‘Maze of Blood’ arrives in Cooperstown, New York

Marly Youmans has taken delivery of copies of her latest novel, and has e-mailed me photographs. Here’s a box full of Mazes. That’s Marly’s foot bottom left.

Mary-Frances Glover-Burt has done a beautiful job on the design of the book. Judging from Marly’s photographs I couldn’t be happier with the result. For one of the page decorations I’d used scrolled paper-streamers to form the convolutions of a brain, and it was Mary-Frances’ idea to use the scrolled motif on the title-page. However she needed some extra drawings in order for the streamers to flutter horizontally, and I was happy to oblige by making and sending them. She also deftly lifted the lettering I’d made for the cover, and used it on the title-page, unifying the jacket artwork with the interior of the book.

But beyond the sensitive book design, underwritten by the excellent production values at Mercer University Press, lies the fact that Marly and her publisher trust me implicitly to produce the work. Before I begin we barely discuss what I might do for her, and for the most part she doesn’t know what’s going onto the cover of whichever book I’m collaborating on, until the finished artwork arrives.

This process suits me perfectly. I’m a painter, and like to get on with things in pretty much my own way. Luckily I can choose my projects, and work only on those that interest me, and with people I trust.

Making images for the covers and the pages of books, is a long process. I read texts repeatedly to find my way into the authors’ worlds. I have to ‘cook’ the material, let it simmer away in my head like a stew until the images begin to float to the surface, where I can retrieve them and go about my work. After that there’s the process of designing, which is not my job, though I like to be a part of it. Finally there’s the printing, and the new work comes into the world, hopefully as I’ve been expecting it to look. Sometimes the results are better than expected, and thanks to Mary-Frances, Maze of Blood falls into that category.

10 thoughts on “‘Maze of Blood’ arrives in Cooperstown, New York

  1. So excited that Marly and ye have exited the Maze so that now we can all enter it! Brava Marly, as I know it will be an extraordinary read since indeed she is one of America’s best writers. Bravo Clive who is joined at Marly by the hipster/cosmic/weirdness visionary. Love to you both.

  2. I loved watching the process of you creating the illustrations for ‘Maze of Blood’, so it is a treat to finally see the published book.

    I am particularly drawn to the way the Hicks-Jenksian colour palette sings on the cover. Picasso said: “Colours, like features, follow the changes of the emotions.” Your use of colour has created a sense of dramatic tension, which leaves me in no doubt that the book is going to be an interesting read, but then how can it be anything else in Marly’s talented hands?!

    Congratulations to all concerned.

  3. The book looks simply stunning, the cover makes you just want to pick it up and open it and I can imagine it looking beautiful in a bookshop window or display, it just glows. As if that weren’t enough the inside is just as gorgeous and I’m so looking forward to getting my copy. I was knocked out by Glimmerglass and from what I’ve heard so far about this intriguing story I’m going to love Maze of Blood at least as much.

  4. The book looks great.
    I immediately went to Amazon to order a few, for myself and as gifts. They say they have the book in stock, but it will take a few days for them to be able to sell them. But my books shall come as soon as they can send them to me.
    And, they have the book marked as one of ” best books of 2015 so far ”
    ¡ Enhorabuena ! ( congratulations ) to you and to Marly !

    • Oh Maria, you are a star. You’re one of the first to purchase it, I’m quite sure. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed making the images. I’m sure you are. It’s a wonderful novel.

  5. This looks wonderful, Clive, I must get a copy. I can see it’s an enormous amount of work to produce this jewel of a book, almost on a geological scale. The designs here are perfect, and seeing them with text completes their meaning, even though we can’t read it fully. (BTW, I am running backwards with your artlog, I wrote a comment a few blogs ago which disappeared as I sent it , then a busy life took over, anyway I loved your last few re Hansel and Gretel!)

    • Liz, it looks as though it’s been a crazy busy summer for both of us. I am playing catch-up with your blog, too.

      I am pleased with the way this one has shaped up. I devoured the book several times, and then the images just poured out. It was the greatest pleasure to work on. And I never once discussed with Marly what I was making. She’s recently described us as being ‘metaphysical siblings’ (simultaneously entirely different and yet just the same), and so I knew she’d be happy with what I produced.

      Sending love. xxx

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