In 2010 Diane Luger at Grand Central Publishing asked me to illustrate a cover for the 50th anniversary edition of To Kill A Mockingbird, one of my favourite books ever.
Leaving aside the nerves at taking on such a responsibility, this meant an immediate phone call to my friend Jules who is also a life-long fan and who can still, years after our O levels ended, quote whole sections of the book. She lent me the DVD of the film and had on standby her copy of the book and, together with my friend Drew, provided ideas and thoughts and, later in the process, very objective feedback on what I was putting together, helping keep some of the 'less confident' ideas from the art directors' eyes!
For me the most poignant moments are those when the feared Boo Radley leaves his little gifts for Scout and Jem hidden in the tree, especially the tiny figurines of the children. That needed to be central to the image and in the end, it literally does form 'the spine' of the book. The other elements were Scout's tomboy clothing and the trees (forming play areas and hiding places), and, since I've been working with silhouettes a lot recently, a nod to the work of American artist Kara Walker, whose work frames themes relevant to the book such as race, history, narrative, power and shame.
Ink drawings of Scout and Jem: