Project for a book cover, author Zadie Smith, 'White Teeth'

My first sketch looked like that:

white teeth first scetch

white teeth zadie smith project

white teeth



I used my own drawing for a basis of the book cover to express my idea about the book and the author.

The book follows a complicated cultural and racial problem incorporated for generations in the stories of a few families living in London. She believes that all people share the same structure underneath their skin (and her story ends there, to the colour of the teeth like shared colour for all humans). The author’s point is to describe a few stories in words, but the book doesn’t offer a solution of the problem and at the end I felt like the author doesn’t know the solution. This is why I placed the name of the book and the author around the drawing of the teeth in a closed circle in order to show the complicated feelings of the author and her lack of solution locked in a circle, being involved  emotionally in such a situation.

Underneath I placed an open black space to introduce the subconscious activities of the author. She herself is not aware about that part of herself. Also, I put on top of it a bright red line to show the pain and the suffer of the author, who is deeply confused about her own feelings and position in that complicated world described in the book. In my opinion the author describes herself in the book, using many characters to open and develop the story.

I tried to reveal that pain and confusion showed through the screaming mouth in the middle of the cover – the deep animalistic pain of a suffer with no relief, the blood in the mouth for the wounds inside and outside, the victimisation going on between the conscious and subconscious; the white teeth surrounding the scream as they represent pain. Also, the mouth screaming the message of the author for many people being locked in similar situations.

Note: the text on the back cover is borrowed from Wikipedia, White Teeth, Zadie Smith, just to show the idea that some text on the back of the book cover can make a short introduction of the book for marketing purposes.