'a HARPER collection' - New Cover Art
Since announcing "a HARPER collection: Volume One", I've been working on cover art for the other two books I'll be releasing before the year is out. Seeing as they were both rather more complex than what I had on the collection, they made it look incredibly bad when compared. Now, my initial thought with the sketch cover was that it would be kind of a nice nod to the fact that the stories within were sort of the sketches of the universe... and I'm realizing as I type that just how stupid it sounds.
Thankfully, I had a moment of clarity and decided to go ahead and make a brand new illustration for the collection. I based the new picture on the sketch, but refined the idea a bit, tinkering with character placement and the like before I was finally satisfied.
Now, without further ado, here is the new cover art! More talking below!
Objectively, this is much better, and I'm happy I decided to bite the bullet and take the time to do it. Now, the version above will be standard for both the Kindle edition and (eventually) the print. However, as an added incentive to buy the print version upon release, it will have a special 'Noir' variant that will only ever be available from release day until the first week of June, meaning if you don't get it then, you won't.
Here's a quick look at that:
And now for a quick rundown of the creation! Seeing as each character was drawn on their own, then compiled, I've gone ahead and made composites of the layers as the group image. First off, I started with a rough, blue sketch (Elizabeth's blue sketch was accidentally merged with the red layer while I was cleaning up, so I had to copy/paste what of it was still visible here). From there, I refined certain details and did a more accurate red sketch on top of it.
Next, I went ahead and did the final line work.
Once I had that, I was able to move on to the flat colors, which I based on the colors from the original cover. Then it was time to do the shading work. I'm a big Anime fan, so I like doing my shading like old Anime shows with distinct shades and the like. Maryanne in the background, however, is shaded the way she is as a tribute to Mich Rock's legendary "Queen II" cover art (which was later replicated in the "Bohemian Rhapsody" video).
After I had all of the main work done, I just had to do my background gradients and light effects for the standard version. I then ran that final image through a few aging and noir filters until I had the coveted film noir look.
Both covers will be included in the Kindle file, with the standard being the associated cover on the product page and within, and the 'Noir' version appearing as a full page image. As for the print edition, once June rolls around, the color version will replace the 'Noir' version, and probably forever. Meaning, again, if you don't get it in those first few weeks, you likely never will!
Moreover, since it turns out I won't be able to set up a pre-order for the print edition like I'd thought, I've decided to release it a week before the Kindle version. So, instead of May 25th, it'll be launching on May 18th! As for the Kindle edition, definitely take advantage of the special pre-order price of $1.99 while it lasts, because it too will change before June rolls around (to its regular price of $2.99)!
And I do believe that is it out of me. I have two more books coming in the second half of the year (a novella and a novel), and I have to get back to finishing them! There's always more work to be done, after all, and I'm only just getting started. So, for now, I hope you've enjoyed this little look at how I produced the new cover art, and I hope you enjoy reading the book when it comes out later in the month! One of the exclusive stories is a particular favorite of mine, and I'm excited to finally be getting it out.
Keep your eyes peeled...