Beyond The Bramble

All posts in the Beyond The Bramble category

Beyond The Bramble: Advance Reader’s Copy Cover Art

Published August 2, 2016 by baileyquillincooper

Since the last time I wrote on here I have been working on two very different projects, so I figured that it would make the most sense to just write two separate posts. You can expect the second post to show up sometime early in this week, so keep checking! The first project that I did over the past two weeks was the cover art for my friend Sarah Marie Bacavis’s children’s fantasy adventure book, Beyond The Bramble. I probably mentioned before that this was just the cover for the Advance Reader’s Copy; that first run that she will be sending to her early readers to get some feedback before she starts shopping the book to any literary agents or publishers. At a later date I will be designing a more detailed cover that will be used for the final print when it is ready for submission. During the second half of of July I started designing some of the characters from her story to use in the artwork, which was mostly what my last blog post was about. After I got the go-ahead on the character sketches, I began to sketch out a layout for the cover. I used her original sketch as my main source of reference.

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Also, this picture of her actual dachshund, Annette.

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I changed the layout of the cover a bit, and I made sure to incorporate “Advanced Reader’s Copy” into the design. Here is what I came up with:

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I made sure to leave plenty of “bleed zone” this time, because now that I’ve learned so much about the online printing process through my own book (much to my husband and layout artist Martyn’s chagrin), I now know that most printers require a bleed area about as wide as my wrist on all sides. Sarah really liked the sketch, but later decided that the word “Advanced” should actually be “Advance.” Luckily, I hadn’t inked it yet at that point, so this was a very easy fix.

Here’s some point during the inking process:

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Here’s the inking completed:

Beyond The Bramble Advance Reader LineworkAt some point while I was inking this, I washed my hands and got some soapy water trapped under my big scary Medusa biker ring. I discovered this as I was drawing some perfectly clean little detail lines with a micron pen when SUDDENLY EVERYTHING WAS ALL WET AND SMUDGING MY INK EVERYWHERE!!! Not to be melodramatic or anything, because in the long run this is never too big of a problem. Minor smudges like the ones you can see around the goblin Wilden’s right ear and hat always seem to disappear once I add the many layers of overlying color. Still, I really hate it when that happens and I need to remember to not wear any clunky jewelry while I’m working!

To prove how not a big deal that smudge was though, here’s what the drawing looked like after color:

Advance Reader Cover

Since the final design will be a cropped version of this image minus all the bleed zone on the outside, here is how I imagine it will probably look on the cover of the book:

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Or something like that. Sarah seemed really psyched about the finished cover art and recently ordered the first run of books from Lulu. I can’t wait to see how they come out!

So yeah, more about that other project in my next post!

 

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Beyond The Bramble: Character Design

Published July 18, 2016 by baileyquillincooper

A good friend of mine, Sarah Marie Bacavis, has also written a children’s book called Beyond The Bramble.

beyond the bramble cover sketch (1)

It’s a middle grade short novel (not a picture book) that is best classified as a children’s fantasy adventure story. The book is now nearing completion and is currently in a similar stage of production as mine; getting the first reader/first print copies made so she can get some feedback and send her book out to some literary agencies. The story is about an imaginative girl who goes with her dachshund puppy Annette to visit her grandparents, only to discover a hidden world inside of the overgrown bramble in their backyard. The book is also about, you guessed it, goblins!

To simplify things, the three main reasons why Sarah and I are friends in the first place are Glam Rock, goblins, and the internet. We both fairly active with our Deviantart accounts back in 2008/2009, and we sort of found each other through our artwork and our extreme affinity for this somewhat odd combination of subjects. Some major influences of ours included David Bowie, Marc Bolan, Alice Cooper, Cuddly Toys, Brian Froud (well all three of the Frouds, actually), Jim Henson, The Dark Crystal, The Labyrinth, and The NeverEnding Story. We later discovered that we had even more of the same influences in common that we had just never bothered to mention before. Maybe we’re just like one of those creative matches made in heaven, like Henson and Oz. Either way, it’s always a pretty amazing thing to chance meet a creative who is from your very same “planet.”

When Sarah asked me if I could help her with designing the characters from her book and then illustrating the cover art, I was more than happy to help. She already had drawn that idea for the cover and some sketches of three of the characters from the story. We decided that I would first help design the characters, and then do some more basic cover artwork for the first read copy. The first read copies will be be going to the printer very soon, so for time’s sake and to differentiate the first read edition from the more finalized text, we are going to go with a more simplified design for now.

So far I have completed the designs all three characters. First we have her sketches of a goblin named Sim Sala Pim, “but Pim is plenty.”

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Here’s my pencil drawing:

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Inked:

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Colored:

Pim Design

Then we have her drawings of another goblin called Wilden.

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Here is my final design for Wilden (because I guess I forgot to take more work-in-progress pics again!)

Wilden Design

And last we have Coragrinn The Finder, a very scowly, grouchy, and somewhat pretentious junk collector goblin who spends most of his time digging through dirty garages.

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Coragrinn was by far the most difficult character to design. I actually had a feeling that he might be, so I ended up tackling this one first. The reason he was so difficult was probably because he has such a strong personality and needed to have a scowl that was just right. Sarah also had the most trouble envisioning this one and left her drawings very open to interpretation. I took a long while playing around with the shape of his face before I ever got started on the final design.

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As you can see from my sketches, I had pretty much decided from the beginning that he needed to have short, lopsided bangs and some very deep frown lines. I also decided that I liked him better with a taller forehead and a longer face, because it somehow made him look more intellectual but also a lot grumpier. Putting all of the things that I liked about the different face designs together, I then came up with this:

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Here is is all colored in (and yes, that is my sneaker!)

Coragrinn Design

That’s the design that I first ended up sending to Sarah. She loved his scowly face, and she said that he reminded her a little of Rabbit from Winnie The Pooh crossed with the Gallagher brothers of Oasis (a disturbing yet hilariously apt observation!) The term “Squidwardian” was also tossed around a bit when designing this guy. Ultimately the only major changes that Sarah wanted to make to this first design was to darken the coloration on his muzzle and feel to make him look even grungier, and to give him longer, gnarlier toes with claws more similar to those of a kangaroo. Since I am an old school traditional artist, a correction as minor as that just takes a little bit of creativity:

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Presto!

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After his “pedicure” was complete, I got the final approval from Sarah that he was at last “the perfect grouchy filthy hoarder” that she hoped he would be!

So that’s all I’ve got for the character designs. Next I will start work on the illustration for the first read cover, and I’ll be sure to post more about it in my next one!