Book covers are still my favourite things, and once in a while I do one which becomes an immediate favourite. It can be because I loved the book, or I like the author, or both; or I don’t know anything about either of those things at the start and just have great subject matter.
This modern young adult book by Cassandra Rose Clarke for Angry Robot with its icy far away landscape and dark magic, a disturbing-looking shaman and the aurora borealis coupled with a request for spiky, unfeminine type was a recipe for excitement. I’m getting increasingly into the eyeball-razoring work that goes into a cross-hatchathon, despite the fact that I don’t get paid any extra for the 400% increase in production time, but nevertheless, this seems to be where my work’s leading me at the minute. I’m aware it isn’t feeling too modern or groundbreaking, but it pays to listen when that humming throb of enjoyment arrives parallel with what a client is loving.
I find my book covers happen two ways:
a) In one take; one piece, rendered completely and going to press that way
b) built using several different hand-drawn parts.
Needless to say, for ease of change and flexibility near to deadlines, clients prefer the latter - whereas I prefer the former!
This one used method B. I was given the image of the long-necked traditional shaman, and I found the magnetic image of the Native American gent online, and those two things coupled with images of Iceland and other freezing landscapes all fed into the content. My artwork generally starts with a tiny thumbnail in a sketchbook, a largish floppy Moleskine, and moves quite quickly to a pencil sketch with a fair bit of detail. The Wizard’s Promise, shows the Shaman of the story progressing from sketch to man-style with clothes to horned version and the final, which is then fully inked in with a dip pen and ink.
The titles are always hand-rendered too, and all of the parts scanned carefully, and pieced together in all kinds of combinations until the ‘right one’ comes together. I made several ink backgrounds dried on the wood burner (well one burnt actually so that was chucked in the fire), and this is the result, enhanced on the final product by spot varnish and sensitive printing.
I love it when a plan comes together.