Monday, January 25, 2016

Braxton Woods Mystique Cover Development: Part 3

This is the third and final post about the creation of the cover art for my upcoming upper middle grade novel, Braxton Woods Mystique. The novel will be released in spring, 2016. Return to this blog in the future for an exact release date. Read the first post in this series here and the second post here

final cover by Robyn Diaz
As soon as sketches began to arrive in my inbox from Robyn Diaz, I was instantly pleased and knew in my gut that the pairing was a good one. Robyn was already familiar with my idea for a buried carnival and how kids would discover the unknown, which was mixed with fantastical elements, darkness, and unseen forces at work. Even years earlier, when the buried carnival idea first came to me, Robyn and I had discussed a children's picture book—one that Robyn would illustrate. That project got away from us, and I decided to complicate the idea by turning it into a novel. It would be almost three full years before I'd finish the manuscript, find a agent, and have it placed with a publisher. Joining forces again with Robyn on the artwork for this project was entirely meant to be. 

I showed Robyn my many cover designs, as well as my sketches, and asked if she could keep the four main characters on the cover, along with a few elements from the story. Robyn loved the idea and got to work straight away, making sketches for me to look over. 

My sketch on the left and Robyn's sketch on the right
My sketch on the left and Robyn's sketch on the right

After Robyn had interpreted my sketches—and moved past my limited compositions—she started to produce fresh ideas and compositions of her own. This is the point at which she took the cover in a direction I'd never been able to do myself. The sketches were way beyond any composition I'd be able to come up with, and I knew that Robyn had cracked the cover conundrum and landed on some incredibly dynamic ideas.


Once we decided on one of her sketches as a jumping point, she then moved to color and wowed me beyond anything I'd imagined in my own head. As time went on, I was continually blown away each and every time Robyn would email me an idea, picture element, or work-in-progress during the cover process.

I feel blessed to have such a great cover for my first published novel. Robyn has a gift for drawing, painting, composition, coloring, and that extra special something that can't be taught—combining it all together into a beautiful piece of art that continues to draw the eye in. The anticipation of seeing her art on the cover of my novel has easily eclipsed my anticipation of getting to finally see my own words in print. 

Below are a few more images of the cover in progress. Robyn already has a children's picture book out—Philo & Sophy. You can purchase that here. You can check out more of her amazing art at her website here