The Silver Door

This is the wraparound cover for "The Silver Door", the forthcoming sequel to "The Ruby Key" from Holly Lisle's "Moon and Sun" series of fantasy novels from Scholastic.

The line art was drawn in ink and colored in Painter and Photoshop. I designed the dragon/bird ship based on notes and sketches from the author, although I kind of went off on my own a bit with the flourishes in the armor.

Perhaps the biggest challenge of this cover was settling on the size of the ship. Although the author's original notes had the ship substantially larger, it was decided that my initial layouts left the characters too small. After a lot of discussion with the editor and several more passes at the layout, I had to adjust the scale of the ship quite a bit, reducing its size relative to the characters in order to make them more visible.

This is a common dilemma in illustration; it is very easy to imagine characters riding a giant beast, or in the window of a huge castle, but when artists are asked to draw such a scene while capturing both the human-sized characters (even their smiling faces) along with the gigantic elements, it is often an impossible task. I first ran into this trouble when I started in comic books, with writers describing impossible panels: "A massive star-destroyer is hurtling through space, weaving through meteors. Through the cockpit glass, we see the captain gritting his teeth." There are many more examples, but in every case, it's an impossible panel that leads to one irritated artist.

But that's the challenge, and in this case, the ship had to be reduced. As it is, it is still easy to miss the cat!

As always, thanks for stopping by.