Here are two cover sketches I did, representing my two ideas for the IDYLL Book 1 cover.
Cover Sketch 1:
This was my initial concept, the idea that I had in my head for most of the time that I was writing. Four riders in the distance, climbing a ridge that eventually resolves itself into the silhouette of a sleeping woman (Alma Starboard) under a shroud.
The pros: I liked the idea of this being a soft, dream-like cover, which might help set up the idea the Starboards and the Bridges eventually begin to question their own reality.
The cons: It’s not super-dynamic, and it doesn’t give you much of a sense of the protagonists.
Then there’s Alma. Would the viewer realize she’s there? Is she sleeping or is she dead? Plus, Alma’s profile and the shroud merging with a grassy landscape would have been a serious pain to Photoshop, and make it look right. I’m still not sure that most people see the upside-down blue face in the cover of Line of Descent, in the half-a-second that they might spend looking at it. I didn’t want to create the same issue for myself again with this cover.
Cover Sketch 2:
So I tried to make something more ‘in-your-face.’ I started off with the four travelers standing together, holding whatever, looking tough, directly into the ‘camera.’ But I decided it made more sense, and would add more action, if they were on horses. The idea was always to have Samuel in the front. I felt like I needed to imply there was a primary protagonist to the book, even if some readers would decide Walt and Sam are co-protagonists.
The terrain in this sketch is far more rugged than the final art. But you have to work with what Photoshop gives you.
In the end, I thought this layout had more of a movie-poster feel to it more of a sense of the four main characters taking charge of their situation. I think it’s bolder, overall. And I hope that means it’s more likely to grab a reader’s attention—and their imagination—right off the bat.
Another Idyll sketch.