Books By C. LItka
Tuesday, November 6, 2018
A New EBook Cover for Beneath the Lanterns
As I've mentioned in several previous blog posts, I had had a great deal of trouble coming up with a cover for Beneath the Lanterns. I'm not an illustrator, and really can't picture things or people in my mind.So even knowing the story inside out -- it was very hard to come up with a scene from the story that I could envision and could paint in my impressionistic style. In the end, I settled for a scene from the book, I was never all that happy with it. And so...
I've been painting regularly for 35 years now. In the beginning I painted with watercolors with a fair amount of detail. I mostly painted imaginary scenes. By the time I switched to a thicker paint; oils and then acrylics, I lacked the patience to learn how to use them to paint with any details. Instead I opted to paint in the impressionist style, a style, however, that I really like. Fast forward 16 years, and these days I have an even shorter attention span, and have run out of new imaginary places to paint, so it has been hard to paint.
This week I tried something different. Imagining a scene and painting it with nothing specific in it, just implying the scene. My first effort was a rainy evening street scene of sorts "Rain"
I liked how it came out, and well, the bulk of it took about the length of three or four Angus and Julia Stone songs to paint -- within my attention span. I then got the idea that I might try the same technique using a lot more colors and to kill two birds with one stone, try a scene from Beneath the Lanterns, in this case the Reed Bank -- a street in the story lined by townhouses on one side and eating houses, tea houses and drinking houses lining the shore of a lake on the other. So today I did "The Reed Bank", a detail of which I used for the new cover. I pictured the Reed Bank on the last day of the Bright Days, with the Yellow Lantern setting behind us and the street filled with carriages and rickshaws -- but of course, the idea is not to actually paint them, just imply them. (Or anything else you might imagine.)
So the cover new cover of the ebook version of Beneath the Lanterns is actually of nothing at all. It is, however in a long tradition of science fiction book covers. If you are old enough to remember buying paperback SF books in the 60's & 70's, you'll remember all those books with some sort of abstract, "science-fiction-ie" style of art -- with lots of weird shapes that were supposed to be, well, who knows what? Usually it meant a book I wouldn't like. But anyway, my new cover is in that tradition, except that it is more colorful than most of those.