Dec 12 2010

Gifts From the Gods – cover development

Published by at 3:02 pm under gifts from the gods,sketchbook

A few weeks ago I delivered the last bits of art for Gifts from the Gods, a hybrid graphic novel / picture book by Lise Lunge-Larsen which I illustrated for Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. It’s about characters from Greek & Roman mythology whose names have persisted as common words or phrases in modern English.

I want to preview some artwork for you, and I thought what I’d do first is to show the process of developing the cover.

Although I had done a few little sketches of cover ideas here and there, nothing could really move forward until we had finalized the title, which took a while. I had previously thought about putting Nemesis or the Furies on the cover, but with the title “Gifts from the Gods” it seemed like maybe we shouldn’t put anything too dark or nasty on the cover (“the Gods gave us punishment” is not a good message)! So I started with a clean slate and did a bunch of sketches.

After discussion with my fab editor Ann Rider and designer/art director Scott Magoon, I did another page.

Next, I worked up some of our favorite ideas in color.

We decided on the Zeus sketch on the right, so I printed that sketch out very lightly on a piece of cheap printer paper and did a detailed pencil drawing over it. I scanned that back in, cleaned it up, printed it out on a piece of 140 lb. watercolor paper (using my Epson Stylus Photo 2200, which has waterproof ink, unlike my old Canon s9000), and painted over it with watercolor for the final color version.

Here’s the final art, with not-quite-final type.

(All images are copyright 2010 by Gareth Hinds, and appear courtesy of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.)

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