I'm working with an idea for the cover today and this will set the tone for the rest of the book. I want to give it special attention. Is there anything I should consider before I jump in and start drawing
Looking at the "Big Picture" first:
It occurs to me that this cover needs to be designed with the other 6 Tiny books in mind since this is a series and the books will be seen together when the publisher is advertising them. And I don't want to create a cover that is unlike the flavor of the other 6...because it would be an "oddball" that wouldn't feel like it fits with the others.
They all need to be their own cover, yet feel like they are on the same team.
(click on picture below to see it larger)
Brainstorming and decision making:
So I get the covers of the other 6 books out and look at them together.
I notice that I have created 2 kinds of covers....a cover that uses a scene that has things in it that have to do with the story (Tiny Goes Camping has a tent and sleeping bag on grass with Tiny and the boy).
The other kind I have created has a closeup of Tiny, the boy and the bird.
I count how many of each kind....and "scenes" have 4 and "closeups" have 2.
Personally, I like closeups because they are endearing and fun...sort of like the end of Porky the Pig cartoons where he is in the circle saying, "d-ah-d-ah-d-ah, dats all folks!". I decide to go with a closeup.
I only have one book that has the use of circle (I used an oval shape with the book Tiny the Snowdog)....so I decide it could be a good gamble to use this book cover with the same feel so that there would be two this way.
The Traditional part: Sketching
I make my drawing using a China Marker (black crayon) on copier paper not looking at any other tiny pictures...just out of my memory and I put the party hat on him. I'm just wanting to center in on Tiny at this point even though I know I will bring the boy and bird into the cover picture later on since they are the book's secondary stars....Tiny is the "STAR" of every book!
Beginning to Design with the Drawing using the Computer:
I scan the new drawing into my computer...bring it into a program called Photoshop (I'm using CS3 right now eventhough I will be upgrading to CS5.5 this week). I take the Tiny the Snowdog cover and cut out it's existing art and insert the drawing. This is all the "designing" part of being an artist...presenting your picture the best you possibly can in order to make the project's intent happen. This project's intent is to show Tiny is having a birthday which is a happy, fun time of celebration.
I take out the snowflakes and put in confetti and rearrange the words so that they read well in the upper space like the other 6 books do (remember, I'm trying to make it look similar to the others...kind of like a family of 6 kids that all look similar and now the family is having a 7th child! He needs to look similar as well.). At the end, I go ahead and quickly sketch in the boy and the bird with Tiny and change Tiny's eyes to be looking at the boy instead up at his hat.
(see top picture for the visual progress I have written about)
Evaluating today's work:
Well... I like what I've come up with today as a possible cover idea. I think it accomplishes the visual needs of this book and goes well with the other 6 in the series....but, it may change as I go along if I see something else could pictorially say what the book is about better. I'll just keep the door open in my mind just in case. Or, the publisher may want it changed for marketing reasons I know nothing about. For now, I can move on to the inside of the book now that I'm getting a better feel for this big birthday dog named Tiny!