The Green Futures of Tycho

Cover artist Linda Thomas - 2006 interview

Thanks for taking the time to answer some questions about this cover!

It has been many books ago since I've read Green Futures and probably more than 10 years since I created the cover art for the book, so I'll do my best.

Q: How did you find out about Green Futures, and how did the opportunity to create the cover come about?

The opportunity to create the artwork for the cover of Green Futures came about as the result of my creating the cover art for Strange Attractors. Green Futures was the next project in line, and I worked with the same art director on both covers.

Q: When did you start work, when did it complete, and about how much of your time did it take?

I have no recall of any specific dates. However, after the art director had given me the manuscript to read along with several ideas for the cover, and with the photo shoot completed, I spent maybe a week on sketches. After showing the art director my sketches, I had about two weeks to complete the painting.

Q: What do you think of the book as a whole? Did any of it echo any of your own childhood?

I recall finding William Sleator's work very imaginative and refreshing for its slot in the young adult genre. However, since it has been at least 10 years or more since I've read the book, I can only recall bits and pieces. I do remember his work as being very descriptive in a way that the reader would become very absorbed in that world, much as the Harry Potter books do now. I don't recall enough about the book to say whether or not it echoed anything specific in my childhood.

What about the book did you find interesting that made its way onto your work for the cover, either literally or stylistically?

I didn't have a lot of creative input for the cover--that was mainly the art director's job. Normally the art director goes thru a manuscript, along with any number of editors, and develops several strong ideas as to what scenes best summarize the spirit of the book, and of course, what will entice potential readers into buying the book. What little input I had came with the interpretation of the background elements and the mood/atmosphere of the piece.

Q: Had you seen any of the other covers for Green Futures before or during your work? How did the previous covers inform your work, if at all?

No, I never saw any other Green Futures covers before or after my work.

Q: Please describe some of the other decisions or thoughts that went into the work.

Showing both Tychos was very important. There is a similarity between this and Strange Attractors, where showing the convergence of two separate realities reinforced the theme Sleator worked with in both books.

If you were asked to illustrate some other scenes from the book, which ones do you think would be good candidates?

I don't recall enough of the book to know other scenes worth representing on the cover.

Q: Are you the same Linda Thomas that did some Nancy Drew and other children's book artwork? Was that before or after the Green Futures cover?

Yes, I did quite a number of Nancy Drew books, and other cover art as well--I do believe I gave a more in- depth answer to this question in a previous e-mail.

Q: There's something dramatic, yet innocent about the facial expressions you've given both Tychos. Even though the older Tycho is considerably more ill-tempered than the younger one, his expression is serene in a way similar to the young Tycho. Was this a deliberate choice?

That decision must of happened subconconsciously, as there was the connection between the two. Sometimes those things happen in art!

Q: Were you previously aware of any of Sleator's books? What did you think of them?

"Strange Attractors" was my introduction to William Sleator's work, and like Green Futures, I thought it was very imaginative and original. It was interesting that he chose to explore similar themes again in a new way in a different book.

Q: What sort of work are you doing now? Comparing your work now to this work, what is the same, and what is different? What have you learned?

I'm creating a variety of art--illustration, murals and fine art. Regardless of which type of art I'm involved with, I'm still communicating a message, still telling a story. Interestingly enough, I got involved with murals, which I create for public, corporate, museum and residential spaces. One of my clients hired me to create my very first mural for his modern castle, after I had completed a couple of portrait commissions for him. It was larger than anything I had ever done to that date, and I had a great deal of fun creating art that worked with it's immediate surroundings, as opposed to the linear boundaries of a painting. When I am working on a large scale, I create a scene in which the viewer feels a part of it, as if they can walk right into the walls, and I am able to exaggerate some of the elements in the work to help achieve that. When I create a painting or illustration, I try to carry over some of those things that I learned while working on a large scale. And those things that I have learned with my painting and illustration are carried over to the murals.

Return to the Linda Thomas page or The Green Futures of Tycho page.
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Tycho Tithonus (
was last updated Sunday, 27-May-2018 00:36:37 EDT
and was created on October 16th, 2016.