I am so excited to be sharing a guest post from Maria Lewis with you today, as part of the blog tour for her latest book, It Came From The Deep, a sci-fi murder mystery, and her YA debut. I’ve been a huge fangirl of Mazz since I met her last year at Nine Worlds, so I was thrilled when she accepted me as one of the blog tour bloggers. Check out her fantastic post on the inspirations behind the amazing cover for It Came From The Deep, which she designed herself, and which you can see at the bottom of the post. Over to you Mazz!
If you ever wanna have nightmares while you’re still awake, I highly recommend taking a dive into the work of Gustave Dore. The French artist was a devil for the details and I’ve always been fascinated by works where the more you look at them, the more you see. I have a collection of his artwork in book form that deals exclusively with dragons, demons and monsters, which he drew unlike anyone else, ever. Seriously, it’s hard to pour that much malice on to the page through your pen and through such fantastical creatures. Specifically his piece The Destruction Of Leviathan from an illustrated printing of the Bible was a huge influence and if you compare that and the It Came From The Deep cover side-by-side you’ll see that quite clearly.
I’m lucky enough to call BossLogic a pal after years of crossing paths on the pop culture circuit and a legion of similar interests. His art is pretty damn jaw-dropping across the board and he did some posters for a film that I was working on a few years ago that absolutely rocked. I mean, he has a huge following for a reason. Boss was one of the first people I spoke to about what It Came From The Deep could look like visually and he did an illustration of the merman featured in the book – which I’m going to be debuting in a few weeks – that physically took my breath away. I’d describe his art as cinematic and I definitely think of my stories in terms of visuals when I write them, so Boss was a huge inspiration.
Probably better known as that werewolf show that ran on Netflix for three seasons, Hemlock Grove is based on the book by Brian McGreevy. It also happens to be one of my favourite covers of all time, with the colour scheme, illustration, concept and execution flawless in my opinion. When you talk great book covers, Hemlock Grove is always the one I immediately think of. Although its influence on the It Came From The Deep cover isn’t obvious at first glance, I brought up the cover and stared at it for a good chunk of time before physically beginning work on my own cover. Whenever I would get stuck or lose sight of what I was after, I’d return to look at the Hemlock Grove cover as an example of what can be done in terms of visually communicating an entire story in a way that’s faithful but also an interesting piece of art.
Ramooooooon! That’s the only way you can pronounce his name, with maximum Os, as his illustrations draw out that kind of response. I’ve been a fan of his unique style for years across his work in comic books but also his Tumblr (which is like a geek haven). His unconventional and bold use of colour was one of the big motivators for the palette of the It Came From The Deep cover. He uses a lot of neon shades when he can and it engages the eye in such a way that I wanted the book to do the same. I bounced around a few different looks, but ultimately the bright turquoise was the final choice for It Came From The Deep and a lot of that decision making stems from being a fan of Ramon Villalobos’s work and movie posters that make those same jarring choices (think Atomic Blonde recently, but also Drive, Attack The Block, Byzantium, Vampire Academy, Thor: Ragnarok and Baby Driver).
ANCIENT SEA MAPS
Ancient sea maps and illustrations from naval explorers are fucking wacky to look back on now. Especially knowing the mythic sea creatures they drew into these maps were nothing more than manifestations of horny men who had been left out at sea too long. But that doesn’t take away from the fact they’re rather interesting. I wanted It Came From The Deep’s cover to feel somewhat like an ancient sea map on a subliminal level and although you can’t see it, there’s drawn layers-upon-layers that make up the final pattern. Among compass sketches and boats that gently fade into the background, I’ve also added specific sea creatures on top that are supposed to be clues as to what’s coming in the story. The novel is all about what’s down deep below and I use that literally in the artwork that represents it, with something deep down below every illustration on the cover.
DR JAZMINA CININAS
Look, I know this is a merpeople book but God damn it if I can’t slip a few werewolf references in there. I first came across Dr Jazmina Cininas’s work almost a decade ago now, when I had a very rough draft of Who’s Afraid? She did The Girlie Werewolf Project which was technically brilliant from an artist perspective, but also thematically brilliant as it looked at the persecution of women as werewolves, monsters and beasts. A feminist scholar, her way of communicating her thoughts through these intricate, twisted versions of fairytales was something that I drew heavily from when mocking up the first It Came From The Deep cover. She manages to make work that’s extremely modern in its thinking and references, but simultaneously looks old and historical. I tried to capture that with some of the images used juxtaposed alongside the font and colour scheme. Her work is plastered all over my office, so naturally it bleeds into a lot of what I do. I also had a chat with her for my podcast, Eff Yeah Film & Feminism, and it was fascinating to pick her brain: https://soundcloud.com/eff-yeah-film-feminism/eff-yeah-film-feminism-ep29-dr-jazmina-cininas
Thanks so much for such a fascinating guest post Mazz! I love looking at this cover after reading the inspirations for it, and I hope you all do too. I also highly recommend you click on the links Maria has provided so you can see the parallels for yourselves!
It Came From The Deep is released in eBook worldwide on 31st October. I hope you’ve enjoyed this guest post from Maria Lewis – check out her twitter (@moviemazz) for more fabulousness, and to see the other stops on the tour!
An elderly professor is murdered, leaving a puzzling crime scene for police to unravel and a laboratory housing all kinds of marine life. But something is missing … something huge.
Recent highschool graduate Kaia Craig has problems of her own, with her career as an ironwoman on the Gold Coast in jeopardy after a horrific accident. Yet someone wants to hold her accountable.
After nearly drowning in Lake Pelutz and her attackers on the run, Kaia is left with more than just physical injuries. She’s convinced she saw something in the depths of the lake: something that choose to spare her. Uncertain whether she’s running towards the discovery of a friend or foe, Kaia begins digging into a mystery that may have bigger ramifications than she or any of her friends can fathom.
It Came From The Deep is a thrilling combination of young adult and science fiction from the author of the critically acclaimed Who’s Afraid? series, Maria Lewis.