Saturday, January 07, 2012

A Wrinkle in Time Illustration

My Wrinkle in Time illustration:

A detail:

One of my favorite books from childhood was Madeleine L'engle's a Wrinkle In Time. There simply weren't any books like it at the time. Since the big fantasy boom in YA fiction, there have been a number of really excellent books in the genre that are as well written as any book for adults, but back then, our choices were limited. If you wanted to read fantasy or science fiction with a reasonable amount of sophistication, you had to read science fiction for adults. Otherwise, all there were were what they used to call "juveniles" written at the middle grade level, like The Wonderful Flight of the Mushroom planet by Eleanor Cameron, a great book, but the kind of book I'd outgrown. In fact, I tried to read A Wrinkle in Time when I was about nine, but it was too sophisticated for me, and didn't rediscover it till later. It quickly my favorite book. I've wondered to do some Wrinkle in Time art for a while now, and as I'm building up my portfolio with more YA pieces, I decided to take on the challenge.

This is Meg, Charles Wallace and Calvin riding Mrs. Whatsit, not transformed into a centaur with rainbow-colored wings. They're flying over Camazotz, the city ruled by "It" with small gray identical houses. In the distance I have tall factory-like smokestacks, as Central Central Intelligence lies just across the horizon. 

The Centaur image is a common one on many of the covers that have been done for the book, but it's an image that has really stuck in my mind from my first exposure to the book. That cover made a big impression on me, so my image, in a way, is a kind of tribute to that cover.

And here's the version I remember from my childhood, though I'm not sure of the name of the illustrator:

 My favorite version of the cover , more recently, was done by Taeeun Yoo:

I struggled a good deal to try to come up with an original take, but I'm afraid I was too attached to that cover from my childhood copy of the book, and was never quite able to move beyond it. Yoo, however approached the material in a very fresh way, and I think, really captured the feel of the book. I'm still happy with my own version, and had a great time doing it, and it's one step further for me in getting a more painterly look in my art.


  1. Nice.

    I feel like the image is just too blue and the wings too warm. They draw too much attention.

  2. Well, that's something to consider. I don't think it's an eye trap, though. Your eye still goes to the three figures in the center, first. My thought was that the "rainbow wings" (as described in the story) would be a dominant element, with the rest of the image mostly monochrome, since Camazotz is a grey world. And if it WERE an actual book cover, it would give the designer the opportunity to use attention getting bright red typography. :)