Preliminary Book Cover Designs

Combined preliminary samplesI’m very old school. Back in the day you never shared preliminary, or unfinished book artwork. Your art director or book publisher simply wouldn’t allow it. Today, of course, things are different. Everyone shares everything they can, especially works-in-process. To be completely honest, doing so gives me nervous knots. But that’s ridiculous. It’s time to move into the modern era.

So, I’d like to introduce you to the preliminary book cover artwork for my forthcoming science fiction novelette, “Landscape of Darkness.” The initial drawing is reverse of the final – it’s a star map and will feature bright colors on a black background. The insets on the bottom are successful color tests.

I’m more than pleased to be doing the artwork myself. There’s something very satisfying about making your artistic visions come to life. The book will also have several internal illustrations in black and white and these are already completed.

For those of you interested in such things –  the cover artwork will be done in Prismacolor pencils and Neocolor II water-soluble crayons on black Stonehenge printmaking paper. I’m working on a full sheet of 22″ x 30″.

I’ve seen many questions online from novice book cover artists about how big to create the artwork. I’ll add a tip about that here. Always work at least one and a half times larger than the final artwork is meant to be. Make sure, also, that the work is in the correct proportion to the final shape and size of the book. Some books only have artwork on the front cover, but I am doing a wrap around book cover with art on the front and back. I’m not sure all of it will be seen in all formats, but that’s okay with me. The preliminary drawing you see here lacks throw-away segments on the top and bottom that can be easily occluded by book text. When I drew it initially I thought I might create a white border around the artwork and use that for the text. However, upon consideration, I’ve decided to create a much larger image, with the important elements, like the girl’s face, moved closer in to the center.

Here is an image of the preliminary drawing, reversed, to test out the design’s feel and shape.

Book cover preliminaries_Star Chart cover reversed

So there we are. Book cover in progress. More to come soon! Cheers.

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