Cover illustration for a book in progress

About two months ago I received a rather unusual request to create an illustration for a book that was not finished yet and didn’t have a title. All I had to go by was a short foreword and a few more details from the author. The interpretation and medium was left up to me. On one hand, it was very enticing to have that much creative freedom, on the other, it was as reassuring as walking through a thick fog. The temptation prevailed.

To make myself feel a little better, I sent the author a rough sketch of what I had in mind, and to my surprise she enthusiastically approved it. Since I didn’t know which parts of the storyline are going to be the most prominent in the book, I went with the main theme of an abrupt change from a farm teen to raising the son on her own in a city. The shadow in the illustration is the girl’s son in the end of the book, grown up and capable of supporting herself, her concern for years and a final reward. Today I turned the illustration to to the author. Thankfully, she loved the finished work which made me happy. She is till working on the book, hopefully the illustration will give her an extra creativity nudge.

Cover illustration for a book cover

colored pencil on drawing paper, 9″ x 12″

5 Replies to “Cover illustration for a book in progress”

  1. Nava Attia- Benoit via Facebook says: Reply

    Very expressive! I like the subtle transformation from the cheery green farm to the more serious city colors.

    Funny that the illustration is done before the book is complete. Would be interesting how your artwork might influence the writer, now that her heroine has a face.

  2. Her face turned out very different from the sketch I’ve sent to the author. I was a bit concerned about that, but the new look didn’t rise any objections 🙂

    Interesting, I was not thinking about city colors, more like “fun is over, here comes real life stuff.”

  3. wow yelena!! i LOVE it!!! please let me know when the book is released because i must have it w/your art in it!!!

  4. Yelena, I love the shading. It’s soft and mysterious. Your such a good artist! 🙂

  5. Kat, I think it’s going to be a while until the book is even finished 🙂 Glad you liked it, I am not entirely happy with how it turned out, but as long as the client is happy it’s ok.

    Chris, thank you. I started with rather harsh contrast, and it quickly proved to be a bad choice. Gave the whole piece a soapy dramatic feel. Not what I was after 🙂 Luckily, colored pencil can be lightened and softened a lot.

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