Meet Rose Casson

Saturday, September 25, 2010


I'm repackaging a series with Simon and Schuster by Hilary McKay, and I'm in love. It's a brilliant jewel of a series about a quirky British family with children named after colors (Permanent Rose, Indigo, Caddy–for Cadmium–etc.) In a list of adjectives because I am at a loss for words, McKay's writing is sweet, complex, witty, poignant, and hilarious. I feel as though I've always lived in that chaotic Casson house, and I am especially blue (moved to tears!) that I've reached the end of the last book. I'm comforted to have the series of covers ahead to continue living among the Cassons for a bit.

The first cover I finished was for Forever Rose (below). The lovely title type work was done by Michael McCartney at Simon and Schuster. Michael's been one of those art director/designer combos an illustrator hopes for: stellar typographer, carefully committed to accuracy (he's definitely read his Casson!), in tune with mood of the series, and inspirational in fashioning the characters and cover compositions in a fresh way, while leaving me a lot of room to dream them up. Forever Rose's painting soundtrack was Let Your Love Grow Tall by Passion Pit. Next up: Indigo's Star!


Wild (and Permanent) Rose Casson wormed her way right into my heart. She is the youngest of the Casson children: fierce and vulnerable, passionate and real (sort of reminds me of the rose in the Little Prince, if the rose were a little girl, of course!) She has her own blog. She is also a blossoming artist, creating murals on the kitchen walls, tagging along to her artist mother's "young offenders" art class for misguided youths (where she steals her infamous "Crime Pays" tee) She holds grudges, will not wear her glasses since she prefers to see the world slightly blurred, eats paint to taste color. Rose Casson is fab. Here's a sketch I did of her on my own time (click to enlarge):


And, as if she needed to do more to win me over, she exhibits flawless taste in picture books on page 277 in "Forever Rose" (it's Lauren Child's I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato) . Here Rose describes drawing with charcoal in such a lovely way:

"My charcoal is made of willow sticks. It is a dark and silvery gray color. The sticks are so light that you cannot feel the weight of them in your hand, but they are solid too...The sound of it drawing on paper is like a rustle. Like an echo of leaves. If you look carefully at a stick of charcoal you can see where the leaves once hung; they have patterns like grains of sand, as if a minute bubble burst there and left its shell behind. It is lovely stuff to draw with. You can layer it into darkness or brush it away like a dream. You feel like you are drawing with shadows."

I urge you, reader of any age, to PLEASE go and meet the Casson family straight away! You will fall in love too.

15 comments:

Hannah Stephenson said...

Your illustrations are gorgeous!!! Your care for the story truly shows...

martinealison said...

Bel hommage grâce à ce beau dessin...

Anna Alter said...

I love your cover! The textures are so beautiful, are you painting on wood?

We're actually thinking of some paint colors as baby names, love the name Indigo!

Julia Denos said...

Thank you Hannah! I am so in love with the stories...it was so much fun.

Merci encore pour les paroles aimables que vous, Martine!

Anna-I love how Rose's full name is Permanent Rose, their mother just looked on the color chart in the kitchen to name them all! You should totally do a color baby name!! Hope all is well on the west coast.

Amanda Atkins said...

I looooove it, Julia!

Libby Koponen said...

I love the way you've painted Rose! The books sound great and your covers will help more people find out about them.

NanaBeast said...

Julia,
I've read all these books and Hilary's Exiles series as well as others. I love them all and especially love your cover illustration! I read the Exiles when I need to lift my spirits with a good laugh. I know more readers of the Casson Family will be born with your cover art to temp them.

Alina Chau said...

This is lovely!

Jacqueline Hudon-Verrelli said...

I love the vintage feel of this drawing. Beautiful.

Libby Koponen said...

Julia! I have now finished reading all the but the last in the series -- but (sadly) they came from Amazon with only two of your covers: INDIGO'S STAR (brilliant, brilliant job -- you really captured the characters perfectly and I love the design). When will your other covers be out???

I will have to write a separate letter to express my love for these books. She is a genius and it adds to the fun that YOU are the artist. But I want to have all of them with your covers, when will they be ready?

Helen said...

I love your interpretation of Rose Casson, and the cover is beautiful! It has a real vintage feel. It reminds me of books I loved as a child. But I thought Rose's friend Kiran (in the background) was Asian -- she definitely has very dark hair. I was a bit disappointed to see her look so English. When will your other covers be out? Looking forward to seeing them.

www.juliadenos.com said...

Yes, Helen, you are correct! This cover did evolve since posted, one change was to give Kiran her dark glossy hair according to the character. At this stage in the painting, I hadn't fully read the book and now Kiran is represented more correctly. Thanks for carefully checking! I'm going to post all the final covers in an upcoming Casson post, so watch for it then!

Thanks again,
Julia

Helen said...

Thanks for your reply, Julia. I just had a look on amazon.com now & saw the new Kiran; she looks lovely!
Thanks again for your reply & congratulations on the cover.

Helen

Amanda said...

These are SO GORGEOUS!!!!!!!! I appreciate your love for these books; they're my favorite books ever! You are an amzing artist!!

amateur idler said...

Crime pays! I love the Cassons! I'm going to make my own painting shed in the garden someday soon.