The Cover Art Process

Walk the Red Road is getting closer and closer to completion. By this time next week I expect to be completely done with the manuscript, and I’m hoping to have the cover finished by then as well. I’m kind of in transition at the moment and have to wait on my editors to finish reading before I can complete the final revision, so I’m in a weird stage where I have nothing to do yet a long way to go. I’m kind of anxious because I don’t like not having a book to work on. They say idle hands are the devil’s playthings or some such crap, and that’s the case with me. I even made a huge bowl of mixed cut veggies I don’t even eat the other day for S because my hands needed something to do.

I could start the third book, but I’m trying to wait a bit so I don’t get ahead of myself. I want to focus on Walk the Red Road until it’s published so that has all of my attention. Also, I went through a mini-crisis earlier in the week when I realized that the book title I’ve had planned for the third for like 2 years now, is actually perfectly suited for the fourth book. So now I have no title for the third and I can’t work on a titleless book. It’s just a weird thing I have. I need a title.

Anyway, since I can’t work on the text, I’ll talk about the cover! As I mentioned before, my friend Red designed the art based on my crappy sketch and man, did she do an awesome job. She recently sent me her sketches (there were more variations than what are below, but these are the basic images and the others are the same images with lighting and color changes).

I thought it would be cool to show y’all how much work went into the process, how awesome Red is, and how these concepts turned into the final cover. Now, I don’t actually have the final cover since it’s still being worked on, but I do have the essential final form. So, enjoy!

Paintings all lined up. You can see the many changes Whisper went through.

The second and third are on canvas board. The rest are watercolor paper (I think).

This was initially my first choice. I love the look of the ink sketching.

As you already know, this is the one I ended up going with.

After finishing the painting, Red scanned it to the computer and did some alterations. Once I got it, I did some of my own changes, namely some color changes and I removed a tattoo that I decided I didn’t like (well, I removed part of the tattoo in the center of her back). A designer that I know added the text.

So, after I sent my final image in, the publishing company sent me two cover concepts. They are below. The left side is the back cover, middle is the spine, and right is the front cover.

Initially, this was my first choice. I love the contrast between the white and reds, and the way the trees wrap around the entire text. I also like the text on the spine and the title text. The more I looked at it though (and hearing feedback from friends), I decided that I don’t like that the eye is immediately drawn to the title, rather than the image (which I wanted to be bigger). I also don’t like the back cover layout, but it can’t be changed due to the trees. Speaking of the trees, while I love the wrapping, I think the fadeout into the white could be cleaner.

This is the second cover concept, and the one I am going with. I love the back cover layout and the fact that the image is so prominent on the front. Some feedback responses stated that the title isn’t prominent enough, but I’m okay with that. For me, the title isn’t what draws me to a book; it’s the image. I’m pretty confident that people will see the awesome image of Whisper and be drawn to that. And besides, it’s not like the title is hidden, right? Ultimately though, this cover was the one that S, my mom, my dad, and Red chose. Their opinions mean a lot to me, and since Red is the artist I like knowing that the cover reflects her vision as well.

The changes I requested are relatively minor. I asked that the text on the spine from cover 1 be used instead. I don’t like the stylish text for my name on this second one. I also asked that the back cover, spine, and fade around the front border be darker, more like the darker red color in the trees. The pink is okay, but I think people will be more likely be drawn to a darker red.

And, just for fun, Sir Whisky enjoyed playing in the box Red sent the art in. I’m not sure, but I think he may be drunk.



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