It's been awhile since my last Cover evolution post after reading this blog you might forgive me. Usually, I give a couple short phrase about how each stage progressed. This post is a little different. Senior Editor Maggie Lehrman
and artist Vince Natale
will guide us through the cover evolution of OTHERBOUND
by Corinne Duyvis So let's get started.
First things first your need to know a little about the story.
Amara is never alone. Not when she’s protecting the cursed princess she unwillingly serves. Not when they’re fleeing across dunes and islands and seas to stay alive. Not when she’s punished, ordered around, or neglected.
She can’t be alone, because a boy from another world experiences all that alongside her, looking through her eyes.
Nolan longs for a life uninterrupted. Every time he blinks, he’s yanked from his Arizona town into Amara’s mind, a world away, which makes even simple things like hobbies and homework impossible. He’s spent years as a powerless observer of Amara’s life. Amara has no idea . . . until he learns to control her, and they communicate for the first time. Amara is terrified. Then, she’s furious.
All Amara and Nolan want is to be free of each other. But Nolan’s breakthrough has dangerous consequences. Now, they’ll have to work together to survive—and discover the truth about their connection.
So now let's hear from Maggie Lerhman, Senior Editor:
Otherboundis an incredibly original book, unlike anything I’d read before. It has interweaving perspectives, male and female POVs, a “normal” Arizona world and a “fantasy” world of the Dunelands, and characters that cross back and forth between them. The incredibly original can be tough to conceptualize in a book cover, since they tend not to have easy comparisons—and Chad and I found to be true in this case. We wanted to get across the idea of seeing the world through someone else’s eyes, and the general concept that there would be two worlds. But pretty much the rest of the cover was up in the air.
The first few comps that Chad and our designer Sara Corbett came up with tried a photographic/typographic approach. We liked the idea of having one eye open/one eye closed, but these felt a little slick, and they didn’t get across the strangeness and the seriousness of the central concept.
Then Sara and Chad came up with these, which were definitely more mysterious and very striking. Eyes are a natural thing to focus on—Corinne’s original title for the book was Blink. But in the end we felt there was something cold about these.
Our publisher expressed the problem concisely: These feel like science fiction, and we wanted to get across more of a sense of the magic and the fantastical.
By this point, we realized we needed to start from scratch…
but we’d spent a lot of time on what we’d done already, and our Advance Reader Copies were due to the printer. This was a crucial deadline so that booksellers and reviewers could start reading and talking about Corinne’s amazing book in advance of publication. We hate to have to print an ARC with a non-final cover, but sometimes it happens, and in this case, it was unavoidable. But Chad and Sara made an effort to find a typeface that read more “fantasy.”
Some of these felt “fantasy,” but a much more medieval-style fantasy that what Corinne had written. The Dunelands are a gritty, rough-edged world. There’s magic, but it’s an earthy, painful strain of magic, not a gowns-and-potions magic. The gothic feel of that type didn’t fit in with how I had pictured that world. Plus it didn’t hint at Nolan’s real-world environment at all—which is half of the book. We eventually went with this blocky interconnected type, which felt to me as if it had been carved out of stone.
We liked that type for the ARC, but for the final cover, we wanted a more evocative image to go with it. Chad put together this sketch. The idea is from the book: it’s the magical tattoo that servants wear in the Dunelands, with some actual dunegrass below. Something about this didn’t feel right, though. Perhaps it was too mechanical-looking. After all, this is a book that’s very concerned with its protagonists’ bodies—who’s in control, who’s in pain, who gets a say.
( psst, its Chad, At this point in the process I felt a bit lost and tired but not defeated. I wasn't super happy with this direction but it felt right at the time. Mainly because I think it was different than what we had been doing. Which doesn't mean it was the right direction. )
So finally Chad suggested we approach an illustrator he’d worked with before (on the absolutely gorgeous Megan Whalen Turner Attolia covers), Vince Natale.
(CHAD: I had been waiting to work with Vince again and this was the perfect fit for him. It just took me awhile to figure that out. Thankfully the idea of using Vince was conceived.)
We had total confidence that Vince could bring the fantasy feel to this cover while also introducing compelling characters. He sent several sketches of composition options, all with that old gothic font we’d toyed with for the ARC. Chad took our favorite composition and combined it with the more blocky interconnected type we liked so much in the ARC and Vince went to final.
And now I’ll let Vince take over to discuss some of his process!
These sketches are my effort to work out details of how to handle the imagery at the bottom of the cover art to include in my tight sketch. I needed to show the separate and differing environments each of the protagonists of the book inhabited - one a typical suburban southwestern U.S. neighborhood, and the other a mysterious , magic filled seaside world.
I needed somehow to meld the two together visually, but keep them separate at the same time. I decided that the best way to do this was to draw them on the same plane at similar sizes and commingle some physical elements, and then make the point of them being separate worlds through the use of color.
In the top sketch I felt that there was too much detail in the 'neighborhood' scene, and that the size of the house was too "in your face", and the composition not fluid enough.
In the bottom sketch I felt that I got more of a 'feel' for the environment neighborhood scene -more houses and more obvious mountains in the background and not so much explicit detail.
The castle, though, I found had gotten a bit fidgety and detailed, and the silhouette didn't really scream 'castle' - it looks like ti could be some kind of medieval village.(which might have worked but that wasn't the plan.)
So, I combined the castle from the top sketch with the neighborhood from the bottom and that seemed to hit the mark.
In the completed tight sketch these elements were refined and modified slightly; In the final painting, even a little more -but those were really just details, such as grasses in the foreground to balance out the composition.
This is the underpainting - the first step in the painting process of the final artwork. It's a thin layer of paint applied on top of a very detailed line drawing on canvas or primed board.
This helps to loosely establish the basic color and value patterns as a guide for the top layer of paint.
Here you can see the breakdown of three distinct color sections - warm, orange-brown for the Southwestern feel, cool, silvery-grey for a mysterious mood, and both blending to violet towards the top representing the vast space between the two worlds.
This color scheme developed in my head as I was working through all the preliminary sketches so I had a good idea of where I wanted to go with color.Many times I"ll do color sketches for myself when I'm not sure what the best way to handle something is, if it hasn't just "come to me", or if a client requests one. It's hard doing color sketches for clients though, because most times my color sketches are what I call "failures" -a series of color messes that show me what I DON'T want to do. Also, many times they're simply color swatches that I find look good together, not always little mini versions of the final art. For this piece I gave the art director written notes of my intentions, and for this particular project it worked out well.
And so at least here’s the final over of Otherbound. For the finished book, we printed the type in spot UV so that it pops from the matte background. We’re very happy with the way it turned out and think it conveys everything we need it to—the points of view, fantasy, characters’ bodies, warmth, roughness, etc. It was a long road but good things are worth waiting for.
“Original and compelling; a stunning debut.”
--Kirkus Reviews, starred review
“Numerous plot twists drive the story along, and it’s grounded in worldbuilding that creates a believable, authentic setting. Duyvis makes ingenious use of a fascinating premise.”
--Publishers Weekly, starred review
“Duyvis creates a humdinger of an adventure that contains the agony of loyalty, the allure of magic, and, most gratifyingly, the element of surprise.”
--The Horn Book Magazine
About the book
Salem Hyde just isn’t like other kids. For one thing, she’s stubborn, independent, and impulsive. For another, she’s a witch. Salem acts first and thinks later—which means most of her thinking involves coming up with excuses!
Good thing she’s been assigned an animal companion, Lord Percival J. Whamsford III. This over-anxious cat doesn’t like Salem calling him “Whammy,” and Salem doesn’t like listening to his long-winded explanations as to why she shouldn’t do something . . . like enter the class spelling bee.
Salem knows she can beat all her classmates at spells, no problem. Too late, she realizes the competition is about spelling words, not magic. And there’s nothing like a misspelled spell to cause all kinds of havoc!
Praise for The Misadventures of Salem Hyde: Book One
"A fledgling witch receives necessary guidance from a talking cat in this utterly adorable page-turner… A delightful buddy story and an auspicious series opener; be sure to make room on shelves for Salem and Whammy."
—Kirkus Reviews, starred review
About the authorFrank Cammuso
is an Eisner-nominated cartoonist, the creator of the popular middle school graphic novel series Knights of the Lunch Table, and the illustrator of several beginning reader graphic books, including Otto’s Orange Day
. He lives in Syracuse, New York.
River’s End Bookstore, Oswego, NY
League of Extraordinary Readers, Oblong Books, Rhinebeck, NY
Nov 10th New Brunswick School, Greenwich, CT
Nov 16th The Rochester Children’s Book Festival
Production Genius Kathy Lovisol
o delivers the Jacket proofs for SICK
A nice gritty matte jacket
About the book
Brian and his friends are not part of the cool crowd. They’re the misfits and the troublemakers—the ones who jump their high school’s fence to skip class regularly. So when a deadly virus breaks out, they’re the only ones with a chance of surviving.
The virus turns Brian’s classmates and teachers into bloodthirsty attackers who don’t die easily. The whole school goes on lockdown, but Brian and his best friend, Chad, are safe (and stuck) in the theater department—far from Brian’s sister, Kenzie, and his ex-girlfriend with a panic attack problem, Laura. Brian and Chad, along with some of the theater kids Brian had never given the time of day before, decide to find the girls and bring them to the safety of the theater. But it won’t be easy, and it will test everything they thought they knew about themselves and their classmates.Praise for SICK
"The gore and action will leave enthralled readers thrilled and then sated with each kill on either side."
About the authorTom Leveen
is the author of Party
, and manicpixiedreamgirl
was named to YALSA’s list of Best Fiction for Young Adults. This is his first foray into the horror genre. He lives in Phoenix, Arizona.
About the book
In this fast-paced adventure story, Timothy and Jessamyn are towed through the streets of Manhattan riding in Timothy’s family’s sailboat, on their way to the Long Island shore, when the boat comes unhitched from its truck. The teens “sail” backward down a hill in Upper Manhattan, then fall down a huge construction site hole and into the vast sewer system below.
Thrust into an amazing adventure, the kids navigate waterfalls and rapids as they travel through the rain sewers. They meet a graffiti artist their own age, a homeless person named You, and rats the size of large dogs. They fall into the hands of a gangster who claims the sewers as her kingdom and the homeless as her subjects, and acts as a fence for luxury goods! Will she feed Timothy and Jessamyn to the rats?
About the book
This sweet, funny novel follows fifth-grader Genie Kunkle through a tumultuous year. From the first day of school, Genie knows there will be good, bad, and in-between. The good? She’s in homeroom with her best friend, Sarah. The bad? Sarah’s friend from camp, Blair, is a new student at their school, and is itching to take Genie’s place as Sarah’s BFF. The in-between? Genie is excited to be elected to write her class’s blog, where she’s tasked with tracking the wishes and dreams of her class. But expressing her opinion in public can be scary—especially when her opinion might make the rest of her class upset.
Elisabeth Dahl authentically captures the ups and downs of a tween girl’s life, and the dramas—both little and big—that fill the scary transition between childhood and adolescence.
Dark times have fallen on McQuarrie Middle School. When Principal Rabbski cancels art, music, and other elective classes to make time for a new program called FunTime, which is intended to raise standardized test scores, the students form a Rebel Alliance with the help of Origami Yoda. United, can they defeat the FunTime Menace and cope with a surprise attack from Jabba the Puppett?
New York, NY, April 16, 2013—Amulet Books, an imprint of ABRAMS, announced today that wildly popular Star Wars™ bad guy Jabba the Hutt, transformed into origami star Jabba the Puppett, will be the lead character in Tom Angleberger’s next book in the bestselling Origami Yoda series. One of the biggest book releases of 2013, THE SURPRISE ATTACK OF JABBA THE PUPPETT has an announced first printing of 500,000 copies and will have a national one-day laydown on Tuesday, August 6, 2013. It follows the March 26, 2013, release of ART2-D2’s Guide to Folding and Doodling, which debuted on national bestseller lists its first week on sale. With more than 4.1 million copies of the books in print, this series is quickly folding its way into the hearts and halls of middle schools across the galaxy.
“We have a very surprising cover star this time,” says bestselling author Tom Angleberger. “Jabba the Hutt wasn’t the lead character I was expecting. But I think once fans read the book, they will agree that it’s hard to say no to him!”
An extensive marketing and publicity campaign for the series will last throughout 2013. In addition to a planned
15-city tour, Tom Angleberger will be featured at the International Reading Association Annual Convention (San Antonio) and at the Texas Library Association Annual Conference (Fort Worth). The promotions—including a national consumer contest, national publicity, book trailers, origami video instructions, online events, trade and consumer advertising, additional appearances at national educational and library conferences, and a big social media push—will continue into the summer until August 6, when the book releases.
About the Origami Yoda series: The Strange Case of Origami Yoda was published in spring 2010, followed by Darth Paper Strikes Back, in summer 2011. Upon the publication of the third book, The Secret of the Fortune Wookiee, which appeared in August 2012, the series debuted on the New York Times series bestseller list. Art2-D2’s Guide to Folding and Doodling, an interactive companion book to the series, came out in March 2013. The books have also appeared on the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Indie Bound, and Publishers Weekly bestseller lists. The Strange Case of Origami Yoda won the Association of Booksellers for Children’s 2011 E. B. White Read-Aloud award, was named a 2011 Notable Children’s Book by the Association for Library Service to Children, and has been nominated and won numerous state children’s awards across the country. There are more than 4.1 million books in print of all the books in the series.
The illustrations depicting Yoda and any and all other Star Wars properties are copyright © 2010-2013 Lucasfilm Ltd & TM. Title and character and place names protected by all applicable trademark laws. All rights reserved. Used under authorization.
The news of our the new series Susan Van Metre and Charlie Kochman acquired by bestselling author Jon Scieszka broke over the holiday week. Our official statement is below. Publishers Weekly ran an exclusive in the 12/24 print magazine, which is attached for you to forward to your accounts that can use the news. Please note that the series will not be published until fall 2014. We needed to release the news now as there were other publishers who bid on the series so waiting too long would allow the news to be broken by another source as people were speculating. It’s very exciting to have Jon on board.
AMULET BOOKS WINS NEW MIDDLE GRADE BOOK SERIES FROM BESTSELLING AUTHOR JON SCIESZKA IN A HEATED 6-WAY AUCTION
Senior Vice President and Publisher Susan Van Metre and Editorial Director Charles Kochman at ABRAMS Amulet Books imprint beat out five other children’s publishers for the first six books in a new illustrated middle grade series by bestselling author Jon Scieszka, the nation’s first National Ambassador of Children’s literature. Titled Frank Einstein, Kid Scientist and illustrated by Brian Biggs, the series is about a budding scientist who battles an evil genius with the help of two well-meaning but imperfect robots that he invents. The first book will appear in fall 2014. Scieszka’s longtime agent Steven Malk at Writers House orchestrated the deal. Amulet Books plans an extensive marketing and publicity campaign for the launch.
Jon Scieszka always wanted to be a kid science genius. The closest he got was winning a green "Participant" ribbon at his fourth grade Science Fair and dressing up one Halloween as a bloody Albert Einstein. Scieszka studied pre-med in college. He taught elementary school, including second grade science, in New York City for ten years. For over twenty years, he has been a children's book writer, and is the author of The True Story of 3 Little Pigs!, The Stinky Cheese Man, the Time Warp Trio series, Math Curse, Science Verse, the Trucktown series, the Spaceheadz series, and more. In 2008, Scieszka was named the nation's first National Ambassador of Young People's Literature by the Library of Congress and the Children's Book Council. He is also the founder of the web-based literacy initiative for boys called Guys Read, and is the editor of the Guys Read Library of Great Reading series.
Founded by Harry N. Abrams in 1949, ABRAMS was the first company in the United States to specialize in the creation and distribution of art and illustrated books. Now a subsidiary of La Martinière Groupe, the company publishes visually stunning illustrated books in the areas of art, photography, cooking, interior and garden design, craft, architecture, entertainment, fashion, sports, pop culture, as well as children's books and general interest titles. The company's imprints include Abrams, Abrams ComicArts, Abrams Image, Abrams Books for Young Readers, Amulet Books, Abrams Appleseed, Stewart, Tabori & Chang, and STC Craft/Melanie Falick Books. Abrams also distributes books for The Vendome Press, Victoria & Albert Museum, Tate, Royal Academy of Arts, Booth-Clibborn Editions, Five Continents and others.
Abrams ComicArts and SelfMadeHero received a total of SIX Eisner nominations this year!
For Abrams ComicArts:
Best Comic Related Book –
Best Reality Based Work - A Chinese Life
Best Adaptation from Another Medium - Chico and Rita
Best U.S. Edition of International Material – Asia - A Chinese Life
The Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards are prizes given for creative achievement in comic books, and are the comic world's equivalent of the Academy Awards. Voting for the awards is held online, and the ballot will be available soon online, and we will send out another email when that happens.
All professionals in the comic book industry are eligible to vote. The results of the voting will be announced in a gala awards ceremony on the evening of Friday, July 19 at Comic-Con International.
Congratulations to everyone involved!!!