Our focus as of late has been sharing with you what lies between the covers of Beautiful Scars. Since our baby’s now a whole week old (goodness!), I think it’s time to take a look at what’s OUTSIDE the book. After all, it’s the face that the world sees first!
They say you can’t judge a book by its cover, but Durwin and I are both pretty big design/illustration snobs. We have both been known to gravitate towards a book in the store just because of a fantastic font, snappy color palette, or cool spot UV. Once we actually pick it up and look it over, sometimes that pretty face doesn’t have anything underneath it. But, it always makes us look. And when you’re competing for attention in a crowded bookstore, that’s exactly what you want.
Durwin has a lot of experience designing and illustrating some outstanding covers (just take a look at the gallery and see how awesome he can be). His Officer Down series is exceptionally beautiful. (I’m bragging on him because he absolutely would not do it himself!) So, when it came time to illustrate the main image for the cover, Durwin took the lead. We wanted a fairy-tale vibe, in the tradition of the Golden Age illustrators. We’re both hugely influenced by people like Howard Pyle, Jessie Wilcox Smith, Kay Nielsen, and NC Wyeth. We took our inspiration from a fantastic Harper’s Bazaar cover – it perfectly encapsulated what we wanted to reference.
The cover is from 1916, just about the right era for our man Ridley, so it was great material to be inspired by. This piece is incredibly lyrical, with a great sense of scale and playfulness. Just what was needed. And this is what came out!
Of course, we wanted to be inspired, not flat-out copy what was happening, but definitely you can see bits of the original make its way into this version. The cover needed to express a beginning, a sense of advenure about to begin, so cherry blossom branches in the spring are a perfect symbol for that. Ridley and Maddie stand gazing onto both the real world, and Maddie’s imagined world beyond it. It’s hard to tell where one stops and one begins – and that’s just perfect, as one story line flows right into the other as you read through the book.
This version is what many people saw for many years while we were finishing up the book and it was still an ethereal dream. We were lucky to work with phenomenal designers to give us an even better design, which frames the cover and still has that great fairytale feeling that we were hoping to achieve. So, this is what you see when you walk into your local comic book store:
Oh, but one cover was not good enough for us. NOT BY A LONG SHOT. Durwin and I have pretty different styles when it comes to illustration. These two styles merge together to create something pretty great, which you can see in the interior pages. But, we’re both proud of the work we do on our own, as well. So, since the front cover is primarily Durwin, we decided that I should do an image for the back cover in my style, as well. And that’s right here!
I think it makes a great ending to the book, with the fantasy characters flying off to even more adventures. (Although, the image is flipped on the printed cover! It works better, as they’re flying to the right instead.) It’s a good companion piece to the front, which features our real-world characters. Together, they encapsulate what makes our individual styles great, while the interiors show off what teamwork can do. Go team!