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October 13, 2010 / margikimball

Book Cover in Watercolor

To me, the best book covers are those which manage to condense an idea (or series of ideas) onto a single page while communicating a visually compelling composition. The best book covers give us something to think about, even after we put the book down.

Like all successful design, there is a human element embedded into the composition, which evolves from the perspective and intent of the designer. Basically, good design gives us something to relate to. Illustration is powerful because it [in our case] reveals evidence of the human hand, thereby giving us something tangible to connect with.

For this project, consider the relationship between design and illustration. How can you use illustration as foundation to design, as fundamental to the object?

I’d argue that the most important component of your project (and maybe all of your projects) is concept. Develop an interesting idea/image/scene based on the book. Then determine the most effective way to render the composition. Computers are unnecessary; even mechanical fonts are unnecessary. Simplify, prettify.

Good luck, illustrators.



Leave a Comment
  1. kaixix / Oct 14 2010 5:31 am

    I feel like this is going to be hard… how do you maintain control and let the watercolor go loose at the same time?

  2. Rachael / Oct 19 2010 10:44 pm

    I have never worked with watercolor before but I am actually really excited because I think if executed correctly watercolor can turn out to be very beautiful. I want to also use pen and ink for the title and fonts, having the hand-made look. I am however, nervous about the ink mixing with the watercolor but I am sure once practiced it will turn out fine. Overall, I am excited to create another piece with a different medium to strengthen my portfolio.

  3. slategreen / Oct 20 2010 2:40 am

    From my experience, you can maintain control with watercolor if your paper is only wet in the area you want to color, especially if the paper absorbs well (with student grade paper, for instance, pigment tends to be lighter when dried and to be harder to control). So, for instance, if you have a leaf drawn in pencil, you can lay pure water (with a brush) into the shape of the leaf, then drop pigment into the wet area, and you’ll get a fairly even color.

  4. aanchetaart100d / Oct 20 2010 5:35 am

    I find that the main difficulty of this project is not so much watercolor in itself, it is the application of design tandem with the medium of watercolor. It is not so much the medium that worries me as much as it is the prospect of trying to make the piece consistent and flowing when its supposed to be viewed from 4 different sides (front cover, back cover, and both inside flaps)

  5. nickweidner / Oct 26 2010 5:48 am

    I’m pretty excited to see how everyone’s projects are going to turn out. I was kind of worried that I was going to run out of time but after this weekend I feel like I’m right on track – maybe even ahead of the game. Can’t wait for critique.

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