Monday, November 15, 2010

The cover art process

I contracted Igor Kieryluk to do the color cover art for my full-length novel Dead Dwarves Don’t Dance. Igor is a very professional artist and is very easy to work with. He charged me $400 for the finished piece, which I found to be very, very reasonable for the quality he produced.
Here is the process that I went through with Igor to get the finished cover art.

Agree on a price. At Igor’s request, I also drafted up an artist’s agreement so that he could keep it for his tax records. This agreement included the delivery date, licensing and use, price, basic description, and other details about the cover art.

I sent Igor my ideas for the cover. Here is what I sent:

Here’s the cover image I’m thinking about. I'm very open to any suggestions you might have to improve the cover design.

Background: Futuristic, cyberpunkish city skyline with a looming skyscraper (the Peerless Tower) that is far taller than any others. Some blimps and skycars flying over the city, neon signs, video signs, etc., whatever you think looks good.

Foreground: a tough, stocky, beardless, genetically engineered dwarf assassin in an overcoat and Fedora (or some other cool hat), smoking a short cigar, with a heavy pistol in his right hand. Despite being only 4.5 feet (1.4 meters) tall, he should look imposing/threatening.

Mid ground: The dwarf should be shadowing a trio of terrorists through the streets.

     A hulking genetically engineered thug, white hair, older, but still dangerous (over 2 meters tall).

     A very skinny, drug-addicted woman with no ears (they were cut off long ago), she also has neon rings implanted in her eyes. She was genetically engineered as a pleasure slave, but has become a mercenary/terrorist and is suffering from complications of her genetic engineering, including insanity and physical health problems.

     A rugged, muscular man.

I’ll need space at the top and/or bottom for the title and author name.

Igor sent me the following mockup for review. This image was for composition only.

I provided a bunch of feedback for this image, including the following:

The foreground character is a bit plain, with all that coat. I asked Igor to pull the gun out and break up all that coat.

Add a subdermal glowprint to the foreground character's neck.

Make the foreground character stockier, wider.

Make the three midground characters look like they are on the run.

Change club name to Stiltzkin's.

Igor sent the following revision.

I provided the following feedback:

The foreground character still looks too tall. Make him shorter.

Add a few bystanders on the overpass.

Igor sent the following interim image.

I asked that he add a police skycar.

Igor sent the following final image.

And there you have it. Igor was very amenable to all my requests. The final cover art is great!

1 comment:

  1. Great post, Derek!

    Seeing an image grow from concept to finished product is really interesting. And it is a great looking cover!