“Pride and Prejudice is definitely my favorite Austen novel… I just think it’s an amazing piece of literature that has so many facets and dimensions.” – Laurén Magda
Having been looking for new Pride and Prejudice covers to showcase on this blog, I stumbled upon a beautiful design from graphic designer, Laurén Magda, a 23 year old recent graduate (College of Creative Studies – Detroit, Michigan). I just couldn’t say no to asking her more about it, and she agreed to share some of her thoughts about the book, her life, her design and Pride and Prejudice with The Bennet Sisters.
“I live in a quaint, uninteresting suburban neighborhood,” she says, “but spend a lot of time in the city.” Currently working as a graphic designer for Olympia Entertainment and the Detroit Red Wings hockey organization, she lists her hobbies as “perusing the internet for art and design blogs, antiquing, going to the dog park with my goofy greyhound and walking amongst nature.” Definitely hobbies that I’m sure we all agree are time well spent.
It’s quite a different look at the book, presenting it in an almost modern light, and I love the thick heavyset features of Elizabeth and Darcy and the defiance, that I definitely think is shown through Lizzy. I also really like that they’re presented equally in height on the cover – I, personally, get tired of seeing women presented as submissive on covers.
She says that after the episode of “Work of Art, The Next Great Artist” she was inspired to make her own cover. I don’t blame her, and I agree with one of her blog readers’ comments that the girls on the actual show did a dreadful job of Pride and Prejudice (you can see my comments on these covers in an earlier post ‘When reality television gets its hands on Pride and Prejudice…’ ) but it’s good to see that other designers were inspired by the show.
As her first attempt at an Austen classic, she writes: “A customer browsing a bookstore only has a second for a book to catch their interest on a shelf with hundreds of choices. So this is what I came up with.”
And so, without much further ado, here is Laurén’s (pictured above) Q&A:
Why did you choose to make these covers?
Well I did this project in college during the summer between my junior and senior year, so it was a personal project. At the time I was interested in taking my illustration in a more editorial direction, so I thought I’d do a book cover. And what better book cover to tackle than the lovely and ever popular, Pride and Prejudice? Jane Austen is a great source of inspiration to me as a woman in the artistic field, and her writing resonates throughout the generations — I love that.
How long did they take to make?
I don’t exactly recall, but I can tell you that I did a series of initial thumbnail sketches, a final drawing, the watercolor portraits and then the final design (digitally).
What was the process involved in making them?
I like to dabble in a variety of mediums and for this particular project I thought it would be nice to use watercolors in a monochromatic color scheme, and then go in digitally for the flat color background and text.
What other ideas did you initially have for the cover?
I had a few ideas, one of which was Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy as full figure silhouettes, facing back to back (as if they didn’t want to confront each other, and the viewer could see the tension between them). Another idea I had was to use the same face to face portraits, but to have a Victorian style chandelier between their faces… but as much as my detail oriented self wanted to go this route, I knew it would only be a distraction to the main subjects of Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy.
Why did you choose these images and colours?
I wanted to focus on stylistic portraits of what I think Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy look like in my own mind. I wanted the paintings to pop against the flat background colors, and after a lot of experimenting in Photoshop, I finally decided on these two versions.
What aspect of Pride and Prejudice were you trying to convey?
I wanted to have Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy’s unique relationship to be conveyed boldly by their matching, intense expressions. They are both such strong characters, and I wanted the small space between them to trigger the viewer into wanting to pick up the book, to find out more about them, why do they seem pained, torn and perhaps prideful?
Would you have done anything differently?
Now that I’ve been out of school for a year and have a firmer hold on what my style is and more design experience under my belt, I would have done a lot of things differently. BUT seeing as it was my first book cover, I’m satisfied with it. It’s something I can look back on and feel good about. I think I did the characters justice, which was my intent.
What is your favourite Jane Austen novel and why?
I think it’s obvious! Pride and Prejudice is definitely my favorite Austen novel, and perhaps my favorite novel in general. I just think it’s an amazing piece of literature that has so many facets and dimensions. You can’t help but fall in love with the characters! It’s a story that has stayed with me, and always will.
Which Austen heroine are you most alike to?
Elizabeth Bennet hands down. She is a strong willed woman who loves her family dearly and never gives up hope, even under dreadful circumstances.
To see more of her work, jump over to her illustration and design blog. She has also said that she’s hoping to have a website up soon.
So, what do you think of her cover and thoughts? What would you have done differently? Wouldn’t you like to see it in your bookstore?