Well, today is one of the highlights of my life. Not only have I written a novel that my beta readers seem to enjoy (still not sure how that happened), but I have been blessed to work with an absolutely fantastic artist in Arthur Wang (see www.ArthurWangArt.com,) on the book cover.
When I started the search for an artist, I wasn’t really sure how to go about it. There were lots of folks out there that offered the typical looking e-book cover, but that wasn’t what I wanted, not for my baby. I needed a powerful MG/YA cover that would make the potential reader want to open the book and get to know my characters, and their story.
I know a bunch of people on www.deviantart.com to be excellent artists, so I decided to start poking around there. Once I figured out where artists posted for commission requests, I spent days going through different portfolios and assessing the various artists’ styles.
There was something in Arthur’s art… He captured something in the face of his characters that really spoke to me. I knew that I needed to capture a sense of wonder on the cover, and I just had a feeling that Arthur was the right choice for me.
I was right. Oh, so right.
As I tought of an interesting way to chronicle this process, I realized that I could use the update pictures that Arthur sent me throughout the process to create an animated GIF. I thought this would be a way to bring the book cover to life, and in an abbreviated way, you could travel on the same journey that Arthur and I did together.
In a way, this process is not dissimilar to writing the novel itself. He sent me an initial rough draft, something to give me the basic shapes and ideas he had for the cover. Then you can see he focused in on the central most important part — Marcus’ (the main character’s) face, and let the painting grow organically from there. Arthur did a great job of capturing that sense of wonder as Marcus looks down on a key focus of the book – the magical Phoenix skull. He later added the ambiance of the shrieking forest, the magical wisps around the skull, and moved the flaming birds and burning branches around in the background. And then there was the hand-made typography…
The results were fantastic.
I suppose the greatest compliment I could pay to Arthur is this – seeing his art, his book cover, made me want to back and edit my book again so that my art would be as awesome as his.
If any other authors are looking for a great experience, and an exceptional result, check out Arthur’s website.
Here is the non-animated version with the Shadow Magic Series badge on the cover:
In his free time Justin loves to read, write, and play games. He enjoys his close friends, and loves to make people laugh. To learn more about Justin, or his work, you can visit him at www.justinswapp.com
Justin is the author of The Magic Shop. He has also been published in several anthologies, including The Crimson Pact (Volumes 1, 2, and 5), The Memory Eater, and Short Sips: Coffee House Flash Fiction Collection 2.