Virgo GC Reference

 Here are the references I gathered for the book cover

 The first thing I gather are references for the cave drawing because it is going to be a prehistoric sort of drawing I dont need any real poses just a general idea of the things and what they look like so I just do google searches for the elements.

 Just a general reference to the overall pose, wanted to basically see the position of the knees and feet

Grabbed this for the position of the arms

 Grabbed this for the style and roughness of the cave drawing and the lines, ended up using less of the line quality and more of the color palette


 The Sombrero Galaxy.

Astrological symbol for Virgo, which wasnt a part of the authors original sketch but I thought it would add a certain something.

The next thing I start collecting is references for rocks. Basically I am looking for a real jagged style of rock, with nice cuts and breaks. I am basically just thinking jagged. I got these from a mall as I was walking through I saw the rocks and started taking pictures of them.

 Love these planes, you can see I use them in the rocky part near the character on the cover.

 I also wanted to get an idea of how light interacts with the rock, how far away the light falls off, how the color degrades the further away. I also was not sure at this point what kind of light source he was using. I figured it was a torch but I thought it could also be a whiter light, so I grabbed a few of those references too.

For the torch references I used candles

I also wanted to get reference for the back cover in case she decided she wanted that done. The idea was that multiple people were walking into the cave and each holding a light.

The last reference I gather is the actual pose. I tend to pose myself more often then not when I dont need a face reference. I know what I see in my head as far as how I want the body to look, and I dont know if I could really communicate that to a model. Especially one that isnt getting payed.

I knew from my sketches how I wanted the body to basically be, but what was most important was how the light played off my back. Each of these poses were used for different parts of the final character.

This was utilized mostly for the hair light. This was not something I was going to use at first but after I had turned my digital piece in the author asked if I could give the guy long hair. So this was the reference I used most to get the idea of how the light would be hitting the side of my head.

This pose used for the left side of the body

This was for the hand on the wall and the shadow cast

Overall pose and basic lighting, I also liked the position of the fingers more in this one on the right hand.

This one I used for the color, I thought it felt most like what an open flame would be doing to a body and its color.

And this last pose for the lighting on the left shoulder and the triangle of spilled light on the trap.


Process Virgo G C Sketches

Just wanted to go through the steps that I took with the book cover to get to the final imagery. I love to see the whole project from start to finish. For me it is almost as fun to see the journey than the final piece... well that is not really true, I guess knowing the journey makes me appreciate the final result even more than I already do.

So here it is a look at the beginning through to the end of the book cover design process for Virgo G C

Authors Initial idea of book cover. She wanted a plain solid background with pencil sketches made to look sort of like cave drawings. You can see she had an idea for this woman being surrounded by planets and DNA.

During that first meeting I asked her about the story and asked if there was actually a cave where people saw these cave drawings, and she informed me there was. So I suggested we actually go ahead and depict a scene. I also thought that having a cover done in pencil, while could work for some things, didnt really seem right to me. I felt like of all the genres Fantasy and Sci-fi books are probably the most judged on the covers look. If it does not have an exciting looking cover, it is more apt to be passed over for something else... with say mice with swords or something on fire.

These are my initial sketches.

You can see that in this one the cave is very cavernous, and the people fairly generic "scientist" people. I also spelled the name of the book wrong. Classy! I wanted the cave to appear massive and include other small cave drawings on the walls.

First Front Cover Sketch

although Cynthia  never asked for a back cover I figured I would do one just because. In the end she decided to not utilize the back cover, but I include it because it goes along with the initial sketch above.

This sketch focuses in on a smaller moment in action, and is between just a single man (wearing some sort of space suit) and the drawing. In this sketch, the cave drawing is far smaller than the one in the cover I first sketched. He also carries some sort of lantern.

This sketch focuses in even closer and it was suppose to be like he was tracing the lines or something. My friend scott informed me it looked like he was touching her in a naughty place. I guess this is why you do sketches right?

This sketch leaves the people out of it completely and focuses more on what the author had originally wanted, but still maintains the idea that it is a cave wall, and therefore retains that illustrative quality.

A different look at the action. I really liked this one. I felt it would be cool to see a deep space with the cave drawing massive again and illuminated, and then having these pools of light seeping in from the top of the cave, maybe through cracks or something. I was also thinking that it would be cool to see the men with whatever color of light their suits gave off dotting the cave to further push back the depth of that space.

This is a more constructed look at the above shot and how the perspective would look. I did two just to show the atmosphere and mood I would be going for, but in that sketch it was sort of hard to see my intentions on how the whole scene was being laid out.
 I also am spelling the name correctly!

So I sent the above sketches off to the author to see what she thought and to sort of pick the one she was most pleased with. My favorites were the first and the last. However she really liked the one with a single guy encountering the drawing. Little did I know that when I asked her if people find this cave and this drawing and she said yes, she was only referring to one person. So the compositions that I really liked would not have worked with just a single character on the page in the state that they were in. So luckily I had included a single person.

So after she chose that sketch It was time to start doing a more detailed sketch of the scene.

Of the more detailed sketches these were the ones I came up with. This first one is more wide and includes more of the environment.

While this one is a little tighter.

So after I send the more tonal detailed version off, she ok's it and then I get down to business. Collecting reference for the piece itself. I will post that in the next few days.