I was commissioned to create the cover art and spot illustrations for a poetry book by Aliyah Jackson. ‘Planting Gardens on the Moon’ presents short poems that deal with self-doubt, isolation, and sometimes anguish. The minimalist black & white line drawings sprinkled through the book enhance the meaning of the accompanying poems, taking the reader deeper into a journey filled with longing, questioning and hope.
The poet/author gave me names of flowers that had meaning to her for the cover art.
- Bird of Paradise – love, joy
- Forget Me Not – faithful, remembrance
- Chrysanthemum – protector from evil
- Butterfly Weed – dignity, freedom
- Coneflower – strength, healing
She also provided some keywords to help me brainstorm icons for the spot illustrations that went with some of the short poems. The idea was for the drawings to be subtle yet powerful. The color and black & white illustrations were all created using an iPad Pro and the Procreate app.
Here are some reviews of the book:
“I am stunned by this book. The poetry on each page is short – 1 sentence – and stands on its own. So how, in such few words, can Aliyah Jackson make me feel like I know her soul and she knows mine? Sometimes I’m walking beside her, holding space for her as she explores her feelings; other times, she’s giving voice to mine. It’s not all white space. Sprinkled in are line drawings by Karen Burton. Her illustrations marry so simply and adeptly with the words, they take us deeper into the poem. The essence is captured – whether longing, questioning, or hope – in a single, minimalist drawing. Ms. Jackson’s poetry is powerful. Ms. Burton’s art is masterful. Together they are sublime.”
“Planting Gardens on the Moon entices the reader with its intriguing title and its stunning cover art. The poet and author, Aliyah Jackson, bares her soul and tells a relatable story of self-doubt, pain, and sometimes anguish that are actually the life-giving seeds to growth, change, and hope. The understated purity of Karen Burton’s illustrations throughout the book perfectly complement the prose. It is a lovely book to be savored with a cup of tea in a comfy chair and then reflected upon throughout the day. An inspirational self-indulgence or a lovely gift for other dreamers you know.”
Karen Burton is an illustrator, designer, and photographer – inspired by her view of the Blue Ridge mountains from her home and studio in Virginia. She creates colorful, uplifting illustrations and surface pattern designs suitable for home decor, textiles, stationery, tabletop, publishing, and other products. Available for commissions, licensing and other custom projects. She has lots of future plans and dreams: illustrating a cookbook, creating illustrations for food magazines or culinary packaging, having a gallery show featuring her large-scale floral portraits, and seeing more of her art on all types of surfaces.
More of Karen Burton’s art and illustrations: