Thursday, February 7, 2013

Designing the "Will & Whit" Cover

Designing the cover of a book is a challenge.  Because, just like the saying says, it's what people will first judge it on. So I thought I'd share my new book cover along with the process behind it...

Recap: There are a lot of themes in my upcoming graphic novel "Will & Whit," but the most important one is light and dark.  My main character, Wilhelmina (Will), has a passion for making lamps partly because she likes to tinker with old things and partly because she's afraid of the dark.  But when Hurricane Whitney (Whit) comes to town and knocks out the power, she's forced to face her fears and the shadows that come to life around her.

For the cover, originally I thought of using a spotlight and shadow puppets since they're a fun motif that's featured in the story...


After feedback from my art director (Chad Beckerman) and editor (Maggie Lehrman) over at Abrams, I changed the design to feature Will's shadow more prominently.  So I made some digital mock-ups...

But the title needed to be more interesting,  so I drew it as something that would hang in Foxxden Antiques. (It's the family business where Will helps out her Aunt.)  And surprisingly we then ditched Will altogether, replacing her instead with a silhouette...

And the folks at Abrams went for it!  Which I found surprising, because neither one of the figures on the cover is Will or Whit.  It's instead foreshadowing a vital scene later in the story.  I worried it was too enigmatic or misleading.  (I mean, the title features two boy's names that are actually girl's names!) But hey, what's wrong with a little mystery??

So here's the final result. Ta-da! It's scheduled for release in May.
And if you look closely....I snuck in a pair of eyes in the bushes on the right side.

{If you find this design process interesting, here's my blog post about making the "Page by Paige" cover!}


Kevin Marsh said...

Well done, I love the final cover and of course the pair of eyes looking sneakily at Will and Whit is a great idea.
You're right, there is an element of mystery in the design, that only adds to the suspense. Can't wait to have a look inside.


Kevin Marsh

Chase March said...

Good job!

I'm looking forward to the new book.

Thank you for sharing your creative process with us. It's very interesting.

alethea aka frootjoos said...

This reminds me of a Johnny Flynn song! *opens iTunes*

Great job!