Smoke is a middle grade novel by Mavis Jukes. In the story, twelve-year-old Colton moves from rural Idaho to a farm in northern California with his mom and his twenty-pound Maine Coon cat, Smoke. His parents are divorced, as his mother tries to start a new life. His dad is a rodeo performer, whom Colton idolizes, but rarely sees. In the story, themes of separation and longing are eventually balanced by the strength of family ties, community and the growth in awareness that increasing maturity brings. In the sketches I tried to suggest a sense of place, while evoking themes of melancholy and mystery.
The first sketch shows the cat, Smoke (who figures prominently in the plot), overlooking the California countryside. Notice the little rodeo rider in the “O”.
The second sketch shows a silhouette of Colton on a weathered wood background. In the story, an old license plate with bullet holes and a bronco-buster is one of Colton’s prized possessions. This is my favorite.
The third sketch shows Colton and Smoke overlooking their farmhouse. Sort of picturesque and melancholic. Not sure exactly how I would pull off this artwork if gets picked.
Fourth sketch focuses on the Western theme (probably too much).
The art director for this project is Robbin Gourley at Farrar, Straus, Geroux.