Hereville book 2 – cover sketches

Warning: The images below contain some spoilers regarding the plot of Hereville book 2. Then again, so does, you know, the actual cover to the book.

So when I started work on the cover to book 2, everyone (“everyone” in this case meaning me, the folks at Abrams (my editor Sheila and book designer Chad Beckerman) and my agent Judy Hasen) were agreed that we wanted a cover that looked enough like book 1′s cover so that it would be obviously in the same series at a glance, but different enough so that no one would mistake it for the first book.

So, things to keep from book 1′s cover: Big round object. Tiny Mirka (or Mirkas). The banner for the title and author lettering. Things to be different: Everything else.

So I thought of every cover idea I could and sent quick sketches of those ideas to Abrams. Pretty much all of those ideas were variations on “meteor shooting through space, Mirka sitting on or being dragged along behind it.” But I also threw in a few not involving a meteor, because I didn’t want to forclose other possibilities, even though I was pretty sure we’d wind up with a meteor.

Then the folks at Abrams discussed it, or perhaps consulted their magic eight balls (a not-unlikely subject of a future Hereville cover), and agreed that they liked a shooting meteorite dragging a panicked Mirka best.

We also sent emails back and forth playing around with several color approaches. I showed them a few possibilities — sky blue, dark blue, red, etc — and although I was secretly hoping for red, I thought they’d choose blue (a more conservative choice), and I could live with that. To my delight, they chose red.

So now knowing the subject of the drawing and the color scheme, I did some more sketches and sent them to Abrams:

I do these sketches not only for Abrams’ sake but for my own — it’s hard for me to feel that I really know what I think about a cover composition unless I first sketch it out.

On Monday I’ll post the final cover art!

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10 Responses to Hereville book 2 – cover sketches

  1. 1
    Robert says:

    Asshole pedant alert! You may already know this.

    A smallish body of metal or rock or ice hurtling through space, is a meteoroid. The same body ramming through the atmosphere of a planet at Mach 30, is a meteor. The mass or masses which survive the impact (BOOOOM!) are meteorites. So if Mirka is meeting this astromonomical phenomenadoodle in space (some of your art) or in the air (some other art), the title is wrong. You don’t have any art showing her finding an actual meteorite, which would probably be a fairly dull picture involving her holding up a lump of slag. There is one piece of art where it IS a meteorite (the one where’s standing in the shell within the (very small) crater with a ribbon thingie around her head.

    All of the other panels are Wrong and Bad (but very good-looking aesthetically).

    You may know all of this and are simply ignoring it via artistic license, in which case I damn you to an eternity of listening to Glenn Beck explain why Obama is a socialist Muslim draft-dodger for undermining science. Or you may not know this, in which case I damn you to an eternity of listening to Rachel Maddow discuss feminine hygiene issues for not knowing the proper terminology. As the latter offense is much less terrible, I at least let you listen to someone you like.

  2. 2
    Ampersand says:

    Since Mirka lives in a magical universe, I took a lot of artistic license, to say the least. However, I did specifically choose the word meteorite because the story involves a big piece of space rock that hits the Earth. :-p

  3. 3
    Robert says:

    Then I demand that you include a hectoring pedantic character who obtusely explains the proper nomenclature before being eaten by a troll or crushed by the meteorite.

  4. 4
    Eytan Zweig says:

    Judging by the direction of the fire tail compared to the location of the treetops in the cover where they’re visible, it appears that the rock is actually flying out of Earth and into space. In which case, I’m not sure what the proper terminology would be.

  5. 5
    Robert says:

    It’s a grazer, hit Earth glancingly then headed back out.

  6. 6
    Robert says:

    I do love applying real-world physics and naming conventions in the face of Amp saying “Hey guys, it’s fantasy. You know? Trolls? Personified astronomical bodies?”

    The upwards-climbing meteor could ALSO be the result of a meteor breaking up in the atmosphere. While USUALLY the trajectory of all the little pieces continues down (momentum is a harsh goddess), I suppose it would be possible for a meteor to explode with sufficient force that some of the fragments went up, even if briefly. That must be what we’re seeing.

    Now, Amp, let’s see the anatomical sketches for any other imaginary creatures in this book, so we can critique your biology. I know a lot less about biology than I do about space stuff, so I’ll become more critical and nit-picking.

  7. 7
    Jake Squid says:

    Judging by the direction of the fire tail compared to the location of the treetops in the cover where they’re visible, it appears that the rock is actually flying out of Earth and into space.

    and

    The upwards-climbing meteor could ….

    Fools! You’re mistaking the perspective. You seem to believe that you’re standing upright and looking forward and up. This is not correct. You are actually lying on your back on the ground looking directly upward.

    Which must be obvious since even I can see it.*

    * I am absolutely terrible at deciphering visual art. Keep this in mind as you read my comment.

  8. 8
    Simple Truth says:

    Perhaps the pictures are too small on my computer. In the fourth cover, I thought she was hanging from the meteor(ite/oid/ish object) with a look of daring fun on her face. I was more excited when I thought she was enjoying the danger than when I thought she was afraid of it.

  9. 9
    RonF says:

    Now, if he changed it to a comet instead of a meteor then it would have two tails – one made up of dense material that indicates the direction the comet came from and one made up of water vapor et. al. that points away from the sun (as it is the pressure exerted by the solar wind that blows it away). Which would make a neater graphic, IMNSHO. And if the comet was big enough you could still have debris that made it to ground level.

    What, you expected a comment on the art? WTF do I know about art?

    I just hope that Mirka wasn’t too close to that meteor when it hit the ground. If a piece of it big enough to be bigger than she was made it to the ground there would be one hell of an explosion above her. I refer you to the 1908 Tunguska (sp?) meteor explosion over Siberia – which flattened thousands of acres of forest and of which not one bit has ever been found on the ground.

    Yes, Robert, it would be very easy for a meteor that hit the ground to strike with such force that pieces would fly up in the air. In fact, the spreading of debris into the atmosphere sufficient to block off sunlight was part of the reason that various meteor impacts are thought to have caused mass extinctions. Note that the appearance of iridium in geological strata – an element far more abundant in meteors than in the Earth – is found at the time of the extinction of the dinosaurs across most of the planet, which means that debris spread over most of the planet.

  10. 10
    Annani says:

    Stumbled in here blindly, don’t really know what’s going on, but your commenters are hilarious. And your artwork is lovely.

    That is all.