Book Cover Illustration and Design, 2021
Author Eli Lee and Art Director Patrick Carpenter commissioned me to illustrate and design the cover for Eli's debut novel 'A Strange and Brilliant Light', published July 2021. It is a work of literary speculative fiction that explores the impact of the AI revolution through the eyes of three very different women.
Following an early creative discussion with Eli, the artwork concept focused on the interaction between organic and artificial intelligence. However, as the novel deals with the complexity of our relationship with AI, I wanted there to be some ambiguity and openness in this moment of engagement. Eli had written AI birds into the story, so although the starling appears to be the organic or 'real' being it could also be one of the 'auts' of the novel. By contrast the cyborg hand is flexed in a gesture of curiosity and perhaps even warmth towards the bird. The relationship between the two is open to interpretation and investigation.
The artwork style was influenced by air brushed, hyperrealist illustrations typical of 70s and 80s science fiction, as well as artworks from the 'Space Teriyaki' series curated by 50 Watts. The illustration was hand drawn and painted in acrylics using a very fine brush.
Earlier design explorations continued this theme and leant into pulp cover traditions. However, working with the publishers and the author the final design was more reflective of the contemporary literary fiction / science fiction crossover market that the title was aimed towards.
JO FLETCHER BOOKS is part of Quercus Books (Hachette UK) and specialises in science fiction, fantasy and horror.
Painting the cyborg hand
Painting the starling
Early design exploration
A STRANGE AND BRILLIANT LIGHT
Jo Fletcher Books, July 2021
Promotional wrapping paper featuring the illustration, for posting out long-lead review proofs.
Photo credit: Rosie Crofts