For this book cover I wanted to capture as much symbolism from the story as I could without being too overt about it. I used primary colors to represent the child-like mental state of the main character. The maze that the mouse ran is used as a subtle background. Since time (or lack of) eventually becomes an important part of the story, I decided to include that theme by adding the wristwatch. The composition itself comes from a moment of quiet reflection about halfway through the book.
Flowers for Algernon book cover
The illustration was first sketched out on tracing paper to make it easier to figure out where to place the mouse. It was then transferred to canvas and refined with charcoal. After I was happy with my values, I warmed it up with a brown wash. I then mixed my primary oils with white or with each other to match the values of the sketch. I first brushed the colors in, but it seemed too muddy so I went back over it with gobs of paint on a palette knife. That finally gave me the look I was after.
Flowers for Algernon Process
Flowers for Algernon Comp