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Their Dogs Came With Them: Book Cover

The goal of this project was to pick a book I have already read to redesign the cover. I chose the book, Their Dogs Came with Them, by Helena María Viramontes. The book is based on true history, in the 1960’s in east LA during the freeway construction, while also including a dystopian rabies outbreak and nightly curfew. Viramontes tells her story through the lens of those unseen.



Final Book Cover

My interpretation of this book highlights the character, Turtle who is a homeless woman who passes as a man in order to survive on the streets. I infused symbolism into my illustration by displaying how Turtle is viewed by society as unknown or dangerous, while highlighting her struggles of isolation and survival. Turtle’s identity was stripped in order to survive on her own in the streets.

I created an ambiguous figure with a distraught and isolated expression to show the obstacles that this character, Turtle faces. The magenta color that is cast onto her face reveals that she is still a girl despite passing as a man for survival. The hand–drawn typeface is inspired by street signs from the 1960s, when this story took place.

The color of the word ‘Dogs’ is the same magenta color that is cast onto Turtle’s face. This book cover has symbolism and a deeper meaning because these matching colors represent how Turtle is viewed by society, like a dog. There is a nightly curfew where all citizens must return home because there are helicopters at night, looking for rabid dogs running through the streets to shoot. This is symbolic because Turtle does not have a home, she sleeps under the freeway, or in the cemetery. She is viewed as a threatening unknown figure. This heartbreaking story ends with Turtle getting shot in the street by the police, like a dog.