Book Cover

Practical Assignment
Book Cover

Design a book cover for one of the following:
a.) “To the Lighthouse” by Virginia Wolf: use complementary colours to express anguish and uncertainty.
b.) “The Maiden’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood: use analogous colours with a contrasting accent to express disagreement and discontent.
c.) “The Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupery: use secondary colours to express naivety, honesty and harmony.
The book cover must contain the title and the author’s name.
You must clearly make use of colour to express the desired effects.

Of course, I chose B, which is certainly not called ‘The Maiden’s Tale’ but rather ‘A Handmaid’s Tale’ by Atwood.

I’m a bit of a Dystopian nut – my favorite film is Blade Runner and my favorite book is Brave New Wrold By Huxley.

I liked Dystopian fiction before it became The Hunger Games, Divergent and the Uglies. (I’m not sure if that statement makes me sound like more, a hipster or a curmudgeon, how’bout both.)

While I always liked the book, it was more for the concept then the actual delivery. I regard Atwoods style the same way as I regard Rand’s; wooden, self obsessed and quite naive.

Teens love their stuff.

But like I said, the concept is great, clearly dystopian.

The book has scenes of a deeply totalitarian religious dictatorship/theocracy, a repressed/oppressed woman, who is essentially a professional concubine, who is both needed and shunned by society, she is forced to wear all red and a very large white hat with wings much like those worn by some congregations of catholic nuns to obscure her features :

Like these

Like these

Description of Atwoods ‘Handmaid’ by wikipedia (so you understand if you haven’t read it):

Handmaids are fertile women whose social function is to bear children for the Wives. They dress in a red habit that completely conceals their shape, plus red shoes and red gloves. They wear white wings around their heads to prevent their seeing or being seen except when standing directly in front of a person. Handmaids are produced by re-educating fertile women who have broken the gender and social laws. Needing fertile Handmaids, Gilead gradually increased the number of gender-crimes. The Republic of Gilead justifies use of the handmaids for procreation based on biblical stories.

This aesthetic is central to the book and since the beginning, has been virtually synonymous with the piece… This left me with very little choice as to which analogous and contrast colours to choose, the result was this:


It was difficult to balance the requirements of the task without the piece being muddied or flat, so I did what I could with what I had. The contrast colours as a whole ignite an emotional response, if not the bearing of the subject itself, which is awkward and haunted.

I worked mostly on the expression of the face and left the majority of the peripherals simple and more as an afterthought. The original sketch was done in pencil then was transferred to photoshop where I used Kuler and custom brushes. I may turn it into an actual oil painting soon as I appreciate the feeling and the tone of it myself.

The subject is projecting a sense of agony and anguish, bordering on the moment of a psychotic break, as this is how I perceived Offred (the protagonist). Clearly the style is influenced by the likes of Jesus Leguizamo and Francis Bacon’s (two of my favorite artists) collection of portraits of Pope Innocent X:



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