Anatomy of a cover

When I get a request for a cover, I always go through and see what the author wants.  Sometimes the requests are just ridiculous, like “I need a zombie carrying a sword and going on a killing rampage”.  Uh… Sure.  About that…

So after I explain to the author the limitations of stock photos, they finally have a better understanding.  Sometimes however, I run into an author who’s adamant about a particular thing, and I can’t deliver.  I have to refer them to an illustrator or they’ll have to muddle through on their own.  It happens.

I had to realize I couldn’t make everyone happy every time.

But here’s part of my process that I wanted to show you.  I got a request for a hot guy (a Selkie to be exact, which I had to look up since I didn’t know what that was), coming out of the Northern Atlantic ocean at night.

Well, I thought to myself, that should be easy.  So here was my first draft:


I showed this to Jambrea, and she went, “I don’t like the girl’s butt in my face.”  Eh.  Good point.  Not quite what the author wanted either.

So here’s the next one that I showed her:


Oh, he’s sexy.  But, um… he’s coming out of the ocean.  Shouldn’t he be wet?

Uh… oops!

So here’s the next version:

Nice, huh?

Well, I forgot one thing.  It’s supposed to be the North Atlantic, not the Caribbean!  Wrong color water. Dang it.

Because we didn’t like the guy in the previous one we picked him instead:

Here’s the next revision:

Better, yes?

But, Valerie, it’s supposed to be night time! 

Dang it…  One more revision:

By George, I think she’s got it. YAY me! 🙂

And here is the final, with full resolution images and a tweak on the author name:


And that is just a fraction of what goes on with creating a cover…  This is my process.  Every artist has their own way of doing things.  But I love it!  🙂

5 Responses to “Anatomy of a cover”

  1. Great post :). The cover looks great!!

  2. Mary Preston Says:

    The process is fascinating thank you.

  3. Wow, so cool to see how you work your magic.

  4. This is amazing! Every time I see an artist break it down like this…I feel guilty. 😀

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