Today I'm sharing the cover for The Illuminator's Gift, the first book in a middle grade fantasy series by Alina Sayre. As you guys already know, fantasy is my very favorite genre to read, but it has also quickly become one of my very favorite genres to design as well since the sky is the limit creativity-wise. While I thoroughly enjoy the challenges each new project presents regardless of genre, fantasy tends to let my imagination run a little more wild than most, and I always have the best time trying to figure out how to bring a story's magical elements to life.
With illustrated covers, my design style tends to be more stylized, with the imagery existing as flat shapes, large planes of color, and lots of texture rather than realistic, painterly or true to life. My initial idea boards for Alina went in my more typical stylized direction, with the sea, sky and flying ship focal points she wanted highlighted shown with clean, crisp lines and clearly defined shapes. After reviewing the boards, Alina asked if we could change the feel of the imagery, taking the illustrations in a more realistic direction and softening the edges overall–a style that wasn't quite as familiar to me.
Having to step outside my design comfort zone is part of what makes this job so much fun though, and by the time I finished putting the initial comp of The Illuminator's Gift together I had learned a variety of new tricks, something that never fails to make me happy. After a few tweaks to the title font and accompanying flourishes, we had our final cover where sea meets sky and the Legend emerges from a wisp of cloud as she flies through the air.
Alina and I are currently working on the covers for books two and three, so stay tuned for those in the coming months!
Ellie is a twelve-year-old orphan who desperately wants a family. She just doesn’t expect to find one when she joins the crew of the Legend, a flying ship in a secret rescue fleet. On board, she meets a boy with a pet tarantula, a bully with eyes like mirrors, and a librarian who can read eighteen languages. Unexpectedly, Ellie also discovers a powerful gift that only she can wield. But when the Legend is called to a dangerous rescue mission, Ellie risks losing everyone she loves. Will her mysterious gift be enough to save her and her friends from a deadly enemy bent on destroying their world?
Find Alina & The Illuminator's Gift:
You can check out more of my cover design work at Seedlings Design Studio!