Last week my cover for George R.R. Martin's book "The Skin Trade" came out in France. It's a werewolf themed, horror story. I was pretty excited about this, as it was my first horror genre book cover.
I've always felt most comfortable in the realm of dark fantasy.
The book is now available in France and can also be ordered from the publisher (Actusf) here: Skin Trade Book
I thought I'd dig into my files and share some of the process for this cover.
Here's my initial rough sketch and idea... I ended up just going with the first sketch. The idea was to draw a very shadowy killer in front of a mirror that was framed with bones. The mirror was a bit shattered and had the image of a wolf. This wasn't to be any scene from the book, but more catch the mood and themes. I also drew this cover at a smaller size than some of my cover-type drawings. It was printed smaller, so I needed to limit myself.
Wolf Skull Study:
A rough sketch/study of a wolf skull that I pulled from my sketchbook. This was actually an element that I had not used on another project and thought it would fit in the composition for this one.
WIP Pencil photo:
As in many of my drawings, I didn't use photo ref on the main character. I still study anatomy and how the shadows fall on a character, though I'm not going for a perfect photo real look. I look for interesting shapes and designs in a composition and try to catch the character's emotion and a mood to a scene. Those things are most important to me.
Here's the pencil stage. I left some areas rough, to be detailed out in ink.
At first the background was going to be more black and in complete shadow. I decided to add some more twisted shapes and mystery back there, to give it a more creepy look. I wanted to keep with simple shapes in back though, so the detailed characters would stand out better.
My idea with the color on this one, was to just add a some minimal spot color in a stylized way. I think this sort of coloring works well, when the figures already stand strong in B&W ink. It also added to the horror feel on this book.