Sunday, May 29, 2011

Reading Matters 2011 - Part 4

If you are still reading this (Part 4 in my Reading Matters recaps) - thank you for sticking with me this far!
After some afternoon tea, we had a panel I was pretty excited about:

Cover Versions was something a bit different. It began with Zoe Sadokierski (a designer and academic) speaking about covers, her design process and some insight into her PhD work on the relationship between words and images.
  • Zoe has designed around 200 book covers including Good Oil, Beautiful Malice, Saltwater Moons and The Golden Day (check out her online folio for more - they are all stunning!). Zoe commented that she likes doing YA covers as the genre is "dark and hopeful" and reads the books before working on the covers.
  • Zoe then spoke about her academic research and showed some examples of the use of the graphic device in novels like Jonathan Safran Foer's Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. Unfortunately I didn't get a clear photo of any of Zoe's slides, but they were so interesting.
  • Zoe discussed some of her processes for working on covers and the way design is also incorporated into the layout and typesetting. She used The Golden Day as an example of a text which uses illustrations to connect the cover to internal design.
  • She commented on how many of these visual details "enhance the story".
Then for something a bit different: we got to see a Gruen-Transfer style panel. Three designers (Zoe, Tony Palmer and Bruno Hersft) had been given a brief for a YA cover (The Apothecary by Maile Meloy), they had two minutes to share and talk about their design before the covers would be judged by a panel made up of a teen reader, a bookseller and a librarian.
  • Tony went first and showed us some of his development sketches and discussed his process and then presented us with multiple covers, as he always does a number of options. His designs ranged from very commercial to some beautiful black and white pieces.
  • Up next was Bruno was presented one, incredibly striking image which played on the nuclear disaster hook of The Apothecary's synopsis. I also thought spine design (yes, he did that too) was amazing!
  • Then came Zoe, who created a cover which she wanted to have an "old feeling" without looking too retro. She also commented that she wanted to create a sense of duality on the cover.
  • The panel then gave feedback on each cover and thankfully, they did not have to pick a winner. We then got to see the real cover.
Time for the final panel of the day - Ron Brooks in conversation:
  • By this time, my note-taking hand and my neck were kind of sore, so I didn't write down much - plus it was nice to just listen to Ron talk about his career as an illustrator.
  • I have to say that I wasn't very familiar with much of Ron's work before this session, but it was still interesting to hear him speak about some of the issues he faced working on books like Fox, the way he payed homage to his grandparents house in Midnight Cat and how he found inspiration for Honey and Bear in his own backyard.
  • Ron ended the session by showing us a few sketch from a new story he is working on entitled The Coat.
Random comments and people-spotting:
  • The food was really, really good.
  • I was so thrilled when the lovely Aimee Said came up to me in Storey Hall and sat next to me for the whole day, and I was stoked to finally meet her (and was kind of massively fan-girling on the inside).
  • Also spotted (and got to say a brief hello to) Kate and Dugong Lady.
  • Had a quick chat with Adele, who had taken over MC duties for the afternoon and did an awesome job.
  • Spotted Amra Pajalic and Cath Crowley (who in my head, I still often refer to as Miss Crowley from my high school days), as well as soon-to-be-mega-author-star H.J Harper.
Whew! And now I come to the end of a long but very enjoyable day! To read about Day 2 at Reading Matters, head over to Megan's blog, Literary Life. Megan and I shared a pass to the conference (as both of us really, really wanted to go but neither of us could really afford to go on our own - so thanks CYL and SLV for letting us split a pass so we could both attend and blog about the events).

Overall I had a great time and I feel so lucky to have been able to attend and hear some of my favourite authors speak, as well as get to spend the day in the company of hundreds of other people who are passionate about childrens and YA books.

Links you should check out:
Centre for Youth Literature
Inside a Dog
Read Alert blog
Reading Matters tweets
Amra Pajalic's wrap-up of Reading Matters Day 1


Aimee said...

Thanks for keeping me company, Steph - it was brillo to finally meet you offline!

Shirley Marr said...

How interesting was the sound of this panel? I love cover designers! In my head they're the stylists who dress up all the authors and make them look nice and everyone hopes they get the prettiest cover of them all and not a fail cover.
So glad you enjoyed the whole experience Miss Steph and I really can't stop saying how awesome your blogging skills are.

Miss Friday said...

Aimee - awww, thank you! It was lovely to spend the day with you :)

Shirley - it was so interesting!!! I love cover art and it was really fun to see how designers worked and get some insight into their process. And thank you so much for your kind words Shirley, much appreciated :D

Nomes said...

steph, these posts have been completely awesome. i have devoured them in my feeder and really loved reading everything about reading matters. i should try and get to it in '13...

thanks so much for taking notes and taking the time to share about it with all of us!

x Nomes

Holly said...

Soon-to-be-mega-star-author? Ha haaa. Shucks! *Blushes* I wish you had come and said hello to me in the bookshop! Or perhaps you did and I was so up to my elbows in selling books that I only had time to grunt? Sorry if it was the latter, was crazy busy but so much fun!

Miss Friday said...

Nomes - awww, thanks! I'm glad you've enjoyed them and yes, would love to see you come down here for RM'13!!!!

Holly - it's true! I wanted to say hi, but everytime I looked over, you were super-busy :)

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