Client: Penguin Random House
This is the cover for a book of poetry by Fatimah Asghar. Both the illustration and hand drawn type was drawn entirely in Procreate app on the iPad pro. When I read the book before starting this project, I fell in love with Fati's poetry and understood how special this book was. The tone of the book is of defiant celebration and I wanted to reflect that in the cover. The various elements have symbolic meanings attached to the author's life and metaphors referenced in her poetry.
Symbolism and Details
The flower on the left is a Lotus, the national flower of Kashmir. On the right is Jasmine, the flower of Pakistan. Petals fall from both sides adding to the layered effect of the artwork, and creating a celebratory tone. Both are cut and dissected, showing male and female parts present in each since every flower will have both, this is a reference to her poetry about the feeling of being a boy-girl. A dragonfly approaches the lotus and a bee hovers near the Jasmine representing her sexuality and desires. In the center top is a Rose, the national flower of the United States, to the left and right of it are a stone and a Saffron flower, representing her late father and mother’s presence in her thoughts.
Further down the Lotus and Jasmine, the roots turn to veins and form a connection at the bottom, this is a visual she uses a lot--both blood and veins. It hints at India’s dark past during the Partition Era, but most of all it represents the positive connection she feels to her people, running through her veins. This detail is central to the concept.
The faint symmetrical pattern in the far background includes rainbow elements to hint at Fatimah's Queer identity and pride.
The 3 women have contrasting skin tones, features, and body types as a celebration of South Asian diversity. They wear vibrant and complimentary patterns, adding the energy of the cover, and creating a focal point. All three are confident and meet your gaze with strength and solidarity.