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The Epic Crush of Genie Lo – Cover Design Process

June 9, 2017

Above is my cover art for the YA fantasy book, The Epic Crush of Genie Lo, by F. C. Yee for Abrams Books.  This one underwent quite a lot of development.  When Abrams approached me about this project, they already had finished cover art, but at the last minute that they decided they wanted to go in a different direction with it and wanted a new image.

The art director wanted to see sketches for three concepts; she sent me her quck roughs (which you can see below) for two ideas that I was to re-conceptualize in my own way, and also wanted me to come up with a third idea that incorporated the entire girl, silhouetted, and destroying the type.

And here are my roughs…

The team decided they wanted to go with the third approach and wanted me to develop it further.  They wanted to see some different options for the title type, something more modern-looking and less blocky, and to try some Chinese deco elements within the type itself.  For the figure, even though it was to be mostly in silhouette they wanted it to look like she was wearing a traditional private school uniform and they wanted a more subtle glow around her rather than the glowing ball of light with lightning surrounding her that I’d suggested in my sketch.

From here I proceeded onto the final art.  We’d discussed colour options and decided on a dark red background growing to a brighter more powerful red at the top with an orange glow emitting trhough the ‘Genie Lo’ type.  Here’s the original version I produced.

The art directors felt it needed some extra oomph and suggested adding some flat shapes and additional colour that would keep to the vibe of the image but brighten and freshen it up.  They also requested more cracks going through ‘Epic Crush’.  Here are different options I tried.

As you can see, it was also decided that ‘Of Genie Lo’ should be straight-on instead of in perspective as Sales was worried about the hierarchy of the type and that people would only read ‘Epic Crush’.  We were all set to go with the ‘glow’ version but after a meeting with the book buyers, where the cover was previewed, they wanted the image rejigged quite a bit – they wanted the figure to be much larger and more prominent on the cover, similar to some other titles that had been selling well; although we’d intended the figure to be silhouetted all along, it was now decided that she should be more rendered, with extra clothing detail so it’s clear she’s wearing a school-girl outfit; instead of the flame shapes they wanted to see a ‘power energy ball/lightning’ around the figure (ironically, like in my original sketch) as well as an extra power glow around her left fist; they wanted to see a different blue/turquoise colour option.

After a few more tweaks, including removing the patteren elements from the ‘Epic Crush’ type, the cover was approved.  Here’s the full final cover design again.

The Epic Crush of Genie Lo will be published on August 8th this year, available in hardback and ebook formats.

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