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Exercise 3.8: Making a mock-up

In order to make a mock up book cover for this exercise, I turned to my bookshelf again to look for a title that I could have a go at redesigning. I had the option of adapting a previous illustration, but instead of trying to match up something that fitted thematically, It was easier for me to approach this project from scratch.

After scanning across my bookshelf for ideas, I spotted the 2011 edition of The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer. Written by Jennifer Lynch, the daughter of one of the creators of the TV show Twin Peaks, this fictionalised diary written from the perspective of one of the main characters and covers a range of dark themes in the life of the titular character before her murder on the show.


The Secret Diary Of Laura Palmer



Laura Palmer – the sweet-faced beauty of Twin Peaks – hid her darkest deeds and twisted dreams in a secret diary from the time she was twelve years old...

...until the day she was murdered.

This is that diary. It contains important clues to the identity of her killer. For the inhabitants of Twin Peaks it begins a mystery that will reach out to obsess them all…

With a new foreword from Twin Peaks co-creators David Lynch and Mark Frost, The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer is a must-have for all Twin Peaks fans.


I’ve always found the front cover of this edition to be quite dull compared to its 1990 counterpart given that the universe of Twin Peaks is so full of distinctive visual symbology to pull ideas from. Although both editions attempt to emulate the textures and designs of a battered teenage diary, the original cover did a better job by matching up with the real diary prop that featured prominently in the show and the connected film Fire, Walk With Me.

The original 1990 diary cover alongside the matching prop that

Laura Palmer holds during a scene in "Fire, Walk With Me" (1992)

For the purpose of explaining my rationale for exercise and without descending too deeply into the shows complex plot, it’s important to know that at one point during the second season of the show, the diary is torn into pieces and then later examined by FBI agent Dale Cooper, another central character within the series. The FBI play a significant role as they try to unravel the mysteries of Twin Peaks and this theme is fully embraced in some of the other more recent fiction for the series where some of the books have been designed to resemble classified dossiers of evidence.

"The Secret History of Twin Peaks" and "Twin Peaks: The Final Dossier" by Mark Frost

I wanted to take something closer to this approach with my cover redesign. Rather than having the diary appearing as it was in the hands of Laura Palmer, I wanted to construct it in ruins as if it was recovered by the FBI as part of a case file. I tried out a few compositions based around this concept in my sketchbook while keeping the key information from the original intact such at the title, author and links to the show. I revisited relevant scenes from the show and examined the other dossier books to get a feel for how a fictional FBI agent may have set out the diary for examination.

Concept planning

The concept I ended up with was a simple but hopefully effective one. I set out to gather and create some appropriate props to build and photograph a desk examination scene of an open package of "evidence" around the diary. My supplies included blank paper and card tags, paperclips, a cheap yellow pencil and the battered old brown envelopes that I found with national geographic magazines in during exercise 2.5.

For the diary itself, I edited together textures for my own recreation of the prop from the show then printed it onto thick card before crumpling, tearing and weathering it before binding it together on top of scraps of lined paper with two bulldog clips. Despite the lack of real brass clasps on the edges of the book, I think it ended up looked fairly convincing as a destroyed version of the original diary. The only detail that was not my original creation was the printed photo that appears on the back cover of the 2011 copy of the book. I included the photo in my own composition here to further reinforce the murder investigation theme.

Creating and arranging props for a cover photo.

Initially, I had the intention of editing them together in photoshop at a later point to try different compositions, but rather than spending extra time editing together separate images to create essentially the same effect, I decided to reverse my technique and take more care in placing each item into a scene to be photographed as a single image that would only need a few details added digitally.

When I had picked the best photos of the arrangement that I wanted front and back covers, I brought them into photoshop for some easy edits. I used the typewriter style font Courier Std to fill out all of the relevant text information, with the main title of the book is standing out in a deep red against the bright white of the overexposed evidence card. The black text also looks fitting on brown tag below and the fake documents I made a pale grey to send them into the background.

For the spine, I chose to make a more direct reference to the series by reflecting the design of the "Black Lodge", an area well known for its red curtains and black and white chevron flooring. So that the title and author were clear here, I opted for Franklin Gothic in order to be easily read from a bookshelf.

The final edited covers and spine for the book sleeve.

Finally, I edited the cover into a full book mock up. This wasn't something that I knew how to do at first, but after some researching I found a handy website called Covervault that offers up free templates that I used to work out how I could be using smart layers to wrap around objects in photoshop when making my own mock ups. In future, I'm confident that i can use this knowledge to mock up my artwork onto any product. Another solution I'm thinking of trying is Adobe Dimension for applying images to 3d models.

The Secret Diary Of Laura Palmer by Jennifer Lynch (Alternative Cover Mock Up by Andrew Thornton)

I'm really pleased with how this ended up looking and this has been one of my favourite compositions to do so far. Admittedly I'm already a fan of the source material and pulled a lot of that history into the arrangement, but I hope that I've also made a convincing cover that could also catch the interest of someone who is not familiar with the series.

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