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A closer look at Folio Society’s “A Walk In The Woods” illustrated by James Weston Lewis

James Weston Lewis was asked to illustrate the new Folio Society edition of A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson. The end result is a beautiful distillation of the atmosphere within the words, executed in James’s unique limited palettes.

Featuring a two colour foil blocked cover on a variety of colour book cloths, 3 full page colour interior illustrations, a black and white title page, and 10 black and white interior spot illustrations, James was able to explore and interpret the text in his own way, “I began by reading the book and looking for some of the most evocative images that I was excited to draw, and then began sketching and working out colours.”

“The most challenging and rewarding part of the job was working on the cover, I knew I wanted to fill the cover with a full idea of the journey through forests and mountains and working out how to make the image full and complex whilst keeping it legible in only 2 colours was difficult, but really enjoyable.”

Initially working in pencil in his sketch book, the finals were then worked up digitally on a tablet in photoshop. James has developed a workflow of using masks to work into the colours positively and negatively, mirroring the feel and look of his work in Lino and woodcut.

The most enjoyable aspect for James though was “knowing that as with every book they make, the Folio Society were going to turn my work into such a beautiful object that I would be able to own.”

James Weston Lewis is represented by The Artworks

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