From Sketch to Final Art; Final Art to Cover

I’m sure my Nation of Readers will remember this sketch, which I talked about here, fifteen months ago.

Well, lubbers, double quick, set your deadlights on the final art:

“Ahoy, me hearties!” I cried. “Prepare to be boarded!”

Interestingly, in the above final piece the pirates and boy appear rather small, almost lost. But I’m looking at the proofs, which I recently received, and can assure you that, thanks to tight cropping across a two-page spread, it’s anything but the case. You have to see it on the page (a thought to keep in mind during the Dawn of Kindle).

For many artists, rough sketches are exactly that — rough. Sometimes extremely rough — more shape and placement and perspective than detail — to the point when you almost wonder, “Can this person draw?”

Funny, that question never arose when it came to Greg’s rough sketches.

One of the things that editor, Liz Szabla, loved about the art for this book was, in her words, “The pirates look like REAL PIRATES!”

That’s Liz, sometimes she talks in all caps, sometimes italics.


The other day I showed you this:

Below, please find the uncorrected, unapproved — read: still fretting the details, tweaking color tones, debating everything, etc. — cover design. A collaborative effort, indeed, involving the skill of many folks whose names do not appear on the front cover. (Please do click on the image, and double click, to see in greater detail.) I think this is part of what we mean when describing a book as “well published.” The tone of the relationships involved, the professionalism and courtesy, which is always hidden from view, plus the attention to detail throughout the entire process. I’ve experienced a wide range of extremes across the previous 20+ years; these days, I’m just feeling fortunate, because essentially all this good stuff happens without any help from me. To which I can only say, over and over again: Thank you.


NOTE: If this aspect of the creative process is at all interesting to you, and if you are not a long-time reader here, please check out my seven-part series of posts, “What’s in a book cover?” In it, I detail the cover process from concept memo to rough sketch to final cover — including interviews with an editor, art director, and illustrator — of an upcoming Jigsaw Jones title, beginning here.


POSTSCRIPT: Just realized that this is my 300th post since I started this blog, back in May, 2008. Each one, healthy and nutritious and self-absorbed.

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