puffin-books

Excited to share my recent project with Random house books illustrating the cover for their Puffin Books Series, The Wolves of Willoughby Chase. It was a great experience to work on this cover, being able to illustrate the text as well as the image. This is a draft version of the final cover, which will be in UK book stores this summer. Thanks very much AD Matt Jones for the opportunity and wonderful art direction.

When there is a mysterious, long lost princess/queen/God in the book ur reading…

Me: oh look, there is a charecter that has been missing for 16 years, hmmm

Me: oh look, the main charecter is 16 years old

Me: oh look, the charecter can’t remember thier past/family member

Me: … let me guess, the main character is the missing person

*book says that main character is missing person*

Me: wow I didn’t see that one coming…

I’ve always loved the Puffin house style of the 70s. I mean it’s difficult to find an iteration of Puffin I don’t love. But it’s my favourite. It’s a bit before my time but I have an older brother who may have had the later ones new, and in any case most of my childhood books were from the library, or second hand*

Somehow it never occurred to me, despite the style being incredibly distinctive, that these were all the work of a single artist. Her name was Jill McDonald, she was was born in New Zealand in 1926 and she worked as the house illustrator for The Puffin Club from 1967 till her death in 1982.

She is definitely one of my In-House Illustrator/Designer Heroes even though I didn’t know her name till today! I even have one of her style of Puffin-club badges (to be fair, I have like four Puffin Club badges).

This one isn’t mine, mine has a gold background.

I love you too, Fat Puffin.

* Actually that’s a point, we weren’t exactly rolling in money but I had a middle-class upbringing with parents who imparted a devotion to books to me. And yet books were things that came from the library, the second-hand shop, the jumble sale or were passed on. The occassions I got a new book - the new Terry Pratchett at Christmas, the time my nan took me to Foyles when I was visiting and I wasallowed to buy a paperback (The Horse and His Boy) stand out as special and unusual. I don’t remember any trips to Waterstones eith my parents. Is this a very 80s/90s attitude and now bookish kids expect to buy lots of new books, or do I just have a skewed opinion from working as a bookseller? I’m glad I had my version anyway. While children’s/YA publishing has never been so rich, I got a very wide and varied exposure to literature.