Cover Designs and Illustrations
This is the first book I illustrated. The story concerned two girls who live on a farm finding a magic box that transports them back in time to when the underground railway moved slaves from parts of the US to Canada. I used acrylic on board. I was instructed to give the girls a "cartoony" feel as the target audience was for Young Adults. The interior illustration we rendered in the same style using pen and ink.
The Dark of the Moon had won some awards from "The Canadian Childrens Book Centre" and this necessitated a second printing. I decided to lose the blue frame as to show that this was a second printing.
A young girl finds a crack in the sidewalk delivers her to a parallel universe. The desire to bring a "graphic novel" approach to the cover prompted the use of coloured pencils on high-rag illustration board.
A "James Thurber" illustration approach was needed to bring this light-hearted story of the Bard to reach the intended audience of 9-12 year old children. Watercolour on board was used. The book was designed in CorelDRAW, the upper logo was created in LightWave 3D.
The Canadian-Franco film "Quest for Fire" was popular when this book was published. Taking the idea of pre-modern Iceland and mixing in the animal skins helped tie in the book with the spirit of the movie, though the two were not related at all. Acrylic on board with some airbrush.
A Celtic story demanded some of the images associated with the book. Bagpipes and ferrets fared heavily in the storyline, as well as a broken down castle. Gree featured prominently as this was an Irish tale. Watercolour on rag paper helped nail down the image. Designed in CorelDRAW.
When designing a book, we took advantage of the stock size. I felt for the same price, we could add a bookmark to the "flat" and have them printed at no extra charge. These bookmarks were given to local bookstores to help promote the upcoming novels. This approach was successful enough to ensure every book going forward was printed this way.
The introduction of the program "poser" lead to some new approaches to book design. With the advent of Jar-Jar Binks and Gollum, the publishers wanted to introduce digital characters as a means of helping to sell the novels. Poser 3 and Photoshop were used, the dog was our pet "Moxie" as Poser didn't have any realistic dogs at the time.
A child moves to Drumheller, Alberta and after visiting the Tyrell dinosaur museum, starts to imagine having dinosaurs living in the attic. The age group was 7-10, so I went with a light cartoony style. This style was also used for the interior illustration to help move the story along. Acrylic on board for the cover, pen and ink for the interiors.
To engage the target audience, I created bookmarks that could be cut-out and assembled into a T-Rex. This helped to get the audience excited and purchase the novel.
Dolina May was a rebel and the first character introduced who wasn't afraid of alcohol. The styled "A" in Dolina's name was found on graffiti on various buildings in my neighbourhood, so I turned the title and author's name into graffiti on a wall. The lady in the photo was an actress in a play the publishers saw and liked. We got permission to use her image for this and subsequent Dolina May novels. Photoshop and CorelDRAW.
The Dolina May book was successful enough to warrant a German translation. The request was to tone down the rebellious nature of Dolina and make it more "Sound of Music" for the German audience. The image is completed assembled in Photoshop;
The next book in the series covered Dolina's graduation and a bit of reflection in the past. An older Dolina sits in a chair and reminisces about her adventures. Note the same actress from the first novel. The background , desk and lamp are Lightwave 3D, the brick wall was my house at the time, the lace from my wife's wedding dress. All assembled in Photoshop.
When helping to sell the concept for a book, I would sometimes create a comp for the clients to peruse and brainstorm. I apologize for the short legs on the horse, my photo reference was from a "My Pretty Pony" toy. Watercolour and airbrush on board.
The final cover didn't change much from the comp, the publishers were happy with the initial concept. This is the final time we used the actress from the first novel, the young man was a friend of the publishers and the young lady in the "old photo" was none other than my mother. All assembled in Photoshop and brought into CorelDRAW for publication.
A young woman spends 5 months in treatment for self-destructive behaviour, she dreams of dark tunnel and mysterious designs. She encounters another boy who shares her dreams. I wanted to show the disorientation effects the protagonist feels and the feeling of isolation she experiences in her school. I made her and the other boy the only images that weren't skewed. Created in Photoshop and assembled in CorelDRAW.
A young lady recalls her trip to Maui. Lots of green was used to emulate the lush Maui landscape. The Porsche on the beach figures heavily in to the story. Acrylic on board, assembled in CorelDRAW.
In 1914, a 13 year old orphan is sent to work on a Canadian farm. I photographed a neighbour's son and used Photoshop to age the image and create the distinctive clothing of the era. This book became the Mr. Christie's Book Award Finalist and the Canadian Childrens Book Centre Choice winner.
I created this cover using photos and illustration. The boy and girl were children of my co-workers at Canadian Pacific, the cliff was created in Bryce 3D, the map elements are pen and ink reworked in Photoshop. This book also won the Canadian Childrens Book Centre Choice award.
This time-travel story involves a young girl, Anya, who receives an old Menorah which transforms her into Estie, an escape from Nazi Germany. The spirit of the novel was to look like an older children's drawing. This is pen, ink and watercolour on watercolour board. Book assembled in Adobe Illustrator.
Colours move into Carol's head giving her the ability to read thoughts and direct their energy. The eyes were important to the story, so I focused on them and the "energy people" she encounters in her journey. The climax takes place at a hockey game, I felt this helped add to the scope of her involvement. Poser was used to create the "energy people" later enhanced in Photoshop. The book was assembled in Adobe Illustrator.
This is the "flat" of the book, showing the cover, spine and back cover. When the interiors were complete and the paper stock chosen, I had to measure the thickness in order to create the spine. You can see more of the Poser "energy people" that I created. The catch phrase "The X-Files meets Stephen King" was my addition to the back cover copy.
Target audience was 5-7 years old, so I used a "cut-out" style with bright colours. Sesame Street was definitely an inspiration for the look, the storefront sort of resembled Mr. Hooper's Store.
The advent of 3D helmets with the possibility of interactivity was the basis for this and its subsequent novel. I had my friend's son pose in various positions and I created the helmets and gloves with wired completely in Photoshop. The mountain man is from Poser, I added the clothes and backpack to him with Photoshop, the background is Bryce 3D both as a rendered and wireframe file. Book assembled in CorelDRAW.
The second book in the series (it ended at only 2) had the same equipment transporting a different child to the Titanic on its fateful (and only) night. Photo of Titanic was the basis for the Photoshop illustration, the sky was a nice Montreal afternoon, the water from a trip to Lake George, the helmets and equipment, all created in Photoshop.
A poignant, coming-of-age story told through the diary of a 13-year old girl, interspersed with authentic WWII letters had a mood that required illustration rather than photos. The girl is pencil and egg tempera, the background is watercolour on high-rag water colour paper that was misted with a spray bottle. Book created in CorelDRAW.
A teenaged boy is teleported to a dying alien world. The teleportation scene takes place in his kitchen next to his completely disinterested german shepherd. Acrylic on board with airbrush. The font I used didn't have the little dots on them, I added them to emulate alien tentacles. Note how I put the book series logo as a graphic on the teenager's shirt. Book assembled in CorelDRAW.
This is the original illustration for the book, Night of the Aliens. You can see how bright the colours were before I was asked by the publishers to tone it down.
In this sequel, one of the Aliens the protagonist helps comes to Earth, but has no memory of being helped, but is being hotly pursued by the bad guys from the Alien plant. Hints of E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial and The Thing figured heavily into this illustration. Once again, the eyes were featured heavily in the novel, so I made the all-seeing eyes prominent on the cover. Acrylic on board with lens flares from Photoshop.
A run away meets an older runaway. I photographed a friend of mine and my young daughter for this cover, the background is the city of Calgary. The white band is to help bring the eye from the title to the two main protagonists. Cover created in CorelDRAW.
This is the colour-key for No Place for Kids. You can see the back page was created in Lightwave 3D and using the printed paper size, I was able to get promotional book marks at no extra cost to the client (other than trimming costs).
It's Hallowe'en and it's also the young girl's birthday, problem is, she hasn't any friends. She lives in a round house and her mom is a little "off." The book had a whimsy feel to it, so the cover and all the interior illustrations had a rough feel to them, not to look "over-worked." The background was created in Adobe Illustrator and it was assembled in Photoshop, then built in CorelDRAW.
Four friends suspect their parents are other-worldly (as most teenagers feel about their parents, but I digress). The four protagonists meet regularly at the Flica Cafe and swap stories. I used a newspaper heading to give authenticity to the final scene in the book. Illustration is acrylic on board. Created in CorelDRAW.
Young man's misadventures where he is mistaken as a burglary suspect. I used a photograph of my brother running and a couple of photos of police cars on the Calgary streets. Assembled visually in Photoshop adding backgrounds created in Lightwave 3D.
A teenage love story in Ireland. Watercolour on board with plenty of green. Cover assembled in CorelDRAW.
Adolescent coming-of-age story that has the protagonist's imagination constantly leaving the confines of our planet. He loves E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. Use of bikes and flying to help with the images in the story. Poser was used for the figures, Simply 3D for the bike, Earth and Moon from Bryce 3D and the photo of the boy is from the same photo session that you see on the Buried Treasure cover. Assembled in CorelDRAW.
A WWI story set near a munitions warehouse, the protagonist is only 8 years old. I tried to capture the look and feel of what would be exciting for the really young audience.
Pencil and watercolour on rag paper, assembled in CorelDRAW.
A story for 7-10 year old boys celebrating their youth. I used colouring pencil on board and Photoshop for the skateboard.
This is the original coloured pencil sketch I used for the cover of Skateboard Kids.
A time-travelling murder mystery set 400 years ago. I tried to depict all the articles you would see in that era and contrasted this against two boys in 20th century clothing. Coloured pencil on illustration board.
Fourteen year old girl writes about her life during her stay at a Victoria boarding school where she hides her Jewish identity. Meant to be introspective, I went with soft colours to reflect the mood of the book. Watercolour on rag board.
Coming-of-age story where a young lady working at an ice cream shop is trying to figure out life while involved with a punk and a hippy. The book dealt more with ideas than people, so my cover was meant to represent the factions, rather than the characters. I also created the "Double Scoop" logo on the waitresses shirt. Photoshop images and assembled in CorelDRAW.
Clones abound! Photos of friends and family (the woman at the back is my wife) all assembled into a Lightwave 3D background. The Chronicles logo was created for future books by the same author, logo was created in "Simply 3D."
A time-travelling piece about self-discovery set in the 1923 Canadian National Exhibition and its famous Coliseum Chorus that hosts over 2000 voices. Music figured prevalently in this story so a wrap-around cover focusing on the choir and music sheets helped to set the mood. Water-colour on board, assembled in Adobe Illustrator.
A child hates his new house, until a ghost appears bearing a mystery. This is an early-preteen novel, so the atmosphere of the cover shouldn't look too scary for the 7-10 age group. The original acrylic on illustration board was re-worked in Photoshop to give the ghost a "spectre" feel. Assembled in CorelDRAW.
A fantasy story set in the Middle-Ages, this story tells of a magical creature who is in search of a dragon. Torri isn't human, but his opponents are. Acrylic on board with some airbrush. Assembled in CorelDRAW.
This is the back cover to Torrie and the Dragon. I felt we needed to see the protagonist (Torri) and a close-up of the dragon's eye to help center the book cover and the text. Acrylic on board.
Nathan moves through inter-dimensional portals, not slipping into different eras, but parallel universes. The image of the boy is a photo I took of the publisher's son. The figures falling through the portal were created in Poser and imported into Photoshop where the balance of the cover was created. The book spoke of "swirling lights" as the portal, so to remain true to the book, I created swirling lights.
Two children visiting England are approached by a teen vampire for their assistance. They get pulled into a vampire gang war. The book speaks clearly about using "doors in the ground that emitted bright light" so that became my focus for the book cover. We are so used to graves and tombs being portals, so, why not? I had fun with the title, as the two "V"s looked like fangs to me. Created in Photoshop, assembled in CorelDRAW.
The is the back cover to Vampire's Visit. The atmosphere of the dark mansion and its "evil" dog lended itself for lots of negative space in which to place text. Dog is acrylic on board, the mansion is a created using several different photos of homes in Montreal, the arch is from John Abbott College, the figure is from Poser.
A young sorceress unwitting unleashes otherworldly powers and must learn to contain them. The world this story takes place in is a twisted version of our world, I used Bryce 3D for the castle and mountain, but tweaked the settings to take from the photo-realistic component of the software. The young lady worked at Canadian Pacific in the mailroom, she had a Celtic feel to her face. Assembled in CorelDRAW.
A story of a young woman who chooses the wrong boyfriend, she spends time meditating in her room. The entire scene is created in a program called Visual Reality 1.5. Cover assembled in CorelDRAW.
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