Youmans (pronounced like 'yeoman' with an 's' added) is the best-kept secret
among contemporary American writers. --John Wilson, editor, Books and Culture Marly Youmans is a novelist and poet out of sync with the times
but in tune with the ages. --First Things

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Catching the spirit--

Study for the jacket/cover by Clive Hicks-Jenkins.
The final jacket has a warm, peachy background
and also contains A Novel, skittering around
the dragon's spines. Design work by
Burt & Burt.
Comments from Clive Hicks-Jenkins on making the cover art for Glimmerglass, taken from a comment on his Artlog:

I read Glimmerglass three or four times before I made the cover and the interior decorations for it, and I really loved the novel.

Marly is a friend of mine, and making covers and chapter-headings for her books really feels like a collaboration, which is not at all the way I hear many illustrators feel about commissions to make covers. Marly gives me free-rein to take the ideas where I think best, and is always gracious about the outcomes. I think it takes remarkable generosity on her part to give me that kind of freedom, as she must have ideas of her own, and yet she understands the processes of creativity so completely that she only ever offers positive responses. In fact I think she quite enjoys being taken by surprise!

detail, rear jacket
For my own part I never attempt to ‘illustrate’ the covers of Marly’s books, but try to create ‘moods’ for them that will have allure for anyone spotting them on bookstore shelves or in window displays. That’s my job, to catch the attention long enough to arrest the gaze of a potential purchaser, hopefully to the point of picking up the book to look inside. I have to be true to the spirit of the book, rather than try to reproduce in a picture what Marly has already achieved so beautifully in words. I attempt to make a setting (the covers) for her words (the novel). I see the image as being an accompaniment, like a pianist accompanying a singer, though I realise that might sound a tad fanciful.

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Alas, I must once again remind large numbers of Chinese salesmen and other worldwide peddlers that if they fall into the Gulf of Spam, they will be eaten by roaming Balrogs. The rest of you, lovers of grace, poetry, and horses (nod to Yeats--you do not have to be fond of horses), feel free to leave fascinating missives and curious arguments.