It’s been a difficult time for me with the, not unexpected but bewilderingly devastating death of my dad and all of the other things that have been going on in my life, so that once again my posts here have been mute.

I’ve not drawn much, taken many photographs or really exercised my creative side recently. Saying that, I thought I would post about a project I’ve been working on and off for most of this year. It’s a post about working with a client who is foremost a friend – and that means going way above and beyond the normal bounds. Great slabs of this project did not have a brief so we made it up as we went along.

My friend Jane has been working on her book for over 5 years. Jane had assembled a hand picked team to help her realise her dream of writing and publishing a book about her work as a global advocate for women’s rights. My part was to edit a video to introduce Jane and her book to the Kickstarter audience who would successfully fund the project.

While waiting for the book cover artwork to arrive from Jane’s graphic designer I was asked to produce a quick mock-up of the cover for the Kickstarter site.

The picture Jane had chosen for the cover was a photo montage Nature Girls Jumping Janes by Martha Rosler. These are the designs I sent for approval.

Alternative mock up book cover

mockup no.1

Alternative mock up book cover

mockup no.5

Alternative mock up book cover

mockup no.4

Alternative mock up book cover

mockup no.3

Alternative mock up book cover

mockup no.2

After a bit more discussion this is what Jane went with – note the title change.

First book cover iteration

First book cover iteration

This led to me developing and organising the printing of advertising flyers based on this design for events Jane would be attending while visiting Australia. Not having access to a colour corrected high resolution image to work from was a pain as the only copies available were from the net and varied greatly in colour cast and size.

Once I knew that I would need to print from this image I selected one that I thought had the least offensive colour cast and prepared that one for print. Selecting the ideal shade of green to be used as the strap line under the sub title I thought was the end of my involvement.

Final cover using the Rosler image.

Final cover using the Rosler image.

Above is the final version of the mockup we used for advertising purposes.

Na-ah. Jane decided that she liked my cover treatment and wanted to use it for her book too. Okay!

The manuscript had cleared final editing, and was ready for typesetting. Jane and Thatch and myself had discussed the layout for the book, but I was not involved in the design at that point. When the initial layout arrived from typesetting, it failed to match the book Jane had in her head, Jane asked me to fix it for her.

Of course the Rosler image never arrived and no response came from her or her agent. As the deadline approached Jane had no option but to reconsider her choice of cover image. She sent me an image taken by mutual friends. This is where I went with it:

Alternative mock up book cover

Another mockup using a new image

But Jane’s editorial team shouted from around the world – “it doesn’t look like Jane!” So in a fit of early morning madness I made this:

Alternative mock up book cover

Could be Jane if you squint.

But after many hours of searching for the master image it failed as a contender and while Jane was delighted with the title treatment, the title was all I kept for the next bit. I took a stroll through some of my own images and picked a handful of them. Of those represented here, I sent only my favourite one to Jane as a possible starting point.

Alternative mock up book cover

From a selection of my images

Alternative mock up book cover

From a selection of my images

Alternative mock up book cover

From a selection of my images

Alternative mock up book cover

From a selection of my images. I love this one. I think it is beautiful.

Suffice to say that Jane is not into abstracts.

Just as everything was being finalised – happy happy! A painting that Jane had owned for 16 years inspired her. It was a bold and colourful statement that frankly I thought made a much better potential cover. Off we went again.

Alternative mock up book cover

Woman Drinking from the River of Life by Kay Singleton Keller

Alternative mock up book cover

Woman Drinking from the River of Life by Kay Singleton Keller

And again the worldwide chorus of Jane’s well meaning friends said, “no, no – Make the title smaller and stick the sub title up there too, but you shouldn’t cover the magpie!” Fortunately – I managed a work around that has silenced the critics and retained the integrity of a book cover where the title is more important than the background picture. Design by committee – nothing like it.

So here it is, in all it’s splendid plumage – the front Cover of Citizen Jane.

The final front cover

The final front cover.

In comparison the completion of the back cover was delayed by the wait for the high resolution image of Sybil Shearer. Unlike the Rosler image the MorrisonShearer Foundation responded to e-mails. So here finally, after several title and/or sub title changes, cover art changes, sundry delays and design by committee is the finished layout – more or less depending on the final width of the spine and with the addition of the barcode.

The completed cover for Jane's book.

The completed cover for Jane’s book.

The book is being prepared for print on demand via Amazon and will also eventually be available in assorted e-book formats too.
Here is a link to the Kickstarter Project where you’ll find the video. Citizen Jane: transformative citizenship – the book!
and this is Jane’s website where the book can be pre-ordered. Jane In the World

It’s a project that Thatch has taken and run with. Planning, organising and directing from the time of Jane’s early drafts through all stages including publishing and he has invested countless hours and much energy to bring all parts of the project to fruition. Jane wrote it and Thatch made it real. I’m just chuffed to have been a part of it.

Postscript: The first edition of the book is finally ready for publication. Last night I pressed the “go” button and we should be receiving a production copy in a week to 10 days time! Can’t wait to hold it and feel it and read it again as a real book rather than just on the screen.

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