Narrelle M Harris on Judith Rossell
The Only One in the World: cover art by Judith Rossell
I first encountered Judith Rossell’s charming art not in her children’s books, but when she designed the delicate and delightful cover for Billings Better Bookstore and Brasserie by Fin J Ross.
Soon after, CDP publisher Lindy Cameron showed me the concept art Judith had drafted for my rat character who appears in the upcoming anthology about animals solving mysteries, Who Sleuthed It? The lovely wraparound cover of bookshelves is filled with the animal sleuths – including birds, cats, dogs, a monkey, a bat and even a dragonfly and a spider!
When my original cover design concept turned out to be unwieldy, Lindy approached Judith to come on board, with a vaguer new idea of ‘doors into all the worlds’ as the prompt. The authors sent me appropriate images, and then Judith made magic.
The Only One in the World wraparound cover is full of portals – doors and windows and, for one story, a bicycle for riding your way into a new world.
I absolutely adore the shadows Judith put into some of the windows to suggest Dastardly Deeds afoot, and the beautiful reflection of blue sky and white clouds in the fanlight window above the door to 221B.
All the fine detail – the cracks in the bricks, the grain of the wood, the uneven window frames, the rich locality-specific touches, and the dark shapes through the panes – subtly suggest all the variations to be found within the book. The cover encapsulated all the drama and comedy and mystery inside. I’m even delighted beyond all reason by the gas lamp that adorns the spine, shining its little light to beckon readers near!
From the moment we revealed the cover on social media, people have been responding strongly to it. Judith’s art did exactly what cover art is meant to do – it caught the eye, enticed the reader, suggested the contents and gave all these lovely fictions a face in the world.
If you’re intrigued, take a look at Judith’s interview about her cover art on Clan Destine Press, where she answers questions about how she feels about Sherlock Holmes, the most interesting part of drawing for the anthology, the coolest things she learned while creating them and what’s next for her art.
You can buy The Only One in the World at Clan Destine Press right now.
More about Judith
Judith, a former government scientist and thread-maker for a cotton spinning company, has followed her heart as an illustrator and writer of children’s books for 20 years now. She has illustrated over 80 books, written 16, and has created some stunning cover art, including the lovely Billings Better Bookstore and Brasserie by Fin J Ross, the striking wraparound covers for The Only One in the World and Who Sleuthed It?, an upcoming anthology about animals solving mysteries!