Back at the beginning of the year, the cover art for The Starry Rise started off well enough as I worked out the concept with Sean Chappell, artist extraodinaire. Yes, Sean’s my husband which makes me a bit biased when it comes to his talent. But hey, it’s my blog and I can say what I want, right? 😉
We experienced a bit of a hiccup once Sean started painting the artwork, an unforeseen problem that often arises when a lot of time passes between projects. You see, Sean’s art practice had undergone a radical shift since he did the artwork for my last book, The Other Castle. Over the past couple of years, he switched from regular paintbrushes to airbrush. So when it came to doing the artwork for The Starry Rise, he returned to regular brushes, and the results were well, let’s say, not his usual stellar quality and it was taking him a long time.
Now paintbrush techniques have a very different feel from airbrush, and I knew if he switched to airbrush, it would give the cover a slightly different feel from the others, but to save him time and frustration, I suggested he use airbrush. He refused at first, then eventually gave in and made the switch.
Airbrushing requires a different approach to blocking in colours and developing layers. As you can see in the series of photos below, he covers areas of the artwork to protect them or to isolate them. What results is an image that is more graphic in aesthetic, and well, I can’t complain, because it turned out wonderful.
The switch from brush to airbrush also allowed us to edit the image a bit more. Once done, Sean was kind enough to scan the image for me and clean it up a bit. Then he tagged me and I took over. I cleaned it up some more and adjusted the colours. There was a bit going back and forth between the artwork once it was placed in the context of the cover, and I expect there will be a few more last adjustments before the book goes to print. But I’m pleased with the final result…
I’ve been assured that the proofreading of the book will be finished by the end of the week. From there, I can finish up the last of the edits and get onto the interior. At this point, I’ll be able to determine an exact release date. I will be under tight yet doable deadlines through June, and arrangements are in the works for The Starry Rise to be officially launched at Ad Astra this year. Stay tuned for excerpts starting next month.