marisa darabi | inkyletters
lettering & Illustration
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Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit

Jeanette Winterson’s Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit is one of my favorite books, but I often find myself disappointed in the cover art. The book is based on Winterson’s life growing up with an Evangelical, adoptive mother in a small English town in 60’s, focusing in on the conflict between her upbringing and her burgeoning lesbian identity. Most book covers seemed to focus on the maternal relationship or Christian imagery. I sought to depart from that.

 To me, the most striking theme of the book has always been the conflict between the inescapability of both family and sexuality and the incompatibility between her family and her sexuality. In the story, oranges already establish her relationship with her mother, so I contrasted that with the fig: the other forbidden fruit and a common literary metaphor for female sexuality.

To me, the most striking theme of the book has always been the conflict between the inescapability of both family and sexuality and the incompatibility between her family and her sexuality. In the story, oranges already establish her relationship with her mother, so I contrasted that with the fig: the other forbidden fruit and a common literary metaphor for female sexuality.

 I wanted the lettering to echo the wit and playfulness of the protagonist while also drawing from the style of the 60's. But I didn’t want to lose the gravity of the narrative, so I chose a more muted background to keep us anchored.

I wanted the lettering to echo the wit and playfulness of the protagonist while also drawing from the style of the 60's. But I didn’t want to lose the gravity of the narrative, so I chose a more muted background to keep us anchored.

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