A Whimsical Letterpress and Design Studio Based in Winter Park, Florida

HELLO, all! 

BACK again for our fifth installment of our Book Cover Challenge and I have to admit this week was hard! Getting the reading done, having a fresh design in my mind and sitting down to write this blog post...it all started to feel overwhelming up until this morning. I work so much better under pressure, it's the darnedest thing. All week I floundered about the look I wanted to achieve for this cover and I didn't see the usual "image" in my head before I start designing. This morning though, whether it was because I knew I had to have something, I saw exactly what I wanted!

FROM where I am sitting right now, I had a pretty great morning drawing, lettering and mocking up the cover. It's this kind of day when I'm reminded just how much I love what I do - even if it makes me want to tear my hair out every now and then. If it were easy and monotonous then it'd quickly become boring and I'd be left uninspired and listless.

Onto this week's book: Great Expectations! Obviously this is a great read particularly for Dickens' style of writing. Incredibly, he had to be economical with his word count since Great Expectations was published in a serial publication but the writing itself is so dense and fluid it really feels like you're reading a book that's triple in length of the actual word count. 

THE story follows the young life of Philip "Pip", a poor boy who one day encounters a convict when he is visiting his family's graveyard (Pip's parents and siblings have all died and he's now in the care of his wretched older sister). Pip decides to help the convict out in a small way which the old convict never forgets. Later, Pip is summoned to a great house where he "auditions" to be a friend to a young girl named Estella. She is the adopted daughter of Miss Havisham, one of the most notorious antagonists in literature, who carries a whale sized grudge against all men. Estella is raised to be a cold heartbreaker and poor pip doesn't stand a chance against his beautiful new friend. Without giving too much away, there is serious twist in the end when the reader finally learns who Estella really belongs to and why she was adopted by Miss Havisham. Read this if you're into gothic period novels and well defined characters! The description and characterization of all the cast of characters is truly superb...as a quirky and creepy example, Miss Havisham, jilted at the altar, refuses to take off her moldering wedding dress and has set all of the clocks in her great mansion to 9:20...the exact time she learned she had been betrayed by the man she loved.

SOME trivia for all those who like to store up useless, but entertaining, information: The book was published in 1861 and it was Dickens' 13th novel. Originally, the story of Pip and Estella ended quite differently, but Dickens' editor was persuaded to change the ending to a happier one. As a result, several notorious critics of the day wrote that the novel would have been Dickens' best but for the ending. Interestingly, Dickens' last line in the book, upon close reading, isn't really a finite ending and it could mean several different things...including perhaps his original intent for the end of the book. 

FOR the design, as I earlier mentioned, I really struggled how to depict the novel. Whenever I design something I have to ask myself how much of "me" is going into the project. I prefer a certain aesthetic that looks, for lack of a better way to describe it, very "Isabel". Last week's Book Cover Challenge was beautiful and felt very 1920s but not really me, per se. I like to think my style is more whimsical and charming than it is formal. That being said, the look of this book is right up my own personal taste and style, I hope you like it! 

 Above are some of the illustrations that went into the cover! I LOVE silhouettes and for the era this book was published in, it felt right to incorporate that look. 

Since I did a silhouette of Estella and Pip, I thought I'd carry that over and include an outline of London, where part of the book takes place. I love the color gold and in my mind I saw the cover with gold foil.

I had a hard time picking a color for the cover...I love a great black and gold combo but I also leaned toward this vibrant purple below. So, I went with both! 

I hope you enjoyed this week's Book Cover Challenge! Come back next week for Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind! Which technically isn't a classic, but I like to think that it is so that really is the only thing that matters for this series. :)

-Isabel Davis


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