Finally, after a lot of to-ing and fro-ing, adjusting and re-re-repainting ... here's the last image in the current commission set of book covers, DONE. It's been a huge job:
You have to conceptualize the thematic material, then track down the cover elements, do the background painting, design the character, design the render, do the render, paint render and background together in post work -- and along the way wrangle a superior raytrace that'll actually serve the purpose, according to today's demands. You'll be lucky to get through a project in a day; and very fortunate indeed if the client doesn't want something changed later --
Which is why you always, always keep all the project files for every piece of art. I have everything going back to the reference photos for every item in this eighteen-cover commission, and several times I was sooo glad I had them, because I had to go back in and work on some detail or other.
But we're done now, and the last job was to add the text elements for title and author byline, on each cover. Ye gods. One last thing I did was to track down the best available art for six other existing covers and reprocess it through to meet the same size and shape requirements -- and in one or two cases, to redesign the text elements to bring these others into line with the new edition.
The result --
-- nice. Very. I've uploaded this "proof sheet" (as we used to call such an item in the days when we used to contact-proof negatives in the darkroom) at about 2300 pixels wide, so you can really get a look at the new work. If you've been playing "spot the novel" I was working on during the last couple of months, here's your chance to find out how right you were! Some speak for themselves, of course, and others you could probably work out by identifying the giveaway themes in the background. A gargoyle. A stone circle. A galleon. A schooner. A light plane crashed in the sea. A break-bulk freighter. A rain forest.
Next, for me ... I'm working on something of my own. I've got a fantasy novel going (!) and am dying to visualize characters and situations, so I'll be playing with art purely for myself. The novel is a lot of fun -- having a ball with it. Am six chapters through and starting to think about packaging and promoting it. Will I bother looking for an American agent --?! Ye gods. There's easier ways to beat yourself up. No, no, I'm going to have fun with this, not fifteen years of frustration and heartache, before I give the book away in 2032!
Can you even imagine 2032?
As they say on the TV news shows, "Back soon with more."