An Artist’s Journey Through Cover Design – Following Ophelia Blog Tour

Happy Monday morning everyone! Was that a little too cheery for you? Well, if you’re struggling with a case of the Mondays then fear not, I have the perfect antidote. Pop the kettle on, grab yourself a biscuit and get comfy because I’m hugely excited to share today’s post with you.

For my stop on the blog tour to celebrate the very lovely Sophia Bennett’s equally lovely Following Ophelia, art director Paul Coomey has shared a look at the design process for the book’s cover, as well as some of the artistic inspiration that helped form his final design.

I’m always fascinated by cover design and the way these artists convey the story through visuals, so I feel incredibly lucky to be hosting this stop on the tour. A huge thanks to Paul, the rest of the incredible team at Stripes and, of course, Sophia herself!

If you missed the cover reveal of the sequel to Following Ophelia (Unveiling Venus) at the YA Stripes event, don’t despair, you’ll find the cover in all its glory at the end of this post. You don’t have long to wait, as book two is out in July this year!

Following Ophelia is released March 9th from Stripes Publishing. To find out more about the book you can visit the Goodreads page here.

An artist’s journey through cover design

It’s 1848.

We begin our trip with Raphael. Renaissance master of form, composition and the ideal of human grandeur. Beloved of and promoted by Sir Joshua Reynolds and his Royal Academy. Seen as a continued corruptive influence by The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, notably William Holman Hunt, John Everett Millais, and Dante Gabriel Rossetti.

They rail against the promotion of Raphael’s work as an ideal to aspire to. They seek reform. They look back five hundred years, beyond the bitumen-addled tradition of European oil painting, to before the Renaissance, to the Quattrocento.

They look at Botticelli.

They look at Ghirlandaio, at Lippi, at Van Eyck. They see colour. They see detail, symbolism.

Encouraged by the critic John Ruskin, they begin. They paint serious subjects. They paint with maximum realism. They look at nature, at love, at death. They cause a reaction. They create something new.

They find their muses; Lizzie Siddal, Ophelia cold in the bath, Effie Grey, married to Ruskin and then to Millais, Jane Morris, Proserpine, mother and maiden.

 

And Mary Adams, our own Persephone, following Ophelia.

We find a kindred spirit in Sophie Grey, younger sister of Effie, with her confident, possess-me-not gaze.

Then to our readers, and a modern muse in Ms. Moss via Sam McKnight. We look at a model we find online, trace, sketch, render, tweak, repaint, mould, hunting for a representation of Persephone in the eyes of Felix Dawson.

We try some compositions; the idea of an unfinished painting grows and fades.

Not unlike the Pre-Raphaelites, we end up with something new.

We follow suit for Unveiling Venus.

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