Working on the cover for Kendra Kandlestar 5 (part 1)

There are a lot of things I have loved about working on the Kendra Kandlestar series. There’s the characters, the world, and all of the magical aspects of the adventures. And, when I think of those things, I think not only of the words I have created to bring those things to life, but the pictures, too.

One thing I have found the most challenging, however, is working on the covers. I help so many students work on the covers for their books, but I find it hard to see the forest for the trees when it comes to my own projects!

As is usual, the journey to get to a final cover for the last book in my series, has been a difficult one. I thought I would do a series of blog posts to show the progression of ideas.

I usually have an idea for a cover early on in a the process of a book, but in this case I left it for a long time. One reason is that just writing the book was consuming all of my energy. The other reason was that I had a dearth of ideas, and so I think I was just playing the procrastination game.

But the time eventually came where I couldn’t delay any longer. SO, working with the art director and publisher at Simply Read Books, I began generating ideas.

Because The Search for Arazeen is the final in the series, my initial instinct was to capture a moment from the dramatic climax of the book. Here is the sketch I thought would work for the cover:


It’s important to note that we already had a cover design established, the same one (a template, if you will) used for the rest of the series. So the illustration had to work within the boundaries of that layout. For the purposes of design and gauging the illustrations I was working on, we took the template and just neutralized it, sucking out all the colors and just using a black-and-gray version.

Here’s the that template with an inked version of the above illustration:

Search for Arazeen - Cover - b&w.indd

I found it just too busy. I wanted more focus on Kendra so thought maybe I should have her looking outward, confronting us. But that didn’t seem to work either:

Search for Arazeen - Cover - b&w.indd

So, now what?

It was back to the drawing board . . . literally! I’ll show some of my more illustrations in this process in my next blog post.





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