Cristy Burne


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I finished a second edit of The Filth Licker!

Woo hoo….   I’ve just send the latest version of Takeshita Demons II to my editor at Frances Lincoln Childrens Books, and I think it’s terrific! It was a rocking story even before Janetta gave me her feedback and ideas, and now, after a good going over complete with new exciting ideas, it’s even better than before.

What do you think? The Filth Licker
One major change, suggested by the sales team and prompted by Janetta, is the title. The working title was FORESTS AND FILTH LICKERS, but for reasons that will be apparent when you read it, we changed the title to THE FILTH LICKER. And I love it. Sometimes simple (if a little gross) is best.

And more great Takeshita Demons news:
Siku
, the artist behind the awesome cover for Takeshita Demons (and the manga-style art scattered throughout its pages) is working on more amazing art for The Filth Licker.  I can’t wait to see what he comes up with.

And in techno-toy-joy news: We have an iPad!
And it’s soooooooooooooo cool. Fergus is already playing piano and flicking through photo albums. And his parents are pretty hooked too.

This, my friends, is more of the future than I ever thought I’d see. I had no idea things this cool already existed.

And guess what? I’d happily read a book or manuscript on this baby. They’re coming, people. The e-book, with all its  incredible potential (for rubbish as well as brilliance, just like the internet) is on its way. As writers and readers, we are so lucky to be around for this.

So what’s next?
Well, I have an itching. The first scene of Takeshita Demons III is an exciting one, and I can already see it unfolding. But first, some changes to the  plot outline are required, since some pesky characters (and yes, Alex and Cait: that means both of you!!) acted completely out of turn and didn’t stick to the script in The Filth Licker. Don’t you just love fiction!!

xx


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Interview with Jane Donald, senior designer for Frances Lincoln Children’s Books

Jane Donald is senior designer for Frances Lincoln Children’s Books and the visionary behind the awesome Takeshita Demons cover.

What makes a cover work? How are covers born? What do you need to recognise a great cover: do you need to be an artist? a sales professional? a book lover?

We caught up with Jane to discover more about the book covers she loves and creates every day…

1.    How did you get in to your role?

I studied Graphic Design at university and always favoured illustration projects. Any self-initiated brief was always to do with creating children’s books, so I knew I’d enjoy working in this industry if I could get my foot through the door.

When I left university I did various stints of work experience, one being at Egmont publishers and then heard about the junior role here at Frances Lincoln. I applied, got the job and 5 years later I’m still here!

One of Jane's Top 3 favourite book covers: Mother by Juliet Heslewood

Fave 3 Frances Lincoln covers: Mother by Juliet Heslewood

2.    What does an average day entail? What are you working on today?

My average day usually entails working on a couple of different projects.

Today I have dropped in some new artwork for a picture book, added some finishing touches to the interior spreads of another title and I’ll probably have a look at some fiction covers which are overdue this afternoon!

3.    How do you decide on a cover?
We’ll read the manuscript first and I’ll either start mocking up ideas or find an illustrator who we feel will work well with the text.

Then it’s a case of getting ideas and roughs together to show our Sales team and author for feedback. At this stage the roughs are often sent out to both customers and target audience for comments and opinions too.

Then we’ll reconvene with all the conflicting opinions(!) and make a decision as to which we think will work the best overall.

4.    What makes a great cover?

The cover for Miss Fox by Simon Puttock

Fave 3 Frances Lincoln covers: Miss Fox by Simon Puttock

Something which is simple and attention-grabbing, but gives you a good sense of what the book is about.

5.    What are your 3 favourite covers from Frances Lincoln?
Apart from Takeshita Demons of course, I would have to say…

  • Mother (adult title) by Juliet Heslewood
  • Under the Weather (children’s fiction) by Tony Bradman
  • Miss Fox (children’s picture book) by Simon Puttock illustrated by Holly Swain

Jane's fave cover of all time: The End of Mr Y by Scarlett Thomas

Jane's fave cover of all time: The End of Mr Y by Scarlett Thomas

6.    What’s your favourite cover of all time?
Now that’s a really tricky question!!!

I really love the covers which Jon Gray designs and all the Gothic Horrors and clothbound series’ by Coralie Bickford-Smith. They’re all really beautiful and a real inspiration.

If I had to choose one, I’d probably go for Jon Gray’s design for The End of Mr Y by Scarlett Thomas. Not only is the illustration and typography great, but I love the whole production of it. It has black edges to the pages, gold foil and special lamination (without being OTT) and just works beautifully as an object as well as being a great read.

I’m sure I’ll have a new favourite cover next week when I browse the shelves!

7.    How did you get inspiration for the Takeshita Demons cover?

Fave 3 Frances Lincoln covers: Under the Weather by Tony Bradman

Fave 3 Frances Lincoln covers: Under the Weather by Tony Bradman

I think instinctively we felt it needed a manga-style illustrator to get across the Japanese feel. I looked through a lot of illustrator’s portfolios and various manga books to get a feel of what we could do.

I knew of Siku from seeing his Manga Bible and Judge Dread work and thought he’d work perfectly. We let him do all the hard work by giving him a fairly open brief with only a few specifics and he didn’t disappoint. As you saw, he came up with various rough ideas which were all great.

8.    Do you work with new illustrators? How should they get in contact?
Yes, we love working with new illustrators.

The best thing to do is to send samples into us by email or post. We can’t necessarily reply to everyone, but we do keep samples on file and often look through to see if anyone would fit a text we may have. Websites are great too, I love to browse through people’s work.


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Takeshita Demons: help us choose the cover art

In fab news, art director Jane Donald is now working on the cover art for Takeshita Demons. She’s discussed some ideas with Siku, a renowned graphic artist who’s worked for Sega Europe, Usborne, Marvel Comics and more. He’s also worked on The Manga Bible and Judge Dredd. This guy can really draw!

The roughs we’ve had back are all ace, featuring Miku, Cait and some very spooky yokai from the book, but now for the tough bit: which one do we choose?

Takeshita_Demons_cover_roughs_SIKU

I love them all, but that doesn’t help. I guess we need to think about:

  • how they’ll look in colour,
  • how they’ll look when shrunk down on Amazon pages or in book catalogues,
  • how well they represent the book and its style and story,
  • how well they appeal to boys, to girls,
  • how well they appeal to parents and librarians (who may well be forking out the cash)
  • gut feeling
  • other stuff  (what other stuff? what else should we be thinking about?)

Which cover idea do you prefer? What do you like about it?