Friday, April 4, 2008
Creating a Cover: A Lesson Before Dying
The first thought I had for designing the cover A Lesson Before Dying was to visualize what happens in a strong passage of the book, and draw it. Then, I thought about drawing a couple of symbols from the book, but there were so many, and I wouldn’t know how to organize them all onto the cover. Most of the important scenes through out the book are set in the jail cell where Jefferson is. Also, the strongest dialogues through out the chapters in the book were taken place inside the jail cell as well. Therefore, the jail cell becomes an important place for both Jefferson and Grant. It’s inside that cell that Jefferson and Grant form a special friendship, and learn from each other life lessons. That’s when I searched for a picture of a jail cell to make it easier to draw. While searching for that picture, I found one that had only one part of the cell door, with the persons hands around the bars. I couldn’t see the face of that person because the spaces were filled with dark coloring. I thought that that picture would be perfect for the cover.
After finding the picture, I knew that something was missing, because just drawing Jefferson’s hands grasping the bars of the cell door would be too plain. So I remembered of a phrase that stuck in my mind when reading a passage from Ch. 24. This phrase was spoken by Grant while he is trying to convince Jefferson that he is not what the whites think he is. Grant says, “I want you to show them the difference between what they think you are, and what you can be,” pg.191. I think that this phrase was THE lesson before Jefferson’s death. I really wanted to write it on the cover, but I wasn’t really sure how. Then, I looked at the hand around the bars of the cell door. One was all the way around, grabbing the bar tightly, while the other was just hanging. It was then that I thought of drawing a book hanging from Jefferson’s hand. This way, the title would match the drawing perfectly. The book symbolizes teaching, learning, and lessons. Since the phrase that Grant says to Jefferson was the ‘big’ lesson through out the book, writing it inside the book hanging from Jefferson’s hand was perfect. All in all, the drawing shows Jefferson, inside the jail cell with the book teaching him the ‘big’ lesson before his death.