Thursday, 22 November 2012

The Unicorn Rider Cover Design Process

It's been a while since I posted anything here, and the main reason for that is because I have been hard at work prepping The Unicorn Rider, Book Two of The Legend Riders, for publication later this month. The Unicorn Rider continues the story of Nimbus, his sister Glass, and his best friends as they learn to live in a world that has recently been inhabited by mythological creatures. You can get yourself a copy of the first book, The Wing Warrior, in Kindle or paperback format from Amazon.

As well as spending long nights hunched over my keyboard, agonising over every sentence during the editing process, I have also been working on a front cover which has just been finalised. I thought people might be interested to see some of the iterations the cover went through.

The cover of The Wing Warrior was done by James Lloyd, based on an illustration by my wife. For The Unicorn Rider, I employed James's services again; but this time I provided the artwork myself. (I know, right? Double threat.)

I had an old art book that focused on learning to draw horses, and I found a picture in there that formed the basis of my original illustration, which was then passed to James. Our first idea was to produce something that was stylistically very different to the cover of The Wing warrior:

The Unicorn Rider

Although I was really pleased with this, I ultimately decided that it was too different from the cover of The Wing Warrior and that the unicorn should have the same chrome finish as my dragon. Unfortunately, the artwork I had done was a bit too intricate, and the chrome finish looked awful.

Back to the drawing board I went, and produced something that kept the same shape as my original drawing, but in a chunkier style:

The Unicorn Rider

I was much happier with this cover, but something still wasn't quite right... "The style's wrong," my wife said, leaning over my shoulder to look at the computer. "It doesn't look like an emblem. It looks too much like a unicorn."

I understood what she meant. The dragon on the cover of The Wing Warrior is quite clearly a badge, and not an attempt to accurately render the shape of a dragon. It has no arms or legs, and a triangle for a head. My unicorn needed to be the same.

So I had a third go, and this time I got it just about right. A few tweaks later, and James was able to provide me with the finished cover, which looks like this:

The Unicorn Rider

If you would like to know more about The Legend Riders, please visit where you will be kept up to date on all the latest news and reviews.

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