This is the cover for the forthcoming young adult fantasy novel MEETING by Nina Kiriki Hoffman, the sequel to THRESHOLDS, from Viking Press. I finished this several months ago, but had to wait to show it until the book was announced.
Enough time has passed that I don't remember exactly what I did to end up with this, but I know that I roughed it out in pencil, inked it, and went to town in Photoshop, and maybe a little Painter. I think I may have spent a little too much time in Photoshop-ville, trying to get a magical quality which I don't know if I nailed.
I remember going back and forth with the editor about the alien/light-being girl's eyes. Originally, I had them much more alien and luminous, but they were apparently too creepy and I was asked to make them more human. I probably liked the alien eyes better, but you can't get too attached to anything.
Having to occasionally make changes for editorial reasons has actually helped me a lot in not letting any part of a drawing be too precious to erase. It's hard to face facts and erase something that's not working, especially after spending a lot of time on it, but sometimes that's the best way to move forward and get the bad drawings out of the way. I still struggle with letting go sometimes, but I'm definitely more acquainted with my trash can than I used to be.