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Hellfire & Damnation III

March 2, 2015

hellfireanddamnation3hellfire and damnation

Here’s my cover art for Hellfire & Damnation III, a collection of short stories by Connie Corcoran Wilson themed around Dante’s Inferno and the 9 Circles of Hell.  It’s the follow-up to 2012’s Hellfire & Damnation II, which I also did the cover for, and is available now in paper and kindle formats.

Shadows Over Main Street

February 22, 2015

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Here’s an interior illustration I did for Shadows Over Main Street: An Anthology of Small-Town Lovecraftian Terror.  The anthology features twenty stories and poems and includes a foreword by Ramsey Campbell, as well as artwork by various illustrators.  It’s published by Hazardous Press and is available now in ebook and paperback editions.

The Shining Auction for Haven Foundation Fundraiser

February 10, 2015

Following on from last week’s post about the remarqued copy of Doctor Sleep up for auction for the 2015 Haven Foundation Fundraiser (which has now been sold), another book I’ve remarqued has just been put up for auction for the fundraiser on ebay.  This time it’s for the Subterranean Press Gift Edition of The Shining, including the limited chapbook of sketches I did for it, which is also remarqued.  There are already a number of bids and bidders and the auction ends on Monday so be sure to check it out here.

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2015 Haven Foundation Fundraiser

February 3, 2015

Stephen King fan site, TheDarkTower.org, have started their 2015 Haven Foundation Fundraiser.  Up for auction on ebay is a US Trade 1st edition of Stephen King’s Doctor Sleep, featuring sketches by both me and fellow artist Erin Wells (who provided interior illustrations for the Cemetery Dance edition).  You can check out the auction (with photos of the book and sketches) here.

The Haven Foundation was originally founded by Stephen King, and is a national, non-profit organization making grants to freelance writers and artists experiencing career-threatening illness, accident, natural disaster or other emergency or personal catastrophe.

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Blue World

January 29, 2015

As promised, here’s the cover art for Blue World.

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something passed by

This is an expanded edition of McCammon’s classic short story collection including three newer, previously uncollected stories.  It will be available in both limited and trade paperback editions.  Exclusive to the limited edition are a few interior illustrations I did; you can see a couple of them below.

doom city

night calls the green falcon

Subterranean Press are offering a special trade paperback set featuring Blue World, They Thirst and The Hunter from the Woods, each signed by the author.  This special offer is only limited to 350 sets.

Robert McCammon Trade Paperbacks – They Thirst

January 23, 2015

Subterranean Press are planning to start releasing trade paperback editions of Robert McCammon’s novels this year.  I’ve been working on a couple of covers for these; here’s the first one, for his vampire novel, They Thirst.

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Initially I proposed showing a vampire on the cover (see sketches below) but the publisher wanted to go in a different direction and wanted me to do something with the castle instead, partly because there are already a lot of vampire covers out there, including earlier editions of this novel, and also because they wanted to highlight the epic feel of the book, which a close-up of a vampire might not get across as well.

they thirst rough

As Subterranean Press are intending to release a number of McCammon trade paperbacks they wanted me to give the cover design a ‘branded’ look that can be carried forwards to other books.  They also wanted the author’s name and title to appear prominently at the top and bottom of the cover respectively, similar to the McCammon paperbacks of the 80s/90s.  So I had to take all this into account when designing the image and type layout.

I’ll post the cover I did for Blue World, which will also be released as one of these trade paperbacks, next week.

Unused Artwork

January 16, 2015

Occasionally artwork gets commissioned that doesn’t end up being used; sometimes projects fall through or the client decides to go in a completely different direction with the cover design.  So here are a few pieces I created over the years that ultimately weren’t used.

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Cuckoo Song – Illustration Process

January 7, 2015

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Here is my cover art for the US edition of Francis Hardinge’s creepy YA novel, Cuckoo Song, which was originally published in the UK last year.

The original brief was to create a creepy-looking cover reflecting the tone of the book, featuring a battered old doll, maybe missing chunks of hair and perhaps limbs and with a big crack down her head, inspired by one that appears in part of the story.  Art director, Maria Middleton also suggested that it might be cool if the cover type appeared in the cracked plaster of the wall behind the doll.  You can see how I played around with these elements in my initial roughs.

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The feedback was that they liked the creepiness of the sketches but there was concern that showing the doll’s body would make the book seem too young.  So, to counter that, it was proposed that we should zoom in on the doll’s head and have that be the focus, like in the sketch I did with the disembodied head.  Maria also liked the idea of making it a little more graphic, similar to my Even the Dead Die image, and although she loved the idea of the type in the cracked wall, she thought perhaps there should be just black space around the doll for the type, making it less of a ‘scene’ and focusing more on this scary doll’s head.  She’d also seen some pictures of creepy porcelain dolls which had painted-on hair that she’d liked the look of, and although it wasn’t totally in line with the text, thought it might be cool visually.  Another small design idea the editor suggested was to have the doll look as though it had been buried so it would look dirty and have a few twigs and leaves near it.

I suggested using a muted colour palette for the doll but with the eyes a bright green, giving it a striking and unnerving quality.  They liked this idea, and wanted to keep it in mind for the final art.  Here’s the next set of roughs I did based on the feedback.

cuckoo song roughs

They loved the first sketch and the idea of having painted-on hair, and wanted to go in that direction.  Maria sent me a quick mock-up of how she envisioned the cover design might work with the doll’s head. Screen shot 2014-05-22 at 4.49.47 PM

The editor also wanted to stress that the doll should look like something that was once beautiful but has since become disfigured and dirty.  Before proceeding with the final art Maria wanted me to do a tighter sketch that she could take back to a cover meeting to make sure everyone was on board with the concept and also to make sure that sales/marketing were clear that this would not be a picture book about a doll but a scary novel cover that would be rendered with a high degree of realism.

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I was given the OK to proceed with the final art based on the final sketch above, with a little more feedback to keep in mind.  Editorial wanted the feel of the image to be more eerie than horror.  Also they wanted the doll to be simplified a bit more, making sure that it looked like a beautiful, delicate, luminous porcelain doll with just one or two flaws (so there are minimal stains and the ‘spider-web’ cracks are more subtle) and only one main crack down the eye, so that it would still get across the creepiness without pushing it too far into horror.  They wanted the cover image and type to convey a delicate, beautiful, eerie vibe rather than being too creepy (which was slightly different to the original brief which was to make a more straight out creepy-looking image) as they didn’t want the cover to completely freak kids out!

Print Sale – Final Reminder

December 29, 2014

Just a final reminder that the Limited Edition Prints Sale ends on December 31st, so you only have a couple more days to get any last minute orders in and take advantage of the 25% off on all limited edition prints.

living with the dead

Operation Santa

December 22, 2014

Wishing you all a wonderful holiday season and a very Happy New Year!

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