ABDA Awards 2020 Student Finalist Tara Cosgrove-Perry
Book cover designed by Tara Cosgrove-Perry, ABDA Awards Student Finalist 2020
This year marks our first year as a sponsor for the Australian Book Designer’s Association Awards and it represents our commitment in supporting and showcasing the work of emerging designers. Our category for 2020 was ‘Best Student Design Award’ and four very talented designers from Shillington were chosen as finalists—Rommey Watts, Laura Tournier, Tara Cosgrave-Perry and Molly Keene. We wanted to take this opportunity to get to know these talented designers a little more and to dive a deeper into the processes behind their cover designs. Let’s say hello to Tara Cosgrave-Perry!
Tell us a little bit about who you are
I’m a Brisbane based freelance designer and illustrator. Although I’d love to work in a design agency. I’ve designed an album cover for an Icelandic musician and for Sydney and Brisbane. In 2017 I had a solo exhibition at Reverends cafe in Fortitude Valley. Many of my artworks combine graphic design and illustrative elements. I created a personalised illustration that I hand-painted on the back of a leather jacket for a friend, Sorelle Amore, who wore it in a Porsche ad last year.
How did you get into design?
I remember as a child creating a series of stories when I was seven in my office I set up under the stairs. They were about punk rock cats and dogs. Noone I knew were designers or artists, so I had to search for it myself. Once I met a pre-computer graphic designer, I was keen to pick their brain but they said that graphic design is dead and I shouldn’t bother… I didn’t listen so around 2011 I studied a design fundamentals course, and in 2012 I went on to study an incredible course ‘Design and Illustration’ all at Enmore Design Centre in Sydney. I was always creative before that but I learned so much about design there. It really helped to hone and expand my skills and understanding of design. Ever since I’ve been hooked. More recently I won a half-scholarship to study at Shillington College, which I completed last year. One of my designs is currently being featured on their 2020 showreel
What made you start getting into book design?
At design College, we learned to design coffee table books and magazines. I had amazing illustration teachers such as Dee Huxley and Wayne Harris. They’ve designed many wonderful books in their design careers, they’d bring their own books into class and talk about them, they were so inspiring. Ever since then I’ve been fascinated by book covers, particularly children’s books, which are always so whimsical.
What was the inspiration and thought process behind your book cover?
As this was a student brief we had free reign to reinterpret an existing movie or book, the image also needed to be completely handmade. I decided to recreate an image from my favourite Jim Jarmusch movie ‘ Only Lovers Left Alive’. Each scene of the movie is cluttered in rich and textual detail, I wanted to pay homage to that by handcrafting a paper sculpture. After selecting my favourite image from the movie to use as reference I then drew out the design, split it into shapes, hand-cut each piece from colour-matched paper and shaped every shape with tiny paper sculpting tools. The whole design took me about thirty hours to craft, or three Harry Potter audiobooks which were perfect to listen to whilst working! I used a relatively simple display typeface for the title to frame and compliment the image without taking too much attention away.
What’s been happening in design for you since you entered?
I’ve illustrated a double-page spread of a children’s book ‘The story of Hope’, a charitable project for ‘African hearts’. I was also part of local designers March showcase at Forge Forward in Fortitude Valley. I created stickers, art prints, pins and handpainted tote bag for the event. Whilst in isolation I’ve been working on an Instagram series of illustrations that focus on small appreciations found in day to day life.