Sacha Stephan’s got it covered

UX designer by day and illustrator by night, this artist is re-imagining the covers of every book she reads in 2019

When Sacha Stephan comes home from work, her routine is probably close to yours: She fixes a cup of tea or pours some wine, descends from the day onto her couch and logs into Netflix ("I've been watching a lot of reality TV that's just garbage," she says). Then, Stephan picks up a sketchbook, laying down lines that are a "juxtaposition of something that's pretty and something unrefined."

The UX designer talks about how that evening routine went from a once-a-week venture to help her get back into making art, to an almost-daily ritual. "Like, last night, I asked my boyfriend 'What should I draw?' because I was really stuck and he was like, 'Draw a toucan that's showing off its can.' So I drew a toucan with a butt and it just made me laugh," she says.

But mostly, inspiration isn't lacking, as her 2019 goal is to re-create the cover of every book she reads this year. So far, she's posted two finished results via @sachastephan. A twist on the sci-fi-y An Absolutely Remarkable Thing—"The book was about robots on earth, and I can't remember the last time I drew a robot. Maybe I was five? So I thought 'Let's see what that would be like now'"—and a re-visioning of Roxanne Gay's Hunger.

"The original cover, I really don't like it—I don't think it speaks to her voice or the content of the book. And this is sort of what inspired [my cover project]: I was reading that book and was like 'I really wanna redesign that cover—what if I did that for every book that I read?'" Stephan says.

In Hunger, Gay talks about being gang-raped as a preteen and overeating later as a defence mechanism. "She talks a lot about the before and the after, and I was thinking a lot about those shapes—the before as this beacon of hope that's being eclipsed by the after," Stephan says, pointing to the overlapping orbs on her cover redux.

"My personal voice might not match the voice of this book and that's part of the fun," Stephan continues. "I can't even tell you how many projects I've abandoned because I think it's not good enough. I'm trying to be better at not just letting things die in my sketchbook."

About The Author

Morgan Mullin

Morgan is the Arts & Entertainment Editor at The Coast, where she writes about everything from what to see and do around Halifax to profiles of the city’s creative class to larger cultural pieces. She’s been with The Coast since 2016.

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