Kafka on the Shore-Haruki Murakami | Skillshare Projects

Rachel Frankel

Illustrator & Graphic Designer



Kafka on the Shore-Haruki Murakami


Ok, I'm still very, very new to the world of Illustrator, so I'm a bit embarrassed sharing these..but since I'm among other Skillsharers, here are two relatively quick mock-ups I created for the cat drop cap idea.

The first one is very close to my first concept sketch. The second version is sans serif--I wanted to test out both to see if one might be a better fit.

It's definitely strange to be creating things on the computer versus paper--my normal work is very detailed and I usually spend hours on rendering. Even though these two ideas are pretty simple, I like where it's going. I used Futura for the title and author text. I also used a craquelature effect on the white background, which might be hard to see in these smaller jpeg images.

I know my letterform needs work--I'm struggling a bit with the placement of the intersection in the middle of the M. I don't want it to come down too far, since it would disrupt the composition behind it, but I do want it to come across as a solid letter. 

I might play around with the other concept, but I'm excited to develop this one further.

11/16/13: Sketching Part I

Here are some humble sketches of initial ideas. 

Cats seem to pop up a lot in Murakami's novels. They have an interesting and mysterious role in this novel--one of the main characters, Nakata, struggles with a mental disability, but can meanwhile communicate perfectly well with cats. It is by doing this that Nakata officially starts his journey, so I imagined that it might be nice to include an image of a cat on the cover to represent an introduction to the story. This is just one execution of the idea--I also thought about making a letterform out of the 6 cat characters in this story (that might come next). I like the sharp contrast of black and white, and since I'm in the sketching stage, it keeps it simpler and easier to read.

Here, I used pretty much the same letterform and style--just gave it a bit more dimension with the black shadowing. In this novel, animals begin to fall from the sky whenever Nakata encounters a hostile situation (typically violent). It is never discovered whether Nakata brings on the storms himself, but to me, these events are reminiscent of biblical plagues--which can loosely tie in with the Oedipal storyline of Kafka.

I wanted to evoke the fish falling from the sky in a basic, graphic way, but I do envision the fish having a bit more detail in a more finalized version. I worry that this image might have a bit too much going on, but it's good to start somewhere.

11/9/13: Brainstorming

I've read Kafka On The Shore two times before, but I'm starting to realize it might require another full read before I even consider picking up a pencil to sketch anything. I've started researching and rereading portions of the book, and decided to make a list of characters, themes, and settings to get the ball rolling.

(I have really awful handwriting when I'm not doing lettering, by the way.)


It was a tough decision between Kafka on the Shore and Jane Eyre (my two favorite novels). As much as I would have loved to do Jane Eyre, I think it will be more exciting (and challenging) to tackle Murakami. He is one weird bird, but I'm determined to make sense of him.


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