Ok guys, time’s up for some serious illustration talk.

Three months ago, I was commissionned by Kelly Thompson from 1979semifinalist  to create a cover for a book she was planning to promote with kickstarter.

The name of the book is “The Girl Who Would Be King”.

That’s the occasion to write a bit about the creation of a cover illustration.

When I work on a cover, there are a few thing that I try to never forget.

1 : The main thing is to never forget who you’re talking to. You can be the best painter in the world, it really isn’t what’s important. What’s important is the book and as the first thing the reader gets to see it’s vital to be calling for the right audience.

You do not compose or draw the same picture for a 10 year old or for an adult for exemple.

2 : A book cover has to be easy to read.  It has to have a good balance between positive and negative space. Start with little thumbnails. Easy to see in small size if a picture is still talking.

3 : You can do no wrong if you follow basic rules of composition. Once again you are not drawing a picture in a frame. It’s a whole. The frame IS a part of the illustration. I usually paint cover art using diagonals or the center of the picture to buid the image. I also use the rule of 1/3 , 2/3.

Here’s an exemple of the basic lines you can use to build a strong picture. The pink highlights are the parts where the eyes are naturally attracted if you use them well.

With all that in mind I read the whole book. It’s a personnal preference, but I want to feel the story.  I usually try to draw this feeling rather than a scene.

In that particular case the main subject was the duality and it was very important for me to turn around this concept. There was also this kind of awkward proximity Bonnie and Lola share even if they’re totally different and they live in the opposite corners of USA.

Read the rest of the process on the special Girl who would be king website

Voilà : sorry if my english is so bad, but believe me, it was most certainly as hard for me to write it than for you to read it. Hope you found it interesting nevertheless.

Do not forget to support Kelly.

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