Saturday, 12 February 2011

James and the Giant Peach

For the past few weeks I've been working on a James and the Giant Peach book cover for the Puffin book competition. I've spent most of my time working digitally, slowly adding and changing elements, and I think I've pretty much finished my final version now. There are still a few colour and type issues I'll have to make changes to but otherwise I'm pretty happy with it. I've posted it below, along with a version with a different colour spine which I haven't really decided what I think of yet......think I'm going to stick with the all black though.....probably.

(these both include a 5mm bleed around the edge, just in case you were wondering why they're off centre!)

This finished cover kind of grew from my idea of wanting to show James crawling through the tunnel in the side of the peach from a 1st person viewpoint. The idea is that the viewer represents James looking into the peach through the tunnel. 
I wanted everything outside of the peach to be in black, white and grey to represent the atmosphere of sadness and cruelty and James's feelings of unhappiness. What came across for me in the story was actually how dark it is, with the death of James's parents and the cruelty that he suffers at the hands of his two aunts. 
To me the peach acts as a kind of representation of life and the new life that James would embark upon, full of hope, happiness, imagination, family etc. I wanted to show this visually by having this bright light and colour emanating from the centre of the peach. The concept of light and dark is a classic analogy of the fight between good and evil, and the idea that in darkness, light will always prevail, is something that I think resonates with a lot of people, and seemed to sum up what happens to James in the book.

For back cover I wanted to stick to the idea of using bold simple shapes, and it seemed quite nice to complete the trio of circle, square and triangle. So I kept my house image very simple and used it as the backdrop for the blurb. 
I chose quite a plain sans serif font for all of the type on the cover, digitally editing the 'Roald Dahl' to create something a little more interesting. I wanted to keep the type quite simple and geometric like the rest of the cover, and I think it adds to the slightly darker and more adult look of the cover.

There were a few issues in the beginning with it looking a bit sci-fi, kind of like a planet in space. I think I kind of leaned away from that obviously with the addition of the house and some other details such as highlights and shadows, but even if it still has a sun like quality to it, I think that it only adds to the idea of light over darkness. Or at least that's what I'll tell everyone.



  1. Hi there,

    You really shouldn't post this image before the entry period is over. Any other contestant could copy, steal your ideas.. or something. Or even worse, some other publisher could get this idea, just erase the puffin logo, and publish something. Specially when you post it in a relatively high resolution... And, also, I'm not sure if posting the image online would make it unacceptable for Puffin, it probably would. In most publishers you can't post any image online before the book is actually published. Just a friendly advice.

    Btw,its looking really good. Good luck.


  2. thanks for the comment.
    im pretty sure that puffin aren't intending to actually publish the winning entry on the book so im not sure that would be an issue.
    I take your point about posting ideas, we are encouraged to blog about our progress which is why its posted, posting lower res images is something i should def be doing however!
    thanks for the concern and advice