So today, Picador revealed the unique beauty that is the UK cover. It is hard to express my happiness at the sight of this extraordinary, collaborative piece of artwork. The time that has gone into it, the passion, the imagination, the wonderful match of cover with content - it is all plain to see for anyone who cares to look. All I can do really, is consider myself one of the luckiest writers around right now, and marinade in the talents of my publishers' design team.
Katie Tooke, Design Manager at Picador has blogged here about her approach to the cover, employing the services of A REAL LIFE MINIATURIST to make A REAL HOUSE. Yes, the house here is a real, 3D house and more about that will be revealed soon!
What was so extraordinary for me was the way Picador let me share in the process. I was consulted on the wallpapers, the paintings I'd like to see hanging on the walls, the expressions on the characters' faces...I mean, it was like Grand Designs or something. I am eternally grateful to Francesca Main (amainzing) for keeping me absolutely in the loop on the developments made each stage of the way.
Have a look inside the house! I would happily live here.
On my travels to Amsterdam, I saw these two items in the Rijksmuseum, so it was lovely to see both the colours and the shapes replicated in the house for The Miniaturist:
There are many references to maps in the book (unsurprisingly, given that Amsterdam was THE major trading hub of the world), and the miniaturist made a tiny version of one and put it in a golden frame. Just like in the story. Loving the use of Delft blue, as well.
and then there was Peebo, Nella's pet parakeet that she brings with her from the country. The miniaturist made a miniature version, and even a cage. Oh. My. God. And look at the shadow on the wall! The sense of depth is sublime.
And then, the figurines, drawn with excellent characterisation by Dave Hopkins. Here are the second-to-last sketches for Marin, Nella, Cornelia and Johannes before they were drawn with a blue wash. They are completely wonderful:
There was plenty of pictorial research available for the figurines, because, well, it appears that the Dutch LOVED to be painted. They were avid recorders of their own lives, even the simple act of folding linen!
And here are the figurines as mock cut-outs before being made with thicker card and washed in blue, sitting on Francesca's desk:
And then, to have a hand-painted sign saying THE MINIATURIST, JESSIE BURTON - just like the little mottoes of elusive meaning that the miniaturist sends Nella in the book - swinging from the house - well, reader, I nearly cried.
So there you are - as Katie said over on the Picador blog, the more you look, the more you see. I cannot WAIT for readers to get their hands on my novel and meet the characters captured in these figurines. This cover makes me want to dive in once more, and I've read the thing a million times.
Thank you SO MUCH to the Picador design team, for this handmade creation of beauty. I can feel the pulse of it, the heart and concentration it took. You are one in a million.