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.