Wednesday, September 22, 2010

King Rat

So today I picked up one of my new favorite books for my illustration assignment. On the inside of the book it lists the "book design" by Victoria Kuskowski, but googling does not reveal what exactly she designed, if the cover was part of it. She might have only designed the inside pages, or designed the cover but not actually created the illustration. Searching for her name doesn't reveal anything much either, just that she designed some other books, sometimes the covers. I love this illustration because it relates well to the content of the book, which I'd argue is an important part of book cover design. I've read several books that have covers that don't have anything to do with the story itself. For example, I read a book about a man who was controlled by a dragon, set in modern Chicago, and he falls in love with the cop who's investigating the crimes the dragon made him commit. The cover has a guy in knight's armor, defending some princess, waving a sword at a fire-breathing dragon. This is not even close to what he book was about. I get that cover artists can't always read every book they design for, but when they're totally off it's a big pet peeve of mine.

This cover relates to the story by keeping it simple. Shadowy figure, rat's tail, and a city above. That's all you need to know. It has a grimy look and an orange-red color palette, gives itself a quiet mood that matches with the atmosphere of the writing. To me, it's a really great example of where the cover art and the actual story work very well together.


  1. Good post!

    How about looking in the book and finding the publisher's info (you can probably also find it via the Internet) and maybe you can email the publisher and ask them directly about the design/illustration. It would be interesting to know if the designer is also the illustrator.

  2. This is one of my favorite books! I agree that the book cover does fit very well with the story. I like the color palette and especially how fuzzy the picture is.