Katie Tooke is the designer behind the incredible cover of Joanna Nadin's The Queen of Bloody Everything, published by Mantle. Here Tooke details for Spine what went into creating the jacket for the book.
After reading The Queen of Bloody Everything and talking to the editor and reading the brief I set to work on designing this cover. It is funny and heartbreaking in equal measure and very much voice led. The story takes the main character from a feisty awkward six year old up until she is a grown woman and focuses on the complex relationship between herself and her dysfunctional mother. The protagonist longs to be part of the family next door and so she looks beyond her house to her neighbours family, longing for another life. The sense of the main characters childhood and the hot late 70's summer stuck with me as it felt a prominent visual element of the book.
I looked at patterns from the 70/early 80's on Etsy or eBay, often finding old cuts of material or wallpaper. I picked a few to start with and started to make a rich pattern, trying a variety of ways to render the pattern. I re-drew one, I layered another but eventually settled on an old orange 70's bedspread pattern which our talented art worker Matthew Garrett worked up in illustrator.
My original composition had used a small silhouette of the main protagonist looking out beyond the complex pattern/weave of plants/flowers. Almost constricted by her habitat. I had also contemplated showing the two houses to show the two families but it started to feel rather busy.
Eventually after a round at our covers meeting we decided to crop in much closer. We settled on the pattern and I worked up a few type options. Originally I had thought I would go with sans serif, but the title was thought to be a big selling point so I worked up an option where it was more playful and friendly using upper and lower case.
We embossed the flowers to add a bit of depth and gave it bright orange endpapers and board to finish off the whole package.
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Design Editor, Painter, Designer, Lifelong bibliophile.