The Nigerian-American science fiction and fantasy author Nnedi Okorafor donated digital rights to an unpublished novella to Worldreader for use in its reading programs and to sell on Amazon. The Girl with the Magic Hands is a charming story about a young girl named Chidera who finds a magic pen on the ground one day and uses it to transform her village, her family, and her life with magical uli drawing.
I was tasked with creating a new cover for the e-book in April 2014.
In December 2014, The Girl with the Magic Hands was selected for a feature called Stocking Stuffers with a Story, linked from Amazon’s homepage during the e-commerce site’s crucial holiday season.
My book cover design was featured prominently in the feature.
The heart of Okorafor’s story is Chidera’s uli drawing. I mimicked the uli style to hand-draw the title and a hand and pen, which I then scanned and manipulated in Photoshop. I used a photograph of canopy from a Tanzanian rainforest as the background, and I thought that a vivid, dark pink best reflected the layered playfulness of the story.
On the other trees, the dirt, fallen leaves, she saw drawings of lizards, kola nuts, yams, fruits, flowers, palm trees, frogs, and more abstract things like tight spirals and squiggles. It was the natural world drawn atop the natural world. And everything glowed lightning blue underneath the inky black. —Nnedi Okorafor, The Girl with the Magic Hands