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0515 Øen i solen

January 4, 2014
0515 Barrier Island 1344
  • Title: Øen i solen
  • English Title: Island in the Sun
  • Canon: Barrier Island
  • Language: Danish
  • Country: Denmark
  • Format: Paperback
  • Year: 1989
  • Publisher: Asschenfledt
  • ISBN-10: 8773659312
  • ISBN-13: 9788773659311
  • Cover Artist: John Ovesen

I can point out a dozen things wrong about this cover, and yet I still like it. For starters, it’s almost cartoonish in nature: much of it is line drawings, there is no shading on the side of the boat, and the shading on the man’s face has had the contrast cranked up so high that there are only three shades. Secondly, the lighting is all wrong. There is a spectacular sunrise or sunset going on in the background but the man’s face and this side of the boat are exceedingly well lit when they should be fully shaded. Thirdly, at the risk of starting a botanical argument, I will state that royal palms do not grow in the gulf coast area where the story takes place. Fourth of all, is it just me or is there a smiling kitty on the badge of the captain’s hat?

So why do I like it? Firstly, the composition is very unusual. Any other artist would have placed the man on the left side, looking into the “camera”, but Mr. Ovesen chose to put him on the right, where he is watching you while keeping an eye on something just out of frame. Secondly, for all my whining about the shading, it is remarkably effective. The folds of his shirt and hat are captured with simplicity. Nice. Thirdly, what a great expression! This guy is clearly not to be trifled with. He is a badass who will kick yours across the Gulf. It’s a combination of the set of his mouth, the wrinkles on his cheeks, his windswept hair, and the rakish tilt of his cap. And it’s a captain’s cap, so he’s a sailor so you know he can kick yours. And he will, too.


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