Monday, 10 September 2012

Cover Artist

Editing is going well. I had a power weekend, and we're almost there. I won't cry again. I know it made you feel uncomfortable.  I have just got the last 3-4 chapters to finalize with my editor (wife). Then one final read through. (which I am doing on my kindle, so I know what it will look like when you read it) and next weekend I press the upload button.

Maybe we can return to Imminent?

No? Okay, still   --   Coming soon.

Anyway .... out of interest, I wanted to show the process of how the cover design for The Elemental Cloudy came into being. The genre for the novel is - Contemporary Urban Fantasy.

The main protagonist, is a young man called Cloudy Radford. He is your typical twenty something who gets put into an extraordinary situation. He is recruited to hunt demons.

As part of his initiation, Cloudy is given a weapon. An ax, called the Executioner. It has been crafted from a substance that is from another universe, and it plays a pretty big role in how he is able to defeat the demonic beasts that he faces.

With that in mind, I found some imagery from the internet and put together a mock up. Pretty basic, but it gave me a visual of what I wanted to achieve.

So one of the themes I wanted to get across from the cover, is that Cloudy is a normal guy. He isn't all muscles, but has the body of someone who has developed their body through a sport or exercise, not at the gym posing in a mirror. He has the body of a swimmer or an athlete.

When the time had come, (and I had saved some money, being the poor house husband that I am) I went looking around a website called Deviant Art. There are some incredible artists there. Sometimes I just go there to get a desktop background.

I initially found an artist from Indonesia, but as it turned out, he had a contract with DC Comics and could not take on any extra work. At least I had an eye for good talent.

Then I stumbled across, Kamikazuh, an 18 year old, self-taught artist from Finland. A young man named Mika Harju

I think I had found my man. 

I approached Mika for the commission, and after a few emails of negoication, a deal was struck. I gave him a design brief, which stipulated my need for the imagery of the cover to represent Cloudy in an Urban environment holding an executioners ax. Cloudy had to look tired, with an expression and posture displaying a feeling that he doesn't like what he does. Actually he hates it.

I sent through my mock-up, for a visual primer of what I wanted, and placed an extra emphasis in the ax design. Dig deep Mika. This ax is used to kill demonic entities. It has to be HARD CORE!!!

He sent me through these:

Wicked!! I was very happy with the initial concept and thought he nailed the design brief pretty well. We had a bit more of a chat, and then he came up with:

Wow! Very happy -  though I still was um, and er about the ax. I wanted it to be more of the cresent shape that would be unmistakably an executioners ax from the by gone era. I also loved the idea of the city scape in the background. It spoke of the urban aspect of the setting. Mika also came up with the concept that the ax was transparent. LOVED IT!! I even altered description in the story to suit. 

The final product. The size here doesn't do the detail in the artwork full justice. (check out

Mika has sent me through print quality file sizes that will allow for Print on Demand and some vanity posters I am doing for family and friends. The thing with cover design for Amazon Kindle titles, is that the cover also has to look good at the size of a postage stamp. (which is thumbnail size for browsing titles on Amazon) I think this one will stand out. It would catch my eye. You?

I will say, that Mika has excellent prospects for a commercial future. Not only was he able to answer my brief, but he added value. He was prompt and professional; a pleasure to deal with. I have every intention of working with Mika on my future projects. So, if you're every thinking of getting a book design done or wanted to commission a piece of art. Mika Harju could well be your man. It only takes an email to get started.

And Mika, good luck to you my friend. Kiitos kaikista ponnisteluistanne. Olet ykkönen. 

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