Cover Process: Fools Rush In

Here’s the process for the Fools Rush In cover.

The brief said the publisher needed “a high-brow political cartoon-style commissioned illustration of the author ‘taking aim at everyone’ (re: the subtitle).”

From a client/expectations management perspective, I’ve never really been satisfied with the way I handle the rough drawing stage.  If any illustrators out there have ideas how best to handle this stage, let me know.

Here’s the dilemma: Roughs that are too polished compete with the final, but roughs that are too rough make the client nervous.

Furthermore, when likenesses are involved, they attract analysis even at the early conceptual stages.  This is a problem when the discussions veer toward how the person might be made to look better instead of if the pose is working.

This time I decided to try the roughs with faces that are obviously incomplete.  I had zero problems.  The likeness didn’t even come up.  I tend to think this has more to do with the client’s general coolness and less to do with any strategizing on my part, but the job went so smoothly, that I think I might try this in the future.

Frequently, the client will choose the concept I’m least excited about, but in this case the author chose the bottom ‘duelist’ concept.  This is the one I most wanted to do.

Here’s the final drawing with the likeness:

I affixed the drawing to mdf with a couple layers of matte medium, and painted it.

The tree in the background is the result of looking at a lot of old Collier’s Weekly covers and Maxfield Parish paintings.

And here’s the final, tweaked a bit in photoshop.



Published by Zach

I'm a writer and illustrator living in Creedmoor NC.

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