Illustration in children's literature is equally as important as the content. As a new writer, it can be quite daunting to develop visual concepts to compliment your content. There are so many options and techniques to choose from including, painting, sketching, 3D modeling, just to name a few. Even though I'm far from an expert in design, I knew I wanted a contemporary illustration style for Janjay. It took a lot of research to find the right artist. Luckily for me, I discovered the work of Adebayo Dare, my friend Zettie's husband; and was blown away by his talent. I knew I had to work with him. So on one London summer afternoon, we met in Starbucks at Bond Street Underground Station, and the rest is history.
It took a great deal of thought to create the cover. I was inspired by the original cover of, "Amazing Grace" by Mary Hoffman. Like the character of Grace, Janjay's features resemble the average Black girl. She wears cornrows symbolizing the cultural importance of braids. Her skin tone is a darker shade of Black to help fight against colorism and help build self confidence. The title is written in yellow to represent happiness and energy. Finally, the purple background is associated with royalty and magic. #blackgirlmagic.