Katie Tooke Delves into the Past to Create The Glovemaker

Katie Tooke is a Designer for Pan Macmillan. Here she talks us through her design process for The Glovemaker by Ann Weisgarber.

The book is set in Utah, 1888 in Mormon country. A woman awaits her husband's long anticipated return home, but a stranger arrives at her doorstep and with him, trouble.

As usual when I start a book cover design I read the book. Then I started on my research looking at images around the subject matter, old posters, old rugs/tapestries from the era and place. I looked at anything I could find from 1888 Utah. 

I originally thought I would like it to be a stitched cover, due to the the main character being a glovemaker, and I thought by stitching it, it would fit the brief, however it was hard to get the grittier elements of the book across and it felt rather feminine, so I then moved onto the idea of working with leather, or cutting an illustration out of leather, but this was hard to get colour to work.

I then settled on the idea of wood carvings, the description of the houses in the book were all wooden, heavy and dark, and I imagined that the craft of wood carving was something historically accurate. I also really liked the naivety of wood carving and printing and the texture that this technique would give me. It felt raw and real and perfect for the tone of the book.

I then mocked up the cover. The overlapping gloves could represent the joining of lives yet each hand (person) is separate. The gloves also suggest hiding which refers to the story. They also represent the human story of Deborah without having to put a woman onto the cover. The space between the gloves could represent a tear drop. The stitching refers to Deborah as a glovemaker. The leaves and blossom represent the orchards and surroundings. The orange stood out against the black grainy texture and also representative of Utahs famous orange rocks.

I then asked Andrea Lauren to re-create the artwork. I really loved her work and thought she could re-create the idea. Ideally I would have loved to have a woodcut but after talking to Andrea, she thought a lino would give us the desired effect I was after and so I decided to add the texture of the grain afterwards.

I decided on a textured paper and a black foil on all the black.


Final cover


Design Editor, Painter, Designer, Lifelong bibliophile.