Part 2 of my cover in progress…

What follows are the individual figure drawings I generated from the rough sketch you saw in Part 1.

I enlarged and printed each figure individually. I then light-boxed and refined each drawing you see below on smooth bristol. I believe in working over well-realized drawings. I find it very difficult to do a good painting over a bad drawing. A good and solid drawing provides the foundation upon which I can paint with greater confidence. This is not to say that all decisions have been made by this stage, but a good starting point has been reached by the time I’ve finished drawing.

In general, I try to produce useful photo reference from which to work as that helps to really inform my drawings. In this instance I didn’t have a studio assistant ( aka. My wife with a digital camera) so I had to rely on experience and a handy mirror.

Here are the tumbling combatants that will be featured on the front cover.


Here is the Mind Flayer who is featured in the middle of the back cover. He will be very much obscured by the blurb text. As such, he will likely be in shadow and this will help him to recede without causing the text to become muddy. Still, I did visit some detail into him and this will guide my painting.
And here’s the Mind Flayer we spot in the background of the back cover. He will  be most deeply in shadow and there will be some back lighting that will reveal his silhouette for the most part. Again, the detail I have visited upon the figure, while likely to be lost, will still serve to guide my painting as I move forward.



Here is the cover without the trade dress. I scanned each figure drawing and dropped them into the layout. I scanned them at the same resolution as my final artwork ( 600 ppi) so they remain crisp.

The environment is still very loose, but this will start to be refined as I move onto Part 3 during which I will further refine the drawing and produce the grayscale under-painting.

coverdrawingAnd finally the cover drawing with the trade dress template super-imposed. See how much of those Mind Flayers are going to be obscured? Crying shame…;)

You’ll note how carefully the main combatants are framed on the front cover by the “Author Name” and “Really Long Book Title”. In this instance, I don’t know how much overlap of the text is acceptable so I chose not to meddle with it for purposes of this exercise. Plus, the figures could cause unwanted “tangents” ( awkward overlap or juxtaposition of elements that cause flattening of an image) with the text and muddy the letters/logos.

I also gave each figure a bit of breathing room within the design to accommodate potential bleed. It wouldn’t do to have one of my little critters getting nipped during cutting and binding.

Well, that’s all for now.

Part 3 will feature some of the techniques I use for under-painting.

Thanks for reading.


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