Tuesday, March 04, 2008

the one where I tell you which Dave McKean sketch we went for in the end

So Harper Collins' initial favourite was #3, and they asked Dave if he could come in closer and make The Graveyard Book title part of the type of the gravestone...

He did a sketch of what they were asking for, but he wasn't keen on it, and neither, when they saw it, was anyone else, not really.

Here's an example of the kind of typeface Dave's planning to create for the cover, taking all the letters from real local gravestones.

This was Dave's favourite. He said, "MY FAVOURITE. the toddler walks along the knife edge, which has the graveyard reflected inside it. I think this one does everything and now I've read the whole book, sums up the plot, and the balance between the real world and the ghost world best".

And he's right, but Harpers felt it might be too strong and might put off some potential young readers (or at least their teachers/parents), but everyone also loved it... so we're going to use it for the Subterranean Press edition of The Graveyard Book, and probably on the Bloomsbury limited edition version as well. It'll be on versions of the book intended only for adults.

So this one, below -- which may or may not be your favourite -- is the one that, after a lot of soul-searching and back and forthing, we went for. Dave describes it as, "A worn grave in the negative shape of Bods profile, mist winds through the grave."

I confess that I lobbied for it, but was an easy cover to lobby for, mostly because it's iconic and very simple. It's an image we could use on lots of things -- something that can be a visual shorthand for the book. It would be appropriate as the cover of a book for kids or for teens or for adults. And when your hero is a boy named Nobody... well, it's kind of fitting on a number of different levels.

(I'm hoping that some of the other sketches may wind up as illustrations. I'd love to see yesterday's #6 as a frontispiece, for example. We'll see -- it's all up to Dave.)

So Dave will be painting both of them, yesterday's #2 and #5. I know how far things go from the sketch to the painting, and can't wait to be able to post one or both of the finished covers up here.

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