by Allegra Goodman
Editor/Art Director: Jessica Rothenberg // Razorbill Books / Penguin
Jacket photograph by Andrea Chu
Model: Alexis Y // Generation
In the eighteenth glorious year of Enclosure, long after The Flood, a young girl named Honor moves with her parents to Island 365 in the Tranquil Sea. Life on the tropical island is peaceful—there is no sadness and no visible violence in this world. Earth Mother and her Corporation have created New Weather. Sky color is regulated and it almost never rains. Every family fits into its rightful, orderly, and predictable place...
Except Honor’s. Her family does not follow the rules. They ignore curfew, sing songs, and do not pray to Earth Mother. Honor doesn’t fit in with the other children at the Old Colony School. Then she meets Helix, a boy who slowly helps her uncover a terrible secret about the Island: Sooner or later, those who do not fit disappear, and they don’t ever come back.
This was my first assignment working with a YA (Young Adult) Publisher.
Having worked strictly for the adult trade market, I had to learn as I designed what was the appropriate look for the teen/tween market. My first attempts were either too sophisticated or too subtle for young reader. I had to learn a more direct language.
My first approach was to suggest the near future Utopian Island:
How about bullseye, because the character is an expert archer, overprinting in silver to represent a technology that blocks any signs of bad weather and the truth.
Nope? How about Adventure? (Honor is an excellent shot with a bow and arrow and uses her skills to save her parents):
Nope? Maybe I'll focus on the extreme atmospheric changes on the other side of the island
(In the future, They can control the weather so that it's always sunny over their community):
That's close. Let's depict the girl running in a storm (She searches for her missing parents on the "Other Side" on the island where the weather isn't under the government's control) Usually in adult trade, I try to avoid depicting the main character so up front. But for the YA market, it's OK to visualize them. Sorta like how Harry Potter is visualized as a branded character:
Out of all of those, let's go with this one:
Love the concept but can I find another stock image where the girl is much younger, wears no make-up, has the right expression of fear and determination and is set against a much stormier sky.
Hmmm, trying to find all of this in a single stock photo is impossible. IMPOSSIBLE. It would be much easier to shoot this. Luckily they agreed and increased my budget.
Photographer Andrea Chu had sent me a promo earlier in the week and Kelly Blair also recommended her as a person she worked with. Her portfolio showed lots of experience with working with children so I hired her for the shoot. We found the lovely model Alexis Y through a modeling agency.
The photoshoot. Alexis was so professional, patient, conveyed the characters emotions perfectly and was just a breeze to work with.
An outtake shot:
Thanks to LeeAnn Falciani for manning the wind machine.
and the storm cloud background by ryan/beyer/getty images
But the type was too active. Go simpler and more legible please.
After a bunch of tweaks to the type, coloration of the sky, and opening up the shadows on her neck and hair, VOILÀ! The FINAL DESIGN:
Here's a good tutorial on Masking Details No Bigger Than a Hair in Photoshop and a video tutorial: Masking Hair in Photoshop CS3