I loved the eye from the earlier post. It was a great visual to accompany the manuscript, but there were two critical issues.
1) It screamed “attack of the killer robots”, which was not a sentiment I wanted to convey on the cover.
2) Currently, there are about twenty thousand novels on Amazon featuring an ominous blue eye. A cover is about standing out, not fitting in.
It was back to the drawing board. I needed to formally decide what type of illustration I wanted on the cover, so I made a list of thematic images that could work. Most of these will have little relevance to someone who hasn’t read the novel, but oh well. The “final cut” list was as follows:
1) Kristen sprinting with backpack in NYC intersection
2) Gravitas touching down
3) A broken spearhead (*still my favorite one, but ultimately not feasible)
4) Shadowed blonde woman standing in flames. Blue eyes through the fire.
5) Close up of the Blood Ring with a drop of blood on it
6) Vatruvian cell/Double helix design
7) Huge person (Hoff/Darien) standing in otherwise normal city
They all speak to a different aspect of the novel, and the dilemma was deciding which facet to choose for the critical first impression. What made the situation even more difficult was that first drafts of cover illustrations are hard to envision in their final form. The process starts with copy and pasting stock images to create a template, and then going forward one adjustment at a time. This translates to a situation where it’s ultimately impossible to develop upon more than one basic idea at a time.
Here’s some proof. You can see here (and ultimately in the final cover) that I ended up choosing Gravitas for the final illustration.
This was the starting point for the final illustration, and it ultimately evolved into an image I liked. Next post I'll show the evolution it went through.