For those of you who have been following the progression of the cover art for Evermore: Call of the Nocturne, you’ll be happy to know that Kevin Bae has been hard at work on developing the illustrations with my feedback. I have great sympathy for Kevin for he’s had to endure me changing my mind so many times. Thanks to his patience, the cover art has really come a long way and looks more and more impressive by the day. If you remember from the previous post, Kevin had arrived at the general design of the front cover following a great deal of back and forth.
The first one is Kevin’s first attempt at the back cover. In short, I was pretty happy with it. The white dress is consistent with the themes and symbolism present in the manuscript and is a nice contrast with the violent front cover as you will see later. Kevin later put it aside to focus on getting the front cover right. Once that was done, he will return to finish the back cover. All in all, it looks really cool. I can wait to see more of this now that we’ve establish the basic fundamentals of the front cover.
The next image is Kevin’s first major attempt at the front cover. If you compare it to the previous front cover, you’ll see that a lot has changed. Blue has moved from a profile posture to a more angled and dramatic pose. Her hair is more maniac and she appears to be gripping her duster overcoat. While I understand what Kevin was doing, I didn’t really like this image. There was something in the previous image, the sense of Blue glaring at the audience that I loved and that is missing here. I was a little worried to tell Kevin to go back to an older design because I knew how hard he had worked on it. However, I knew how much better the final product would look. Thankfully Kevin quickly made some adjustments and returned the image to the previous framing. It is quite extraordinary how quickly he works.
The next image returns to the posture of the earlier drafts and adds a lot more details. This is just spectacular. Blue is glaring at the audience with her visage divided by two different colours: a raging red and a sickly green. The hair is distinctive yet still wild and the scar comes through very clearly. You can also see a hint of the duster overcoat which is a nice touch. The facial expression says it all. Blue glares at the audience with joyful malevolence, a characteristic that is pretty close to her actual character in the novel.
I told Kevin that this was exactly what I was looking for. Earlier, we had discussed how her face could disintegrate into polygons to symbolize her losing her mind to the virtual world of Evermore. I was really excited to see how the concept would look in practice.
Kevin went to work and produced the next draft. As you can see, he’s add the “polygon wave” that connects the front and back covers. The image is really strong and you can see that the left side of Blue’s face is disappearing into the “polygon wave”. It’s a neat effect but it wasn’t quite what I was looking for. I was looking to her face fall apart into polygons, not to gently transition into a waveform. I also noted that her mouth had a little bit too much grin to it. It reminded me somewhat of the Joker and I realized that it wasn’t quite what I was looking for. Blue is a violent sociopath who rarely smiles. She would glare at the audience but never sneer or adopt a psychopath grin. She’s more a violent force of nature. She gets pleasure from violence as it makes her feel more alive but it never rises into joy. I let Kevin know my thoughts and included some photos from the Internet to visually demonstrated the polygon disintegration effect that I was going for. Kevin promptly sent me three images: all iterations of the same theme.
As you can see, the curl in Blue’s lip has been toned down, giving her the searing rage look that I was going for. In each of the three images, the polygon disintegration of Blue’s face has been implemented but each in a different way. The first has the face disintegrating into large polygons that merge into the blue “polygon wave”. The second is the same but with the addition of much smaller fragments. The third removes the blue “polygon wave” grid, leaving just the polygon splinters.
Kevin preferred the first image as he thought the second was too busy. I found the third to missing that synthetic effect that the blue “polygon wave” suggests. Its presence is a reminder that Blue is connected to a virtual space and that the disintegration of her face suggests that she is losing her mind to the virtual world. So the third is out.
I took the weekend to decide between the first and second image. Ultimately, I found that I preferred the second image. Like Kevin said, it is “busy”, but it is also chaotic. It seems more violent and dangerous than the neater first image. It made me think that Blue had been shot by a shotgun. The violence of the image fits in well with the character while also suggesting that her violent approach to life will be her undoing. “Live by the sword, die by the sword”, so to speak. It is also very eye-catching, an necessary trait when most people will decide to buy your book based on the cover art (especially in an Amazon e-book world). In short, I simply found the second image more intriguing and an excellent fit for the story.
So there you have it. After many months of work by poor Kevin, the front cover is ready to go. Now he’ll return to work on the back cover and integrate it into the final version of the front cover. This project, though expensive and time-consuming, is really starting to pay dividends. Thanks to Kevin Bae, Evermore: Call of the Nocturne will have a provocative, eye-catching cover that fits in well with the themes and elements of the story. The next stop will be to take the cover art illustrations and get them to Jordan Knoll to design the final cover. I’ll get back to you when I have the final versions.