I’m a very visually oriented person. If writing is my true love, drawing might have been my first love. I wasn’t going hire someone else to design a cover for me. The old saying goes “don’t judge a book by its cover.” But that is absolutely what every reader does. Drawing a cover is no simple task. A cover has to capture the spirit of the book, while being visually appealing enough to entice the reader to check it out.
I had to consider quite a few factors when I began drawing.The Superhero’s Log is a genre called YA fiction. It is aimed at a younger to teenaged audience. I wanted it to have a youthful appeal. At the same time I wanted the image to evoke the feel of a comic book cover. I briefly toyed with the idea of emulating famous comic book covers. Superman holding up a car on the cover of Action Comics #1 or Spider-man swinging on Amazing Fantasy # 15 were prime candidates. I feel that both are the quintessential comic covers. Hell, they’re icons. They are so well known that emulating them would be cliche.
I briefly looked at comic covers for the Marvel series Power Pack, which was about a group of siblings that get powers. The cast of that series were as young as my characters, as I started to draw samples and rough drafts I found the image too busy. I needed it to be eye catching, simple, and elemental.
Thats when I thought to look at the arguably the biggest young adult franchise of all. When trying to grab the interest of a young audience, I could do a lot worse than looking to Harry Potter for guidance. I particularly liked the covers painted by Mary GrandPré. The muted colors made the bolder ones pop out. The other factor that I chose to borrow was the wrap around image. The front and back cover turn the whole book into a work of art. Elements of what felt too busy a front cover along could be turned into a whole image on both front and back.
I drew the characters and background separately in a sketch pad, scanned them and inked and colored them in photoshop using my wacom tablet. The nice thing rendering handdrawn pictures in photoshop is that it has the organic flow of the pen and paper as well as precision and versatility of computer generated artwork. To finish it all off I put a little box with a logo in it in the top left corner reading Issue # 1 the way a marvel or dc comic might.
All and all I’m happy with the result. Maybe the sequel will have images inside the book as well…
The Superhero’s Log: The Origins of Liquid Silver is available for print and download on Amazon.