Thursday, February 05, 2009

Anatomy of a Jacket

Would you like to see how to design and illustrate a book jacket?

First, I start with rough thumbnails, searching for as much range as possible:

And from there, I select my best idea and create a final sketch:

Chad Beckerman, art director extraordinaire, echoed my own concern that the sketch was elegant but too stately, even a bit stuffy. Back to the drawing board:

This one came back as "Too Zeus" or "Neptune about to eat his children." Chad suggested thinking Superman crossed with Moses. Right on. First I gathered some reference.

The final sketch was approved, with the change of making the boy in his arms a girl.

Next, I needed to think about color. I looked over the entire book for its general color structure, and created two color studies.

The shield on the bottom of the art needed to be used on the title page as well, in different proportions, so I built all the elements of the cover individually and assembled them in photoshop.

Once the bottom was assembled in place with the flaps and spine, I could lay in the art for the top. Here is the full piece, unobscured by the shield.

I seamed all the pieces together with a bit of overlap and feathered selections so that they feel like they are drawn on one page. Here is the final cover, now with spine an flap elements in place. Viola!


Melanie said...

Wow, I loved that. Thanks!

Jack Noel said...

That's really amazing. Your process is more intriguing than your average, because of you using proper paints and all.

david said...

This is really interesting to see the whole process. I always wondered what it involved, thanks for sharing.

Logan York said...

This was a great post John - thanks for the transparency with your process. What a wonderful jacket to wrap up your marathon project with as well. Congrats!

Dan Z. said...

That's what I'M talking about! Beautiful work, John.

abbiegrace said...

I love the finished product. Interesting to see the process behind it!

Kristi Valiant said...

Thanks for posting your process, and congrats on your book!

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