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Answer these 10 quick questions
to uncover the real reasons why you’re not able
to take control of your creative work.