Here’s my front and back cover artwork for the novella, My Name is Mary Sutherland by Kate Farrell, which was launched recently at FantasyCon as part of the PS Publishing launch.
Kate and I bounced various ideas back and forth for the cover. The final idea we settled on for the front cover was something Kate came up with and was inspired by a short film script she wrote a while back of this story, in which the opening titles show Mary writing her name in her breath on a mirror (which is actually a two-way mirror in an interview room) and then in the final credits it cuts back to the mirror and the letters have run. I thought that this would make for a cool cover image and liked how the title would be completely incorporated into the artwork this way. Furthermore, as it was going to be a wraparound cover I realized that this idea was perfect to do something interesting with for the back cover, and suggested that the image on the back should be of the other side of the mirror where a couple of shadowy figures are observing Mary. So in effect, it’s as though we’re looking through the book.
Below is the endpaper art. I had the idea early on of using scrabble tiles (you’ll have to read the novella to see how this links in to the story!) either spelling out various keywords relating to the story or words that the main character Mary ‘collects’ as her hobby. Kate loved the idea of the scrabble tiles, and later on suggested spelling out the characters’ names rather than various words. I also had the idea of adding a few blood stains on some of the tiles to give it more of an ominous feel and it was actually Nicky Crowther’s (from PS Publishing) suggestion to just have the blood stains in colour and the rest of the image in black and white.
As you can see it was a very collaborative process and it was a pleasure working with both Kate and Nicky on this.
You can see all the rough sketches I did for this project over at Lilja’s Library here.
This is the cover art for the Polish edition of Stephen King’s latest novel, Revival, which will be out later this year.
I actually ended up doing two completely different images for this cover. When doing the covers of King’s new novels for Prószyński, they have to keep the manuscript under wraps and they are not able to send me the book to read in advance. Instead they send me a synopsis and a list of recurring motifs and possible imagery that may be suitable for the cover art, for me to work from. So I have to very much rely on the editor’s guidance when coming up with ideas for the cover. For this book, out of the things they originally suggested, I thought the image of the minister character with lightning in the background, could make for a good cover image. The editor agreed and my roughs for this idea were approved and I went ahead with the final art. The publisher approved the finished image but when they sent it to King’s agent for approval, unfortunately he had a problem with using the minister on the cover – one of his reasons being that he thought it might be misleading in how it represents this character, which evolves through the story. Although the publisher disagreed with this judgement we had to come up with another image for the cover.
The editor next suggested doing something which was more of a landscape piece (that would still be dark and atmospheric) rather than something character focused. At first she suggested having a church as the central focal point in the landscape. However, after doing the sketch the publisher had another meeting and the sales department rejected the ‘church idea’ as they thought it may be problematic in their Catholic country. So the editor came back with another suggestion of depicting the iron pole on top of a granite outcrop, being struck by lightning, which appears in the novel. There was some discussion as to whether we should have just the pole itself, or add a small shadowy figure with arms raised next to the pole as well, or even, having the figure but no pole. I created the image with both the pole and figure but also prepared a version with only the pole for them to send to the agent for approval. Luckily this time the agent approved the version with both the pole and figure straight away.
Here’s the original image I created of the minister.
And here’s a couple of earlier alternative versions of this image I’d also tried before we changed direction completely.
I will be at the launch of The Spectral Book of Horror Stories which takes place at 12 noon this Saturday at FantasyCon 2014 at the Royal York Hotel in York. About half of the contributors will be present for the signing so if you’re attending FantasyCon, do pop along!
The Spectral Book of Horror Stories is published by Spectral Press and is edited by Mark Morris.
Here’s some more interior art from another of Robert McCammon’s Matthew Corbett books, this time from the limited edition of The Queen of Bedlam, which is out now.
Here’s the colour art that appears in the The River of Souls limited and lettered editions only, which was out a while ago.
Interior art for the main novel:
Interior art for the bonus story The Scorpion’s Eye, exclusive to the limited and lettered editions:
Here is a private commission I did to illustrate a short poem. The overall concept for the image came from the client, including the idea to have the image in black and white except for the stuffing in pink.
Kept from going to the carnival with her sisters was Sandy,
A child who’d never know the joys of funnel cakes or cotton candy.
Disfigured was her face from the acid thrown by mommy one day,
Hidden away so the town wouldn’t find out was the game Mrs.Walsh did play.
And there wasn’t much to do but stay bundled in the attic’s cold air,
So one night she decided to make her own treat from an old teddy bear.
A few months ago I posted the cover and a few interiors from The Prisoner of Heaven by Carlos Ruiz Zafón. The book’s now out, so here are the rest of the interiors.
And here’s the other four small duotone images used on the section divider pages.
As with the previous two books in this series, I created a ‘hidden’ image for the reverse of the dust jacket. The last two were of covers for books mentioned in the stories; this time was slightly different as it was of the inscribed title page of The Count of Monte Cristo, which appears in the story.
Earlier this year Subterranean Press asked me to produce an extra piece of artwork for The Shining to be used on a wraparound dust jacket that would be sent out exclusively to those who had purchased the Limited Edition.
It was fun to get to revisit The Shining and create this extra image for it. I thought it would be cool to make use of the fact that this would be a wraparound dust jacket and came up with the idea for an image which would have Jack chasing Danny down the corridors, in a way so that you would only see Jack on the front of the book, and Danny on the back.
Spectral Press are launching a brand new horror anthology series this year. Edited by Mark Morris, The Spectral Book of Horror Stories is inspired by popular anthologies of the 1960s and 70s, such as the Pan and Fontana books of horror stories. This first volume will feature 19 all-original stories by renowned authors in the genre such as Ramsey Campbell and Michael Marshall Smith.
Above is my final cover for this. The brief was to come up with an image and design that captured the spirit of the old Pan Book of Horror Stories/Fontana Book of Great Horror Stories, but had a contemporary feel and that would establish an identity for this new anthology series in its own right. I proposed a few different ideas for potential images but this ‘kids in masks’ idea was the favourite – I liked the idea of playing around with traditional horror iconography such as skulls and tentacled monsters etc and combining them in a single image as disturbing masks on creepy children… Below are roughs for potential compositions for this idea.
The Spectral Book of Horror Stories will be out in September and will be launched at the 2014 FantasyCon in York (5-7 September) with a mass signing session.