Persia Blues – Anatomy of a cover, part 3 (of 3)

(go here for part 1, and part 2)

Sorry, I know this last part was a long time in the making. What can I say, busy, busy, busy. But let’s get to it…

When we sent in our last set of cover concepts, I thought we were pretty close to finalizing the design. However, our publisher had some misgivings about the emphasis on the architectural elements of the story, and our protagonist only appearing in headshots. He astutely pointed out that:

We need to have something more personal and focused on the heroine…don’t get tangled in story elements…

This made sense, especially given that with the book’s print dimensions of 6×9, we really did need a larger image of Minoo to catch the reader’s eye. But he did like the “tri-head” concept, so Brent and I discussed some more ideas and submitted another set of designs, this time featuring our protagonist front and center:

Terry liked this new design, so the finish line was finally in sight. Brent pencilled the final cover illustration, and before the painting stage we had a few more discussions with Terry about the final details. At this point, he wanted Brent to pay special attention to Minoo’s expressions:

A sense of urgency and the expressions on the faces are important…Danger/fear/resolve especially in her ancient incarnation, defiance in her present day incarnation…

Brent and I discussed some simple color schemes, and my better half (Wendy) provided us with a Pinterest board full of fashion looks for Minoo, and after months of hard work, we had an approved painted cover for Persia Blues:

I must admit, at times the process was frustrating and slow, but in the end I’m quite happy with the final design. And I can certainly understand the importance of getting the cover right, from our publisher’s point of view. Unlike a monthly comic book, Persia Blues will be primarily distributed through the book store market, and even with my limited knowledge of that trade, I know how much importance is placed on a cover image. This is a venue in which the corporate buyers for chains like Barnes & Noble have so much clout over the publishers, they can actually dictate cover designs right down to the colors used. As prestigious as NBM Publishing may be, they’re still a smaller publisher competing against the juggernauts for shelf space and recognition in book stores, which made this process all the more important.

Epilogue: so now that we had our cover, we needed a masthead/logo for the book. NBM’s art director, Martin, solicited some ideas from me before starting the task of designing the logo. I forwarded the working logos Brent and I had been using on the cover sketches, adding that ideally I wanted something modern looking, but with a Middle eastern vibe to the typography. An English font that borrowed stylistic elements from Farsi, if you will. Here’s Martin’s logo, which I totally dig:

So there you have it, an abridged account of how we came about with our book’s cover illustration. Believe it or not, the entire process took about 8 months, with the first batch of cover sketching going out on December 11, 2011, and the approved cover uploaded to NBM’s FTP site on August 28, 2012.

Next, I’ll share a few more pages of interior art…