Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Maisie Hitchins Blog Tour: Illustrator Marion Lindsay Talks Covers!

Maisie Hitchins longs to be a detective. She's sure there are lots of adventures to be had on the streets of Victorian London. And, together with her faithful puppy, Eddie, she is determined to follow even the slightest scent of a mystery - no matter what! In Book 5 of the Maisie Hitchins series, Maisie is intrigued by a new lodger, Mr Fred Grange, who isn't quite what he seems...Mr Grange claims to work as a clerk for a biscuit company, but he's out and about on the London streets at odd hours, and Maisie soon discovers something very precious hidden in his rooms. Determined to unmask him as a thief, she soon discovers that the truth is far more complicated - and dangerous. Before long, Maisie and her friends are led into a web of mystery lurking underground...

Maisie Hitchins: The Case of the Secret Tunnel by Holly Webb was published on May 6th by Stripes Publishing, and as part of the blog tour I have a really interesting post from Marion Lindsa, illustrator of the Maisie Hitchins book and covers!I love illustrations in children's books so this is a great post for me... thank you, Marion!

Make sure you check out more about Marion at her official site here.


Maisie Hitchins Covers
by Marion Lindsay

I am the lucky person who has the job of illustrating Maisie Hitchins and I have been asked to share a little about what is behind creating the covers.
Maisie is a girl living in smoky Victorian London where adventures happen and mysteries need to be solved. The cover for the first book "The Stolen Sixpence" with it's dark blues and smoking chimney's is all about evoking that mysterious atmosphere and setting the scene for Maisie's adventures to come. All the covers in the series have one strong overall colour and dark shadows framing the action which helps to visually bind the series together and keep that sense of atmosphere alive through each book.
When a new Maisie book is on the horizon, my publisher Stripes usually have thoughts about the sort of colour they would like the cover to be, and also which scene or combination of scenes they would like me to draw. I then set to work sketching and see what comes out. Below are the first very rough drawings for "The Case of the Feathered Mask" which is one of my favourite covers so far.

I sent these roughs to Lucy my designer who tried them out with text and then suggested putting the two sketches together by taking elements from each to make the final image. She was absolutely right, so I amalgamated the two and kept on drawing until it was perfect. Then I transferred the drawing onto watercolour paper and painted it in watercolour and acrylic ink, finishing off with a dark dip pen line around all the things I really wanted to stand out, like Maisie! This finished cover is the result of the process.

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