Staring into the Blizzard, what a challenge this one was for me! As often is the case, I had the opportunity to read this story before the final edit was complete to get a feel for what I may need to do.
It didn’t take long to form the picture in my minds-eye. Now, some may not have taken the approach that I did, forming snowflakes out of musical elements (if you look at this cover enlarged you’ll see each snowflake is musical), but after having the opportunity to interact with the author himself I found what I had as my vision went along with what he had in his mind as well. In fact, I actually had to send him a screen shot of my computer screen for him to believe I was already doing what he had in mind and not merely humoring him. This isn’t something I typically do. Most of the time I will come up with a concept and not share the work in progress as all art work goes through it’s ugly phases; sometimes I even have to force myself to keep going until the vision begins to gel. You should have seen the publisher’s expression when I first explained my concept for The Hedgerows of June…that was priceless! “You want to put what on the cover?!”. I had to assure her it would work…personally, I’m really happy with it too.
As far as Blizzard goes I suppose I could have gone with a photograph for this cover but it just didn’t feel right. I did toy around with shots of different guitars, drum sets, and pianos but I was never happy; they just didn’t speak to me. Once I began creating snowflakes and designing the “blizzard” I knew I had it pay-dirt for this cover.
Sure, once again it was all line-art and let me tell you it took me a lot of time to create all those individual snowflakes! Yikes! But, I could feel it falling together. Then, since I had previously interacted with the author himself I worked to include a few things he had asked for and that would be the drug paraphernalia on the cover….all of which had to be drawn; it is part of the story…but I’m still not telling the story on the cover, just giving elements.
Speaking of drawing items, the guitar was a key component as well. I had always planned to have a guitar somewhere on the cover and it became the perfect tool for me to use to add a splash of color; flames on the guitar! Perfect for a touch of pop!
I would liked to have been able to include a couple of the other items the author suggested but sometimes it’s just not possible. When that happens I do try to either explain or show how it won’t work; at least then the author knows it’s not that I just don’t want to do it. This time, the challenge was trying to work in a piano. As you can see there is no piano on this cover, it simply never fit well. When I did have one on the cover it threw the whole composition off, I finally had to ditch that idea and go with the drum set. Once I did that the flow of the cover was much easier to view.
Blizzard has many components from the story as elements on the cover so you get a feel that yes, it has to do with music and yeah…there’s drugs involved as well, but there’s no literal interpretation of the band Literal Magic, there’s no band name on the drums….and that’s entirely intentional, read the book…bet you will be able to figure out why I did that.
That’s it, that’s how this cover came to be. As always thoughts or comments are always welcome.