I was admiring the cover of the paperback version of my novella yesterday, and I thought it might be fun to show the evolution, from concept to final product, of the cover art. It’s a visually comic tale, to be sure.
When I first started writing Shadows and Bones, which is the actual first novel in The Desolation War Saga (remember, The Prince of Graves is the prelude), I wanted some kind of image to associate with it for my blog posts. The problem is that, as an artist, my drawing ability is awful. So what I did was lay a sword (given to me as a gift several years ago) on to a rug that had a cool design on it (that I purchased in Iraq), and came up with this:
Kind of lame, but it was the best I could do at the time. If you go back and check out some of my earliest posts on S&B, you’ll see this image (with some slight alterations made using GIMP).
As the end of 2012 approached, I needed to get serious about a cover. The above pic was a concept for S&B, so I wanted to create a related image for Graves. Now, in the story the banner for the kingdom of Valeot is the hilt and pommel of a sword, and the banner for the Necromancer Kingdoms is a moon over a black field. So I figured this could work its way into the cover. So using a drawing app on my Xoom, I sketched out this:
I SAID I couldn’t draw, ok? I just needed to get a concept out. This sketch soon morphed into this:
Again, these are only concept sketches. I liked the idea, but needed the talent. So I contact ed a friend of mine, Douglas, who has a background in graphic arts. His work is creative, cool, and often disturbing. I asked him if he would be interesting in creating my cover, and he agreed. So I sent him the above sketch, to which he replied: “What is the amoebic critter in the top right? The sun? A dramatic Batman moon?”
Ha. Ha. Just make me a cover.
So he got right on it. The next few images depict the final evolution of the cover for the Prince of Graves.
And that’s that. It was a fun time, and Douglas did a fantastic job. By the way, if you’re looking for an artist for your cover, drop me a message and I can connect you to him.
I’d love to hear some of your cover-design stories.