The Perks of Being a Wallflower
follows Charlie and his group of high school friends in the early 1990's. Together, this group publishes a home-made xerox fanzine called "Punk Rocky," that's all about punk rock and The Rocky Horror Picture Show. I wanted this book cover to look like an issue of that magazine.
To really achieve that vintage gritty feel of a 90's punk zine; I painted, cut, and collaged the image together, and then sent the whole thing through an old xerox copy machine. Instead of scanning in my original art, I scanned the copy from the xerox machine.
A lot of old punk zines have that almost ransom note look of collaged letters, which I totally dig, and I knew that I wanted to use that aesthetic for the title! I printed off the title words in a bunch of varying fonts and sizes, and then cut out all the individual letters. Then, like some bizarre solo game of scrabble, I pieced together the title.
Everything else on the cover, with the exception of the MTV Books logo and ISBN box, is written with sharpie in my handwriting.
I had to incorporate a Rocky Horror vibe somewhere, so I especially love the back cover blurb in the speech bubbles over the Rocky-esque disembodied red lips.
Choosing to incorporate flowers on the cover, I really wanted each flower to mean something.
The whole book is formatted as letters that Charlie is writing to "Dear friend." I chose specific flowers to highlight Charlie's writing.
In Victorian times, some suitors would use flowers to communicate secret messages to the person they were courting. I used this secret language of flowers for my cover.
The flower at the top right is an Iris.
Presenting an Iris meant that you were sending a message, or saying, "I have a secret letter for you." I think it's important that this flower symbolizes a secret message, because in Charlie's first letter, he writes how he doesn't want the recipient of his letters to find out who he is.
The flowers on the bottom of the cover are Canterbury Bells.
The person displaying Canterbury Bells was conveying to their suitor that "your letter has been received." I like to think that in putting Canterbury Bells on the cover, it's like saying that we, as the reader, are accepting and receiving Charlie's letters.
One of the final things I did on this project was put stitching on the page.
I wanted the needle to actually pierce the page, because growing up can be incredibly painful sometimes, and I think we should acknowledge that.
I chose to do the stitching in teal because Charlie is dealing with some PTSD from a traumatic incident that happened in his early childhood, and teal is the color for PTSD awareness.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a book that is very dear to my heart. Not just because I grew up in the 90's. Not just because I love the mix tape of songs the author blends throughout the book (although The Smiths actually are one of my favorite bands).
I love this book because it viscerally takes me right back to all the blissfully heart crushing joys and pains of being young and feeling different.