Another entry for the Penguin/Puffin cover design contest, this time for the adults section.
The book is a given btw - I hadn't read One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (only seen the movie, and that quite a long time ago) but am quite glad that this gave me the kick to do so! It hasn't lost any of its relevance, and besides, is a surprisingly good and funny read, given the grim topic!
The book is all about the juxtaposition of the strict rules and unbending order imposed by Nurse Ratched, and the element of chaos introduced by rebellious, fun-loving McMurphy. The text abounds with visual symbols to pick from: I went for the broken window (McMurphy repeatedly smashes the glass partition between the nurse's office and the patient's common room), and the leaping salmon, who crops up repeatedly in Chief Bromden's reminiscences, as well as in the fishing trip with is the high point of McMurphy's endeavors to break Nurse Ratched's rule.
Obviously, the entire book is about the brain/mind, and what is being done to it -- looking up reference on the net, I found that a single brain cell resonates admirably with the broken window pattern I was after, which was an opportunity too good to pass up. I actually went and did a 3 D model in Lightwave for the purpose, partly in order to not run foul of any copyrights, but also because I've always wanted to experiment with using generated 3D images for illustration. Fortunately, this particular shape was really easy to model! Still took me the best part of a day (err -- night) to get the textures and lighting and camera settings right. But it's been quite a while since I had an opportunity to jump into Lightwave, and one wants to keep up one's hard gained skills! So it was quite worth the effort. In the event, I am not quite sure if it might have been better/more coherent, to design the brain cell in Illustrator as well, but then again I quite like the idea that it adds to the visual Otherness of the focal area on the cover.
The design deliberately references the classic Penguin "grid" - and the Penguin orange! - picked the light blue because it was the complementary color, but it also works really well to evoke both the freedom of sky and fresh sea air, and the clinical coolness of the setting. I deliberately went for some rather bright, psychedelic colors for the central image - after all, the book is about psychedelic drugs, among other things. Hope it didn't turn out looking too goofy and cartoony!
Anyway, please let me know what you think! And if there is anything that really does not work.
Thanks to ~EquineStockImages
for her fantastic stock photo of leaping salmons! Perfect for my purpose:
-- heaps of other great animal reference to be found in that gallery!