The most recent commission I have received is for the Consequence by C.R. Langille book cover illustration. The book will be on sale June 10th, 2016.
Though I’m not a hunter myself and somewhat of an indoor hermit, I really enjoyed working on this piece because the book is based where I live, Utah. I met Cody at the Salt Lake City Comic Con where he approached me at my booth. I spoke with him for a short time and he mentioned that he was a writer. We continued to talk and I took down his name and contact information and shortly after the convention was over and all the loose ends were tied up I contacted Cody about the potential commission.
Shortly after speaking with Cody, Daniel from Griffin Publishers got involved in the design as well. As every commission goes, we went back and forth on the terms and pricing over the book cover, once we were both comfortable with the terms and price we moved on to production. This design has many, many hours into it, but since I became very close to the project and really enjoyed working on it, time invested wasn’t much of an issue for me. I was more concerned about deadlines, though Cody and Daniel were very easy to work with and the deadline never felt pressing what-so-ever, it was more for me to keep me on track.
The book cover illustration design process
So it begins. As with every design I started with thumbnails. I sketch many many tiny images until I found a composition I liked. I knew it would feel slightly unbalanced due to the cover stretching around to the back of the book and text will be covering multiple aspects of it. I wanted to create the feeling of having to open the book completely to get the entire view so the front features the hunter with his mussel loader aimed but it then moves around the spine of the book so you have to rotate the book leading you into the electric tornado on the back.
After I had the thumbnail selected it was time to gather references. I started researching hunting grounds in Utah and found a common theme of mountains and flatlands with sage. I also took my camera out and began to gather reference shots. The photos taken were of me holding a gun, a water pistol, I kid you not.
Continuing the illustration process
After my references were compiled, I began laying out my rough lines. This was illustrated in Photoshop so the rough lines were on my initial layer. I then began to refine the lines and once complete I had my first comp ready for them to approve. They looked over it and adjusted the gun. Initially, I had a rifle with a scope but it was changed to the mussel loader to match the story, that also adjusted the hand position, his backpack was changed to a satchel, black smoke was also requested to be creeping unnoticed up his lower body. To my surprise, these were the only changes they requested.
Now to begin the painting. As you can see in my sequence, I began with the sky, then mountains, tornado, foreground, then the figure. Each stage is completed in the same manner. I find my shadow shapes, value, color, details, then move on making sure I’m maintaining unity throughout the piece. Though the process is simple, the skill and time required are immense. Over the next couple weeks, I had completed the book cover. I would like to present Consequence by C.R. Langille.