There are now 34 titles in the Roads Classics series. The first ten were published in 2013. The covers, layout and over all design structure of the books were initially developed by OFFSET 2012 speakers Conor & David. Roads were keen that the artwork represents a gentle nod, or an abstract reference to each novel, rather than a literal depiction.
It was always the intention of Roads to occasionally include guest artwork for the covers. In September 2014 they featured artwork by Alice Maher on Orlando and Fernando Vicente on Dracula and the response to these was very positive.
For the latest releases of their classic reads, artists and former OFFSET speakers Maser (2014, OFFSET London 2015) and Jon Burgerman (2014) and illustrator and artist Denise Nestor, who we’ve also worked with before in the lead up to OFFSET 2013, were approached to produce a guest cover.
Stephanie Boner Publishing director of Roads was keen to work with each of the artists especially after Jon Burgerman’s fantastic talk at OFFSET 2014.
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum | Jon Bargeman
“..Maeve Convery (my co-publisher) was always a big fan of Jon Burgerman. She followed him on twitter and loved the joyfulness and colour of his work. When we spent an entire hour laughing at his talk at OFFSET, we were inspired to email him. Who could be a better choice for The Wonderful Wizard of Oz? His cover is perfect.
Jon Burgerman’s artwork, like Dorothy’s adventure through the land of Oz, is full of fantasy, colour and quirky characters.
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce | Maser
Maeve and I were big fans of Maser and we really wanted to work with him. We had intended to publish A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and we wanted something unexpected and contemporary on the cover. The match seemed so incongruous but weirdly fitting at the same time and the resulting book cover works so well I think. I was so interested to see how Maser’s work would translate onto a book cover.
The concentric circles in the design represent Daedalus’ labyrinth on Crete. The double profile of the book cover is a response to the warring dualities in Stephen Dedalus as he struggles with the social, religious and political struggles in an Ireland that is moving from the old to the new. Maser told me yesterday that the profile used in the image is actually his own.
Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift | Denise Nestor
I came across Denise Nestor on twitter when I saw someone tweeting a photo of a print they had bought of hers. I looked her up straight away and couldn’t believe the quality of the illustration that I saw on her website. She is just so talented. It struck me that she tends to frame her drawings within a circle so we thought she would be perfect as a guest illustrator for one of the classics. We liked the idea of applying her tidy and elegant approach to the chaos and noise that is Gulliver’s Travels. She took a very thoughtful approach to the subject matter and with her usual intricate attention to detail she produced an amazing cover
Denise Nestor’s artwork, a meticulous compass-like chart representing Gulliver’s journey, reflects the author’s forensic dissection of politics, popular science, and the English elite.”
You can see Denise’s piece for OFFSET 2013 here.
Catch Jon’s OFFSET 2014 talk here.
And Maser will be talking at our first international OFFSET this November tickets are on sale here.
All 32 books can be ordered online through Roads website here.
Interview by Tess Purcell
Photos by Lauren Pritchard