When I was sent the brief for Somebody Loves You, I was immediately intrigued. The novel is about Ruby, a girl who gives up talking at a young age, and it examines family life as she embraces silence. Ruby’s mother suffers from mental illness and takes solace in the garden, in a pressurised suburban atmosphere. The writing is beautifully poetic, and I wanted the cover to signal the powerful and perfectly formed writing. I was lucky enough to get a copy of the manuscript and devoured it in a single sitting.
One of the main constants of the book is melancholia, and the brief suggested finding a balance between the beauty and the awful. I knew that the garden featured in the book, as Ruby’s mother becomes increasingly obsessed with it. I started to sketch plants from the garden, the weeds and insects that are described. I wanted to reference Ruby and her mother on the cover, and decided to do this in an unusual sense, using a saddened looking eye and partially closed lips. To hint at the melancholia, I made the background a mid-grey as if it were about to rain. The illustration, I think, contrasts nicely with the title ‘Somebody Loves You’ which I decided to place around the cover in a haphazard way.
I sent various concepts to And Other Stories, and was delighted when they chose this illustrated option, which was my favourite. When Mona Arshi approved the cover, I was over the moon. It has been a joy to work on this moving and special book. I had also sent a bright pink version of this cover, which has now been chosen for the subscriber edition.
First round options (copyright: Holly Ovenden)