Darya Shnykina

The winner of this year’s Book Illustration Competition – a partnership between the House of Illustration and the Folio Society – talks to Natalie Milner about creating the society’s beautiful new edition of Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park

What was your starting point for illustrating Mansfield Park?
Books by the Folio Society are arranged so that each illustration is closely related to a certain passage. I needed to choose particular moments to work with. But I think that you can’t draw a book illustration without a feeling for the whole story. You need to know what happened before the episode and what will happen next.

Why did you decide to work digitally for this particular project?
I thought it should be quite simple, so as not to cause any inconvenience in printing. The illustrations were created in Adobe Photoshop and it was my first experience of drawing colour illustration without using any traditional materials.

Did you approach the cover
and inside pages separately?
I learned that the book should be treated as a single
organism – from the cover to layout. My aim was to follow
the existing style of the society’s Jane Austen series. I had to work with a given colour palette – three colours

– and gradually I began to use other shades.

What influences impacted your designs?

The whole atmosphere [of the illustrations] was the personality of Jane Austen. When I begin to work on any illustration project, I search for helpful materials, in this case it was art from the Regency era.

What’s your favourite book cover?

I’m crazy about exploring bookstores and libraries. Some of my favourite covers are the Vintage Classics Brontë series. The covers look so silent, but also so full of emotions.

What’s your top tip for getting into book illustration?

All I can say is that you need to be passionate about

what you do. I adore books in all their manifestations.

The Folio Society’s Mansfield Park is out in October 2017. Follow

Darya on Instagram @daryashnykina

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