I’m very happy to be able to announce that I have been named as the winner of the inaugural Kelpies Prize for Design and Illustration, an illustration prize launched by Edinburgh based publisher Floris Books. There were many great shortlisted pieces as you can see on their website, so the judges must have had a hard time! The task was to design the book cover for the forthcoming Kelpies novel, The Sign of the Black Dagger by Joan Lingard. I decided to give it a go because I liked the story and felt it suited my work. Furthermore I have been spending a lot of time recently working on a series of large scale site specific pieces and so the opportunity to explore some more traditional illustration provided a welcome break. I say break, but book covers are always a great challenge. There is quite a lot of pressure to ensure that you interpret an entire book in one piece of work whilst not giving too much away about any twists and turns in the plot.
No matter what type of workI am engaged in, one of the things I like to do most is to investigate places and the appearance of Edinburgh has always been a great source of inspiration ever since I moved here almost 4 years ago. The city’s fantastic architecture, the many lighting effects brought about by ever changing weather conditions and atmospheric street lighting cannot help but set an imagination running. The fact that this book is set in Edinburgh’s old town really allowed me to indulge in this.
It was while I was walking up and down the Royal Mile trying to soaking up the atmosphere of that I become very much interested in the way that the book is set in this one corner of Edinburgh, although in two different centuries, thus I created an image to reflect upon the idea of a parallel world. I very much hope that the results manage to trigger young reader’s curiosity!