Diana Wynne Jones

Unfortunately we lost another great voice in children’s literature this
weekend.
About ten years ago, many of Diana’s books were re-issued and I was lucky
enough to be asked to design new covers for many of them. A few of my
favourites are attached below. Fire and Hemlock was my first; having not
read her work before (which seems odd as I was very keen on Alan Garner,
Susan Cooper and the like as a young person) I was amazed at her ability to
effortlessly smudge the border between reality and mythology. In her last
book, Enchanted Glass (you will find the cover in the depths of this blog
somewhere) she continued her unique storytelling style where magic and the
mundane mingle beautifully.

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Sleeper in the Woods

I’ve been working like a maniac recently, but I can’t reveal anything as the
project is cloaked in secrecy. I can, however, show this week’s birthday
card; inspired after a wander in Gidleigh Woods. They are full of sculptural
stones, suggesting shapes of creatures both real and imagined. The tree from
the Gidleigh Goat painting is a short tumble into the valley from here.
I include the original rough idea; for some reason I couldn’t translate the
face over onto the finished piece. Maybe I will revisit the concept in a
painting when things have calmed down…

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The Midnight Gate

I’d just finished the cover for the U.S. Edition on Helen Stringer’s book,
the sequel to The Last Ghost, when I was asked to do a different version for
the U.K. market. As it had no human figures in it, I found it easier and
more fun to do (I’m generally happier around gargoyles and ironwork and
weird crow-women). Below is my favoured version, but it was necessary for
various reasons to change things for the version that will see print (the
image with the corner crows).
The cover with the girl on the swing is the U.S. Cover, which follows the
same format as the U.K. Cover for The Last Ghost (with the Wild Hunt in the
sky).
Covers can be rather confusing. I’ve done three different covers for Mortal
Engines, but that’s another story…

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