Book cover designs/promotional artwork for a literary series, "The Crooked Little Pieces".

I am a novelist seeking to publish the first instalment of my seven-volume novel “The Crooked Little Pieces” next year. It will be released in April 2022 through my imprint (in the making) The Crepuscular Press, which will have its own website as soon as I obtain illustrations for both the cover of the book and promotional pictures for ads. My hope is that the images will be completed by late February.

Although this is freelance work, it requires a long-term commitment on the part of the illustrator. “The Crooked Little Pieces”' seven volumes will be published one by one over the next six years, and I would very much like to keep the same illustrator for each of the books.

I have a very particular writing style, so applicants are expected to be used to reading literary texts in English regardless of their background and/or location.

My plan is to create a shortlist of two to five applicants among those who express interest. These will be expected to have read at least the first fifty pages of the first volume (113,000 words) before suggesting ideas for the cover during the interview. At the moment my vision is four images reflecting particular scenes with my heroines, one of these being the cover.

However, I am happy to hear illustrators' ideas. I am looking ideally for acrylic or oil sketches (rather than digital). That said, first and foremost I am looking for an illustrator who will like “The Crooked Little Pieces” as much as I like their work - in the interest of establishing a mutually beneficial artistic relationship.

Here is the provisional book jacket blurb:

Lost are the creatures destined never to be understood.

‘1926. Professor Josef van der Holt obtains a post at an all women’s college overseas. Stuffy London suddenly becomes the site for the unseemly exploits of his half-Dutch and half-German daughters Anneliese and Isabel. When tragedy carves out a hollow in their lives, a severed soul sends the sororal twins along a jagged path: while Isabel takes flight in sensual hedonism Anneliese skirts danger in her role as sleuth. Elusive are the sentiments they seek: swift stopovers of fleeting feeling. Lopsided loves and passions scarcely probable veer each away from the predictable.

And when the obvious appears unstoppable the opposite may achingly be true.

Spanning the twentieth century’s five most volatile decades, “The Crooked Little Pieces” is a series about inextricable entanglements. Perverse relationships pervade a glossary of scenes. Plots criss-cross over a rich tapestry of twists and tension-fuelling characters: some relatable, others opaque and many “crooked”.

It is television drama. Novelised.’

Admittedly I'm unfamiliar with the fees for illustrators and would be happy to pay an initial retainer to an applicant whose art I feel matches the feel of the book and who would like to make an attempt. The illustrator chosen will receive somewhere from $200-$350 per image for around four altogether. Alternatively (or additionally) I would be happy to come to an arrangement where the illustrator gains a percentage on every book sold.

Stylistically I’m looking for someone with experience in the acrylic and/or oil mediums who prefers not to resort to digital (except to digitise the final image). I’m seeking a mystical, poetic aesthetic that wavers between dream and reality (and happen to be a fan of Chagall and Modigliani, if that helps). But the anatomy of the characters must be (approximately) true to life.

The deadline for applications is 31 December. After that I shall be holding online (or telephone) interviews.

I look forward to hearing from anyone who's interested.

Kind regards,

Sophia Lambton

Skills: Illustration

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