Not long ago I was commissioned to complete the cover for a detective book titled Mystery at Riddle Gully. It’s a fairly hilarious story for upper primary kids about a girl called Pollo Di Nozzi, her sheep Shawn and their adventures in detective work. I designed 3 covers after reading the story and it was left to focus groups of the target age range to decide which direction to proceed. Here are those covers;
I preferred option 2, though unusually I was happy to go for any of the options. I often have a favourite and it becomes hard to let go of the one I loved, and then proceed with something else. The kids interviewed though loved number one; very mysterious and intriguing they said. So onwards we progressed. The final cover actually isn’t much different to the mock-up which is also quite unusual in the process. Usually I then spend hours and hours refining the cover to get to the final version. This one just needed a tidy up of Shawn’s face and voila!
This I thought was the end of the road for this book. I was really happy with the final product. We opted for a really thick varnish on all of the black areas to add some extra texture and the book itself looks pretty slick (even if I do say so myself).
A few months later, however the publisher called back. They were publishing an abridged version in The West Australian newspaper, 5 sections over 5 weeks and needed 10 illos to accompany it. Here’s where it got tricky.
The reason why the cover process was so quick was because I was working with silhouettes. I didn’t have to worry about eyes matching up, or hair colours or any of that tricky stuff. But now I had to take the cover silhouette and make illustrations to match. 10 full colour illos to feature alongside the abridged version of the book. Here they are;
Buy Jen’s fabulous story here