Watership Down | Skillshare Projects

Russell Beswick

Designer / Illustrator



Watership Down

I'm late to the game but I've been working on this ever so slowly and have only just got the spare time to persue it fully. I'll be honest and say I'm not the biggest reader of books which is why I wanted to challenge myself. The book I'm to create a cover for is Watership Down by Richard Adams, a childhood story of rabbits with deeper meanings and a lot there to pull visual reference from.

I know that Jessica was generally limited to a palatte of two colours for her Penguin Drop Cap series but I've decided to limit myself further down to just one as I'm looking for a clean, modern approach to this classic story. Sometimes we just work best under strict limitations.


I wish I was one of those people who have the most insanely beautiful looking and refined sketches in their sketchbook but unfortunately mine is the complete opposite, just scribbles to work things out in my visual mind.

I orginally started with the idea of working with the 'W' from the title and although it being an incredibly illustrative letter with so much room to play with I soon hit a constraint worrying how the letter would fit compositionally on the cover, feeling like it'd be too wide and short.

Afterwards I moved onto to simlar ideas working on the 'A' from the author's surname. I've chosen to work from the story of Frith and El-ahrairah which describes a large undertone for the whole story. 


I'm starting in illustrator by creating the character componants which I will be using within the drop cap


All the world will be your enemy, Prince of a Thousand enemies.'

The Black Rabbit of Inlé

He is certainly Death, for when the Black Rabbit calls for you, you must go.

Lord Frith

'My friend, have you seen El-ahrairah, for I am looking for him to give him my gift?

Update 05/08/14

Screenshot from what I'm working on;

Update 12/09/14

Various screenshots of versions throughout the project

Finished Version

After lots of playing around in Illustrator I have finally decided to leave as is and finalize the project. Here is my finished version of the book cover, I've not had much time to post images of the leading steps but will hopefully update with the in-between story.

Hope you all like the cover and any feedback would be delightful.

Thanks all.


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