Tails of Valor Cover Process

Last Sunday I posted my basic sketches for the individual images that I planned to have make up the cover for Tails of Valor. Here’s what I did to turn those images into the final cover illustration.

Using Photoshop I collaged the images in a variety of ways to find a balance that looked good. The version below is number seven.
TailsValorCoverRough7 Once I figured out the basic layout I did a rough sketch that combined all the images in a way that (hopefully) worked together aesthetically. Triptych Sketch Final

Next I did detailed pencils of each scene. We (the book’s editor and I) decided to have me do each scene as a separate image and then have book’s cover designer put them all together for the final product. I regularly combined my working images in order to be sure that I was getting a good balance for the final illustration.TailsValor3PanelPencils

Next I “flatted” images for coloring, meaning I separated out specific areas of each image that I wanted to be able to color individually. At this point I wasn’t necessarily choosing the final colors that I planned to use, just something close.
TailsValor3PanelFlatsTest

And then I started adding detailed colors, adjusting colors on specific layers, doing gradients and playing with different brushes. I really don’t have much to say from here on. There was trial. There was error. There was “Hey! That looks good!”

TailsValor3PanelColor2

I hopped back and forth between all the illustrations but, in the beginning, I spent most of my time on the Egypt and Rome sections.

TailsValor3PanelColor3I made my biggest post-pencil changes here by moving the jumping cat in the Rome section up in space. The change doesn’t look like much but it makes the scene livelier.
TailsValor3PanelColor4 And done. Mostly. I’ve made some tiny adjustments to parts of the illustrations since I created the jpeg below but I’m probably the only person who will notice them. TailsValor3PanelColor5

Golden Goblin Press will be kickstarting Tails of Valor in July. I’ll put a post about that when the time comes.

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