Lit & Found: A Talk with Seagull Books’ Cover Artist Sunandini Banerjee

As long-time fans of Sunandini Banerjee’s covers for Seagull Books, we were pleased to find a talk with her about her art, rules, and process on Frontline.

As Devangana Dash notes in her introduction to the conversation, the covers are an important part of the appeal of Seagulls’ books, making “each copy a collector’s item.” Dash adds that, “The person almost single-handedly responsible for the stunning covers is Kolkata-based graphic artist Sunandini Banerjee, who has been working with Seagull since 2000.”

The talk, with appeared in the magazine’s print edition earlier this week, gets right into the details of Banerjee’s process.

Among other things, she talks about the importance of association:

I do have a vast number of images in my computer and in my head, some organised, some disorganised. But every time I work on a new cover, I seek new images which that particular book demands. If I’m looking for the image of a pen, then I’ll search for pen but also for pencilquillinkinkpotdesktypewriter… It’s like playing a game of “associations” with myself. (Sometimes none of this will work, and I’ll end up looking at penguins!)

I knock on the door of every word I can think of and ask it to throw up an image. I look into the book itself, over and over again, for clues. The images don’t come to me. It is I who arrive at them. Sometimes after a very long journey.

Read the whole interview at Frontline.

Find more covers at the Seagull Books website.

A few favorites: