AVON, Ohio – Fans were thrilled when author Benjamin Alire Sáenz finally wrapped up the sequel to his popular young adult novel “Aristotle and Dante Uncover Secrets of the Universe.”
Another ecstatic person was local artist Mark Brabant, who created the illustrations for the two book covers.
Sáenz wrote the sequel, “Aristotle and Dante Plunge into the Waters of the World,” 10 years after the first novel. It is currently the number one bestseller on the New York Times Young Adult Hardcover list.
“There you go, 10 years later, the author is writing a sequel,” Brabant said. “They got in touch with me and wanted to re-assemble the group between me and Sarah Coleman in the UK who did the letter processing for the cover.”
Brabant, Avon’s freelance graphic designer and illustrator, worked with the art department of the Simon & Schuster publishing house to create the cover for the first book.
The inspiration for the two book covers came after reading each of the novels. He had to be able to fit his style into the story, as well as what the art department envisioned.
“From a visual point of view, they wanted something that looked good on its own, but also looked good on the whole with the first book,” said Brabant. “So I hope we got there. I think they both came out very well.
Brabant was ‘discovered’ by Simon & Schuster when they saw his artwork online. Her website features her illustration, screen printing and photography work over the years.
“At the time, one of the art directors in the Young Adults department liked the style of my screen prints and wanted something in the same tone,” Brabant said. “They had pictures in mind for illustration, emailed me and I said, ‘Absolutely!'”
For Brabant, the collaboration was positive on several levels. He was able to flex his artistic muscles and he had the freedom to create and work according to his own vision and style.
“For the first one, they kind of pointed the way to a night scene,” Brabant said. “Back then, a lot of my screen prints were night scenes with silhouettes and starry skies.”
They wanted to go in a slightly different direction for the sequel cover, but stay within the boundaries and vision of the first book cover.
“We all agreed that we wanted to do something that went well with the first cover, but not another night scene,” Brabant said. “That’s why we opted for a more colorful twilight type setting that coincides with one of the settings in the book itself. “
For now, fans of the book and Brabant himself are enjoying the new version. But rest assured, they’re all hoping the second novel leads to a trilogy.
Here is where you can find Sáenz’s novels.
Read more of the Sentinel of the Sun.