After my success using gouache paint for the Wye Valley Yoga brief, I felt confident jumping into it for my four In Cold Blood covers.
Book covers share a lot with establishing shots in film and TV. Particularly with a book with the implications In Cold Blood has, both in terms of the controversy around the time of publication and the effect it has on the reader, an illustrator (and the publisher) has a lot of responsibility when setting the tone.
On reading the book I was very taken with this idea of the perceived isolation of the Clutters' house - a detached house on farmland - and the ramifications for the detective Al Dewey in his private life, as his wife became too anxious to continue pursuing their dream of moving into a similar abode. I wanted to reflect the idealization of this aspect of the Clutters' lifestyle in one of my four design proposals.
I found source images of the house and did some research into the local environment. The area is classed as semi-arid, and the farmland was near a river, which suggests it was uphill to avoid flooding. Being an accurate illustrator (where applicable) is one of my core values.
As it was my first design, I do think it is quite weak. I liked the idea of the text sitting on the top of the hill, but I think it's too small for the job it needs to do, especially considering the norms of contemporary book cover designs. I'm still grappling with balancing the value of an original work vs. ability to edit, and I got this wrong with this design. I hand lettered straight onto the painting, which made it difficult to edit, so I as I moved on I learnt to separate different elements out from each other. I'm still looking forward to finishing this design though!