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Living with the Dead

December 20, 2011

Above is my wraparound cover art for Living with the Dead, a collection of stories by Martin Livings, to be released in 2012 by Dark Prints Press, a new Australian independent publisher established this year.

I collaborated with Martin on the idea for the cover.  We both thought that the best approach for this would be to come up with an image that played with the title, as it’s quite an evocative phrase in itself, rather than base the art on imagery from any particular stories.  So even though there is a story entitled Living with the Dead in the collection, the image isn’t a response to that particular story as such.

The idea of people with ‘skull heads’ came from Martin.  Years before, he’d been toying with cover ideas for this collection and threw together a quick mock-up where he took a vintage family photo and replaced everyone’s heads with skulls.  I thought this idea would work for the cover and used it as a starting point to develop the composition.  I liked the idea of having the woman appearing ‘alive'; Martin suggested that it should be the man so I came up with another sketch showing that, but in the end we went back to having the woman alive and both agreed that that seemed to work best.  Initially I just had a house on the left hand side, and it was Martin’s suggestion to change it to a church and add two gravestones next to it which I think adds a nice touch.  Martin has also posted some comments about the cover art process on his blog which you can read here.

You can find out more information about Living with the Dead here.

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