Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Behind the Façade...

Earlier this month my cover artwork for Alice Sabo's upcoming novel Façade, was revealed.
And here it is.

But how did it get here?

Alice has described Façade as a space fantasy, so while SF to a degree, she was keen that the cover art had a more distinct fantasy look to it, courtesy of one of the castle buildings that feature in the story.

So we had agreed the scene would be a castle type structure with a small craft coming in to land, overhead. My first visuals were based on traditional/historical style castles, but these weren't right for the description in the story. While a cover should be flexible and not too descriptive, I do feel is is important to have a pretty faithful depiction of what you'll find in the book.

I was also keen on only showing just a portion of the castle – more of a suggestion of looking at part of a much larger, complex structure, than trying to squeeze an entire castle on to the front cover. That would also leave it more open to interpretation. So various angles and viewpoints were explored - this included one version seen from one of the castle balconies:

The building structure needed to be more grand and impressive, with cathedral-like arches, towers and spires, and I felt the best way to show this was to view the scene from a low angle. So the next – and what became final – version of the cover focused on a more gothic style structure, seen through a clearing in the surrounding forestry:

I added a figure on one of the balconies, looking up at the craft, in anticipation of its arrival. In the final painting, this actually became two figures, loosely based on two of the story's characters: 

It became clear while I was working on the final artwork that the castle needed to be taller still, so I applied a greater perspective and added more towers and levels, allowing the structure to soar into the stormy clouds above.

While small, the ship was a crucial detail. Because of the name of the craft (you'll have to read the book to find that out!), Alice was keen that it could be almost bird-like in its design:

So there's plenty to explore in the scene overall, and I was very pleased with that. I wanted to create an image that made you want to explore it; to wander up a staircase or peep in through a window. It certainly came with its challenges, but that's what it's all about, right?

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