Folio Society – House of Illustration’s Book Illustration Competition 2015

This year is the first time for me to enter the Folio Ghost Stories competition. The books are The Treasure of Abbot Thomas, The Upper Berth and A Tale of an Empty House. We must provide one illustration for each story and a binding.

Here’s my final images I submitted:


© Ayu Baker, 2015. Folio Society – The Binding.

The image for the binding is inspired by blowfly behaviour. Blow flies are attracted to decaying meat and are typically the first organisms to come into contact with dead animals, excrement or wound of living animals. The meat of dead animals is essential for for them to deposit larvae and for the survival and growth. They are also attracted to plants that give off the smell of rotting meat and as such, can be a pollinator for those plants. I chose to use blow flies as metaphor for the ghost stories.


©Ayu Baker, 2015. Folio Society – The Treasure of Abbot Thomas.

This image of Yew tree is to symbolise the legendary being that protects the treasure buried in The Treasure of Abbot Thomas story. Yew tree often found in churchyards in England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, France and northern areas of Spain. They sometime grow for hundreds of years. Yew trees that were planted on graveyards thrived on corpse and poisonous therefore dangerous for grazing animal which often eat them.

The words that based the image taken from the story: “…and if I were you, I should lock my door. Yes, be particular to do that. They – they like it, the people here, and it’s better. Good night, good night.”


©Ayu Baker, 2015. Folio Society – The Upper Berth.

The drawing is inspired by the storied told by crew of the ship about the being that occupied the upper berth in room 105. The word from the story that based my image: “Just because on the last three trips the people who have slept there actually have gone overboard,‘ he answered gravely.”


©Ayu Baker, 2015. Folio Society – A Tale of an Empty House.

My image for A Tale of an Empty House is based on “The girl went off her head, and is in the asylum at Norwich now. She sits all day by the window whistling. The man was hanged.” I used doves to symbolise the lovers in the story.

The competition is also being used as a project for me to practice my visual language. I chose Metaphor in interpreting the three Ghost Stories. It’s also a good practice for me to work on a fix brief, however I still found freedom in the process and approach of illustrating the stories.

Few sketches for the project: