Discipline: Book design
Format: Book cover
Design firm: Beacon Press
Art director: Sara Eisenman
Designer/illustrator: Leigh Wels
Typeface: Hand drawn by Leigh Wells
Printer: Coral Graphics
Paper: 100# Coated One Side
Publisher: Beacon Press

Since Beacon Press is a publisher known for non-fiction, illustration was the best way to signal the transition to fiction. I chose Leigh Wells because her samples showed a down-home, magic otherness with collage, line drawing, oil, and watercolor that matched the book. She sent in three ideas. Though the editor originally preferred another sketch, she agreed to the turtle lady, loved it, and heroically defended it to the author. The turtle lady achieved national recognition and thank God we didn’t have to conform to some trite idea of what African American books have to look like.


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