With the release of my book just around the corner, I thought I’d show everyone how I came up with the book’s cover.
There’s the old saying that you can’t judge a book by its cover. Yet when it comes to graphic novels and comics, that proverb just doesn’t hold water. A strong cover is necessary because it has to catch the eye of potential buyers. For inspiration, I looked at the many covers of the Cerebus phonebooks by Dave Sim to get ideas for the cover to Sunnyville Stories Volume 1. At the same time, I thought of symbolism and what I wanted to convey the book being about.
Essentially, Sunnyville Stories Volume 1 is a beginning. It is the start of the saga of Sunnyville and our two heroes, Rusty Duncan and Sam Macgregor. This led me to the Tarot and the Fool tarot card. The Fool is the unnumbered and usually the first of the trump cards in the Major Arcana. Interpretations of the card usually have the fool representing the hero and the start of a journey. He carries a stick/staff with a bundle on it, all his worldly possessions. I liked that image and decided to incorporate that into a design.
This image here shows my color study and next to it, the block of 7 by 10 inch watercolor paper that the drawing will be put on. Taking cues from the aforementioned Cerebus covers, I kept my palette limited to black, white, gray, and perhaps one other primary color. I decided on blue. I debated using red, but my color studies made me realize it didn’t look right. Anyway, I lightly sketched in the lineart with an H pencil and then tightened up the work with a mechanical HB pencil.
Here’s the drawing with the mostly clean pencil lines. It matched perfectly what was in my head (a rarity with even the most gifted of draftsmen) and from there, I decided to work on the color. The only item that would be colored blue was Rusty’s shirt. For this, I used primary cyan acrylic ink. The final result turned out to be more vibrant that I expected.
That’s a very pretty blue, isn’t it? I waited until it dried. Then I broke out more inks in the form of Derwent Inktense pencils and worked on Rusty’s fur, his stick, the bundle, and his pants. Inktense pencils are amazing because they are pencils that act like watercolors when wet with a brush. Yet this brand is meant to replicate colored ink. I followed the color study closely – and came out with something quite amazing in the end.
This already is looking gorgeous. This image would probably make Dave Sim jealous. There still remained the task of adding in black and doing the lines over with black India ink. However, this post is already running long. It will have to wait until tomorrow.