Over the last four months, I’ve been working away on three commissions for poetry book covers.
Thirza Clout is the first poet in the UK to be published by Mark Time Books (founded in Australia by Ross Donolon). Her pamphlet The Bone Seeker has been described as “honest, tender, fierce and with a gallows humour, journeying through a child’s life in a family so nuclear it breaks your heart”. To reflect the themes of Thirza’s poetry, I wanted to use something from her childhood in the artwork. After experimenting with photographs, precious books, hand-me-down textiles and a much loved teddy bear, we settled on a school photograph collaged onto a background texture.
Here’s some of the lovely feedback I had from Thirza and Ross:
“I knew Emily would come up with something creative for the cover of my first chap book because I’d commissioned her after admiring her work – the fact she was utterly professional, stuck to deadlines and was a pleasure to work with were bonuses. I shall certainly be going back to her!”
– Thirza Clout
“As founder of Mark Time Books, I was delighted with the cover artwork provided by Emily for the 2016 book by Thirza Clout, The Bone Seeker. This is the first Mark Time U.K. book and it was especially important to have a cover that both complimented the fine poetry and acted as a flagship for Mark Time. The title and poet’ name strike the reader at first glance and can be clearly read by a prospective buyer. The classic school photograph is presented in a slightly ragged way over the uneven white brush strokes. The effect is to suggest that there is something not quite o.k. and works well with the disturbing title. Mark Time Books would be more than happy to use the work of this talented artist again.”
– Ross Donlan
The next cover to be brought into the world was local author Paul Francis‘ self-published collection Five String Banjo. The ‘five strings’ to Paul’s bow are sonnets, real lives, politics, performance and miscellany. Poet liz Lefroy says “In 5-string Banjo, Paul Francis shows himself to be a master of rhythm, rhyme and engrossing narratives. Pick up this book, hold it to your ear, and listen to it beat.”
For Paul’s cover artwork, I worked with an abstraction of the banjo shape. As a textiles lover I felt it important to use real strings, and my inner texture junkie had fun working subtle fragments of newspapers into the background to reflect Paul’s political leanings!
Lastly, my artwork for this year’s Wenlock Poetry Festival (called Wenlock Time) has been featured on the 2016 anthology cover (published by Fair Acre Press). The image was inspired by Much Wenlock’s town clock, and thinking about how the festival curates such fantastic contemporary poetry in a historic setting. The anthology is now available from Wenlock Books, and will also be available at the festival bookstand on the 23 and 24 April. If you haven’t booked tickets yet, what on earth are you waiting for?
From May 2016 I’ll be taking on more commissions for book covers, so do get in touch if you’d like to discuss a project. I offer a sliding scale of pricing for self-published authors, small presses and larger publishers.