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About

The early stages of a book design project, the illustrated Siddhartha by Herman Hesse.
Published:
A new project for me illustrating and designing Herman Hesse's classic novel, Siddhartha.
I have masses of photographs shot over a period of twenty years from my own journeys to the East and thought it was a great way to put some of that material to use. I also loved the story. One of the very earliest covers I ever attempted (a self-initiated project prior to any professional work) was for another of his works, Narcissus and Goldmund.
Front cover—incomplete
Firstly, the most important element for me was to establish that this isn't the story of Buddha (despite popular opinion and a wealth of other versions implying so) so I didn't want him to be on the cover. The eponymous Siddhartha meets the spiritual leader Buddha (known here as Gautama) on his journey through life—and mirrors his to a certain degree which is possibly where the confusion arises.
The cover isn't completed yet. I'm almost done with the main image, but none of the text is there yet ('illustrated' will be below 'Siddhartha' and in a hand-scrawled rough white type, and the author's name will be altered). It's adapted from an early illustration I did that was originally in a business magazine to represent firewalls protecting banking information. The wooden gate was a picture I shot in Udaipur, India overlooking the lake palace made famous in the Bond film Octopussy (I remember the water levels were low enough at the time that we had to climb onto the palace by ladder). The lock motif seemed to fit the concept of unlocking the secrets life and enlightenment.
Title page
I want to establish an organic feel to the book so although this first spread is created digitally, it comprises images of natural textures, old wood, a flower, water droplets… The digital flower construct is generated in Excentro software (the same used for creating bank note patterns).
First spread
Detail from spread
Incomplete spread with temple illustration
This illustration is a mixture of images shot at the incredible temples of Prambanan on Java and Angkor Wat, Cambodia (the first where I became a tourist attraction myself—I was strangely asked by groups of local tourists to pose with their families in photographs). When complete it will have a human figure praying in the foreground.

So as things stand I might one day complete this project and self-publish. If any publishers catch a glimpse of this and would like to get involved to fund the rest of the work please do contact me.