In this blog post, we have the pleasure of hearing from one of Orca’s spectacular book designers, Rachel Page! Read on to discover what exactly Rachel does and her experience designing Who’s Looking? How Animals See the World.
1. What does a book designer do?
So many different things! One of the things I love most about my job is that there’s a lot of variety in my work, I’m certainly never bored. On any given day I may be working with illustrators on our picture book and board book projects, doing research for a cover design for one of our stand-alone fiction titles, working on the layout and design for one of our nonfiction books or designing an advertisement or promotional piece for our Marketing team.
2. Can you give us a brief synopsis of Who’s Looking?
Who’s Looking? is a nonfiction picture book written by Carol Matas and illustrated by Cornelia Li. It tells the story of a young girl and her baby sister’s outdoor adventures overseen by local wildlife. The way the animals and insects view the girls is very different from how the girls see each other. The art reflects the world as viewed by the animals, along with the text explaining some science behind each animal’s unique type of vision.
3. What did you enjoy most about designing this book?
Working with the illustrator, Cornelia Li, was such a special experience. I can still remember how stunned I was by the beauty of her art when I first opened her final art files. I’m so proud of the work she produced for this book, it’s very special.
4. Did you have any challenges?
Cornelia, myself and the whole team at Orca had a hard time figuring out exactly how to show what the animals see, and how to make that visually different from the rest of the spread, which looks like how a human sees the world. It took a lot of experimenting and ultimately, we came up with the idea of showing the animals vision in a kind of funnel tube, usually coming from the animals eyes. It took us a while to get there, but I think the solution we landed on is very successful, thanks to Cornelia’s flawless execution!
5. What is your favorite spread in the book?
The whale spread–I remember that was one of the first pieces Cornelia sent–and even seeing it as a rough drawing it had such impact. I remember thinking at that point what a unique and beautiful book this was going to be.
Bonus question: What’s your favorite animal?
Cats—have a two-year-old cat named Cohen, and even though he’s a grump I still love him!