Ellen Weinstein
The Patron Saint of Ugly

I was recently commissioned by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt to illustrate the cover for a new novel, The Patron Saint of Ugly by Marie Manilla.
An exuberant novel about reluctant saint and alleged healer Garnet Ferrari—born with the map of the world rendered in port-wine stains on her skin—and her family's rich, tangled and most unusual history, from the Nebrodi Mountains of Sicily to the hilltop mansions of Sweetwater, West Virginia.
The manuscript contained lots of rich imagery including: flaming red hair, globes, volcano fables, cassette tapes, mermaids as well as colorful characters and beautiful settings. The book was a very enjoyable read and I had no trouble coming up with many ideas for the cover. A few of the rough sketches are below, I like to provide at least 10 different ideas for a book jacket. Once the direction was chosen, I was able to draw upon the hundreds of photos I had taken during my trip to Venice for the figures and architecture.
Best of all was a thank you letter I just received from the author. A big thanks to Martha Kennedy, AD for the great project and lovely design.

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Weinstein is teaching at TutorMill, an online mentoring site for students of illustration!