I have another fun project to share with you this week, one I'm immensely proud of and sincerely hope you guys end up loving as much as I do.
Author L.L. Reynolds got in touch with me thanks to the amazing Katie Cross (who has been one of my biggest supporters), and as soon as I read the words "middle grade fantasy" in her inquiry email I hit reply with record speed. What followed was a collaboration full of laughs and over the top enthusiasm on both sides, and I can't thank L.L. enough for her unwavering trust as she handed me her book and simply said "do whatever you need to do to make this cover the best it can be".
Since this was middle grade, we both knew we wanted an illustrated design, something full of color, texture, and movement that would really draw the eye of readers young and old. I also wanted to design this first book with the entire series in mind, creating a Rafe Ryder brand that would be carried through each subsequent book, so I started with my core elements (which included the title treatment and a pair of wings) and then built out from there.
Since this first book is titled The Well Of Wisdom, I wanted to make sure the well itself appeared on the cover along with its very important counterpart, The Tree of All Knowledge, and I then completed the design with a few other small elements to try and bring this fantastical world to life.
For fun, I thought you guys might like to see the initial sketch I sent to L.L. for approval before I began putting the design together on the computer, if for no other reason than it will give you a good laugh. For all that I'm artistic, drawing on paper really isn't my strong suit ;-)
Glorious isn't it? *pats self on back*
I think the final version turned out a touch better...
Strange things happen when the place you call "home" is no longer your address.Twelve-year-old Rafe Ryder's year couldn't get worse. His parents have shipped him off to live with his grandmother and he doesn't know if he'll ever see his sick father again. Arriving in Maine, Rafe plots his return to England, but the possibility of a homecoming slips further from his grasp when an adventure in a corn maze at his new school goes wrong, and he and twelve of his schoolmates are mysteriously transported to Mystfira—a realm of angels, leprechauns, gargoyles and fairies—and home to an elite angelic training school. Forced to co-exist with student angels and surrounded by more danger than he ever could have imagined, Rafe searches for a way home only to stumble upon a scheme to destroy the heavens. Can he find a way to save himself and his friends...or will they be lost forever?
Rafe Ryder and the Well of Wisdom is set to release next month, so I hope you guys add this one to your lists. I've also done some interior artwork for this book, including a full map of the fantasy world of Mystfira, so I'd love for you all to check it out when release day comes around!