Knitting book cover
Tuesday, June 9, 2015 at 11:47AM
Alex Tomlinson

Back in February I finished a book jacket illustration for Ann Kingstone’s Lace Knits, but had to wait until it was out to brag about it. 

This was a thoroughly enjoyable job to work on.  Not just because the subject is so far removed from what I normally do, but also because I was working directly with the author (which you hardly ever get to do) and it turns out she’s really nice - which made everything so much easier.  She’d seen the image I did for the Tour de Yorkshire last year and wanted something in a similar style.

The brief was to come up with a design that looked like a girl’s annual from somewhere around the 1940s-ish (it drifted a bit).  We decided that the best way to do this was to integrate the illustration and the typography together in one painting mimicking the way it would’ve been done back in the 40’s. 

The idea behind the composition was the 3 models from the book as children ‘transported in time by the magic of knitting’ (I may have added that bit at the end to make me sound like I know what I am doing).  The tricky thing was that they needed to be wearing outfits based on the patterns inside the book.  I dunno how hard lace knitting is, but painting it is way harder than painting/drawing bicycles (and they ‘re a total pain, which is why I didn’t get around to doing a new image for this year’s Tour de Yorks).  I ended up with a painting style similar to Ladybird books in the early 60s it just seem to fit the level of detail required to show the knitting patterns.  A 40s or 50s painting style would’ve been a lot brushier and chunkier lines.

Once everything was painted there was a lot of ‘ageing’, print misalignment, ink fading etc to do in Photoshop.  I was worried that without an art director checking for colour correction there was a danger of it printing a bit ‘muddy’ but it’s come out pretty good and I’m well chuffed with the results.  It’s a nice object to hold, it’s got a good weight and quality feel to it which always helps sales from actual bookshops where people can handle the real thing before buying.  Ann seems v happy and that’s what matters.  She’s just returned from a book tour in the US so doubtless it’ll be “available in all good book stores” imminently.  At the moment the only link I have to buy it online is here.  I’ll add any more links as I get them.

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