eBook covers: part 3 - The developmental process

In the final part of this series on eBook covers I want to get a little bit 'arti' and move away from the technical stuff I've been talking about to date. So in this blog I want to walk you through the process we followed in getting to the final cover.

Firstly the artist. David Lecossu, a French freelance Concept Artist/Illustrator who worked for the videogame company ‘Gameloft’ and who works now for clients like Applibot Inc, Fantasy Flight Games and Catalyst Game Labs. David approached us in February 2013 to see if there was any work. At the time there wasn't but when we were looking for an artist for Shelley's "Lights Over Emerald Creek" we approached him to see if he was still interested.

The original specifications I provided him were slightly more detailed than usual, see the following

Shelley was imagining a highly realistic, but magical pic of a girl sitting in a wheelchair. We see her from the back. Her long blonde hair hangs down her back. It is night. The wheelchair is on the banks of a creek. Tropical palms can be seen, and in the distance, blue-black shadows of mountains are silhouetted against a starry sky. Above the girl's head is a ball of weird, magical light. It's about the size of a football but the glow is much bigger. It is a brilliant blue/white and radiance drenches her. The light is a portal, but at the moment of the picture, all we can see is that some unearthly light is over her head. Further along the creek, two smaller lights, the size of tennis-balls, one blue and one orange, hover just over the water.

We then had to negotiate over price. Our initial offer was for $150 but David's base rate started at $300. Given his credentials we decided to pay his rate. We have since increased our base rate to $250.

Two months later David provided the following draft sketch

 

First Draft

First Draft

 

While extremely close to the concept we wanted there were a number of changes required.

Shelley's comments were as follows

The cover sketch is really amazing. It's everything I could dream it to be. Where will the name and title go? I love the realist/magical integration, which is exactly how the book is. The feeling is right, so my  thanks to you and to David for re-imagining so  much based on a simple cover brief.

In my own response I provided specific suggestion to bring it closer to the book.

My only concern is that the scene isn't  Queensland. Shelley has provided some links to  pics of the general vicinity where the book is  set, so you might be able to add a few rocks,  and the kind of palms and ferns found in that area, as well the bush (Australian for forest) that would extend to the hills and mountains.

Shelley's links to photographs from the area:

David provided a final version within days, but Shelley and I had concerns regarding the dark text which disappeared into the night sky (see following).

 

Second Draft

Second Draft

 

David provided an alternate version in white, as well as ensuring that the text was provided as a separate Photoshop layer so that we could make our own changes if required, and more importantly would allow us to have a cover without text if we wanted to make a book trailer.

 

Final Draft

Final Draft

 

And that's it

The final picture was provided at a size to enable cropping

 

LightsOverEmeraldCreekexample

 

And that's the end of our series on eBook covers for a while, next week something new.

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