The Contrary Tale of the Butterfly Girl


Three months after The Singular & Extraordinary Tale of Mirror & Goliath I can reveal my cover design for Ishbelle Bee’s sequel, The Contrary Tale of the Butterfly Girl. Here’s a summary, swiped once again from the Barnes & Noble SF & Fantasy blog:

Two orphans, Pedrock and Boo Boo, are sent to live in the sinister village of Darkwound. There they meet and befriend the magical and dangerous Mr Loveheart and his neighbour Professor Hummingbird, a recluse who collects rare butterflies. Little do they know that Professor Hummingbird has attracted the wrath of a demon named Mr Angel-Cakes.

One night, Mr Angel-Cakes visits Boo Boo and carves a butterfly onto her back. Boo Boo starts to metamorphose into a butterfly/human hybrid, and is kidnapped by Professor Hummingbird. When Mr Loveheart attempts to rescue her with the aid of Detective White and Constable Walnut, they are turned into butterflies.

Caught between Professor Hummingbird and the demon Angel-Cakes, Loveheart finds himself entangled in a web much wider and darker than he could have imagined, and a plot that leads him right to the Prime Minister and Queen Victoria herself…

I also supplied some comments about the design for the B&N post. I knew this would be an enjoyable job as soon as I read the title since I approve of anything involving butterflies. The main challenge was that the first cover came out so well—and has been very well received—that the new design needed to be just as successful. Ishbelle’s novels are wild and crammed with so much incident I keep thinking these covers are, if anything, a little sedate. But the main task of a cover is to attract new readers not illustrate every last plot detail, and in that the first cover seems to be doing its job. The Singular & Extraordinary Tale of Mirror & Goliath will be out at the end of June; The Contrary Tale of the Butterfly Girl will be published at the beginning of August.

Previously on { feuilleton }
The Singular & Extraordinary Tale of Mirror & Goliath

4 thoughts on “The Contrary Tale of the Butterfly Girl”

  1. Saying something: even better than the last one!

    Some canny publisher should put out a new collection of fairy tales with figures in silhouette–much like Rackham’s Sleeping Beauty–illustrated by you.

  2. Thanks, Joe. Trying to match Rackham’s Sleeping Beauty would be a considerable challenge, it’s not only one of his best books but the best I’ve seen in that style.

  3. Is it fair to see the sword-wielding character’s chequered cloak as a Hipgnosis shout-out?

  4. Heh, like Caravan’s Cunning Stunts cover? It looked like that at one point but that wasn’t the intention.

    The diamonds solved the problem of the original silhouette being too filled out by the solid coat (the figure’s outfit was based on a drawing of the author’s). To separate the figure from the coat I first tried some parallel lines arranged to follow the folds. But they didn’t look right, and there was a chance they’d block together when viewed from a distance. So the diamonds was the next stage after that. At one point the diamonds were open as on the album cover but that also didn’t work, hence the fill.

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