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  • Jen Williams

More cover news and thoughts on Folktober so far

I was excited to find out last week that the cover of A Dark and Secret Place was featured on Bookish as one of their favourite covers currently on Netgalley – pop over here to see the rest of the covers too. It really captures the tone of the book I think, and I love the ivy creeping around the font... A Dark and Secret Place is up for pre-order in the States now, if you fancy a dark, folk-horror tinged thriller – and hopefully soon I will have more news on Dog Rose Dirt (same book, different title) which will be out from HarperCollins in June 2021 (pre-order here).


October is a time for art projects, so this year I have been taking part in Folktober, a daily drawing prompt fest, which appears to have originated on Instagram - pop over there and search out #Folktober for some satisfyingly spooky/nature inspired art. Last year I had a crack at inktober and lasted about a week, so hopefully I'll keep it going for longer this year... My problem has always been coming up with ideas (when I was a kid and I spent 98% of my time drawing, I was forever badgering my mum for 'things to draw') so it's great to have little prompts to leap off of. I've been posting what I've come up with so far on twitter and instagram, but I thought it would be fun to put some of them up here too, with a little extra commentary on the whole process.



Day 1 was 'cicada', which meant to start with I had to look up what a cicada actually looks like... I realised straight away that I was much keener to draw the insect in its grub form, and the idea of an insect faery was also quite appealing. My favourite part of this picture is the grub's little blue butt.



I spent a lot of time sketching snakes for day three, and it turns out, snakes are not easy to draw. They have such funny little bony heads (also the longer you look at snake heads, the cuter they are - true fact). Then I remembered an old Grimm's fairy tale story called 'The Three Snake Leaves'. I read about it when I was doing research for Dog Rose Dirt (it makes an appearance in the book, in fact) and it's a really weird story about a princess being brought back to life with the use of three magical leaves. This image was one of those lovely rare occasions when the idea in your head comes out all in one piece, and I am especially happy with the snakeskin pattern in the background. It just goes to show: rule one of illustration - if you don't want to draw a thing, find a way around it.


This image was day two (acorn) and I almost didn't include it here because I hate it so much, hahaha. Sometimes an idea is exciting at the sketching out stage, and then once you've inked it all up, it has lost something that was there in the original drawing. This one is also a good example of the sort of very tight, fiddly drawing style that I tend to do naturally and would like to move away from. The snake image, for example, is a lot less over-worked and consequently is a much more striking image. One nice thing about this drawing is the green on that acorn. I like that a lot.


More images next week!

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