“We Are Here, Walking Toward the Unknown” book cover – 826 Valencia…

I recently finished up a project helping design a book cover & some interior illustration for literary non-profit, 826 Valencia here in the Bay Area. Every year they team up with a different high school and work with young authors to create an anthology of their work. The program includes tutoring and mentoring from 826 volunteers, many of which are published authors themselves and allow the kids to see their finished work in a proper published form and available in bookstores. I worked with them previously on a similar anthology years ago.

The theme of this years book was “The Unknown” which is fitting as a number of the kids involved are graduating, not knowing what is in store ahead. I was able to visit the high school and brainstorm w/ some of them on ideas for what they thought the cover should be and a lot of it came down to similar sentiments of “things aren’t what they seem”… “people can be monsters too”… & “facing ones fears”.

A lot of the stories had similar themes of conquering fears and facing the abyss of uncertainty and ended up being a perfect starting point when trying to conceptualize our cover. Working with the team at 826, we settled on the idea of a kid walking into a a dark forest holding a lantern surrounded by creepy silhouettes.

The interior illustrations were simple icons that acted as headers on certain chapters grouping them into 3 Acts, showing the passing of time. In the end the book came out looking great with a amazing layout by Laura Bagnato and featured a nice embossment of the forest line on the front/back covers.

826 Valencia is a great organization and has chapters all across the country (Boston, DC, NYC, LA, etc..) filled with mentors & volunteers helping spread their passion for writing & the literary arts.

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