The Illustrator’s

Luciano Braga Ratto – A man of Insignificance

Luciano Braga Ratto

Luciano Braga Ratto

I read somewhere that when it comes to an unknown piece of work by an unknown writer that it takes about 20 seconds for the average reader to purchase a book from a bookstore. This process is initiated when the book cover comes into the attention frame of the prospective buyer, who then picks up the book, studies the cover briefly, reads the back cover briefly, then looks at the front cover again. After this the book goes back on the shelf or the decision to purchase is made.

It has therefore over the years been a disappointment to me to see so many bland, unoriginal, graphically designed covers on books, with many of them similar to others and seemingly having no connection at all to the book itself. I don’t say that a book cover has to be a work of art. I just think that it is so much better if it has some originality and that it should say something about the book. I didn’t want the cover for A Man of Insignificance to be bland, unoriginal and unconnected. However, therein lay a problem, for I personally do not have any of the skills required to create an interesting book cover. I therefore turned to others, in particular to Luciano Ratto.

a man of insignificance book cover

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I have known Luciano, through a family connection for several years. He is a Brazilian artist and he visited England in 2010, 2O11 and 2014. He stayed with us at The Springfield Hotel on each occasion. Neither Luciano nor I can converse in the other’s native tongue, but we have family members who can speak both and they act as interpreters. When they are not around we somehow find ways of communicating. I admire Luciano’s work and I believe that he has a future as an artist.

Luciano didn’t come to England to design my book cover which is hand drawn by him and original. I sent him a synopsis of the book together with some artistic suggestions of mine, which wisely he ignored. Luciano was back in Brazil when he designed the book cover. He chose the scene, Chapter 3, page 30, where Finbarr Breathnach rises from his knees to his feet beneath the three trees, as his inspiration.

“As the brown blackness descended, the leafless trees had screamed in the wind through the night all around him like three demented banshees.”

If you look carefully at the book cover you will see the silhouette of an upright man drawn within the trees.

That man is…A Man of Insignificance.

Dianne Christine Pilkington – The Red Hat Guide to Manchester City Centre

book cover red hat guide

Book cover to The Red Hat Guide

When Kevin asked me to design a cover for his book his brief to me was, for once, brief. He had pondered at length over the name for his guide book and, as I know Kevin well, I had a blinding flash of inspiration. The blinding flash was Kevin walking down the hill wearing his bright red fedora hat.
The red hat guide was christened, I only had to conjure up a background image…. I have always admired the architecture in Manchester as it is varied, spanning the decades from its industrial roots to contemporary structures. I took this inspiration to produce a collage of some of the prominent buildings in Manchester. I have tipped my hat to L. S. Lowry and if you want to rub shoulders with him just visit ‘Sam’s Chop House’….
The green and blue background represents the fact that Manchester is surrounded by some of the most beautiful countryside, hence the green, and contrary to some opinion we do get blue sky.
The man with the red hat is your guide and the umbrella is not as you may think a reference to the Manchester weather. On my travels I commonly see guides with their umbrellas providing the tourists with a reference point. Kevin is your local guide. I hope you enjoy his book, I did.








Copyright © 2015 K. C. Dowling

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