Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Wednesday Flourish: Halloween Frost

Hey Everyone!

It's been a little while since I've done a flourish post, and today I have a project to share that makes me shake my head in wondrous disbelief every time I look at it. I started this blog nearly 7 years ago, and just before I did so I discovered a little series by a new-to-me author thanks to a blogger recommendation. That "little" series was the Elemental Assassin series by Jennifer Estep, one I fell immediately in love with and that has held me captivated through sixteen books and seven years. After finishing the first book Jennifer became an auto-buy author for me, and I devoured everything she wrote as soon as it released, including her YA urban fantasy Mythos Academy series.

Why am I telling you all this in a flourish post you ask? Well, I'll tell you. I had the completely surreal experience of being asked recently to design the cover for Halloween Frost, a Mythos Academy short story. *falls down dead* After I picked my jaw up off the floor and pulled myself together into some semblance of professionalism, I jumped on the project and Jennifer and I began working.

I always start my projects with idea boards – a multi-page PDF that groups together existing covers as well as stock imagery/illustrations and font suggestions into various design concepts – so that I can get a better feel for what my clients are looking for before I move forward with comps. It's basically an outline stage for the design work, and prevents me from going in one direction while my clients are picturing another.

After submitting the initial boards, Jennifer and I both knew we wanted to move forward with an illustrated cover (YES!) that created an entirely new brand for the Mythos books. Given this short story is Halloween-themed, we started by focusing on that element, working pumpkins, bats, spiderwebs and a black panther-type creature called a Nemean Prowler in and around the title.

While the first comps were cute, the general consensus was that they were almost too cute, and read younger than we wanted them to. We thought it was likely the classic Halloween elements that were giving us the more middle grade feel, so we abandoned that concept entirely and decided to focus on just the town and the prowler.

Jennifer was taken with the first of the revised comps, but there was a concern that emphasizing the paranormal creature might be tricky from a series perspective as the creatures in future books venture into lesser known mythological beasts, and thus might make them harder to find in stock illustrations. (I'm not an illustrator, so I always start with a stock illustration as a base, and the build from there to create something new.) We ended up keeping a few of the main design elements from that comp, but eliminated the prowler and played up the town's clock tower instead, while also making a few adjustments to the overall color scheme.

While we both liked the new color scheme and the changes to the clock tower, the cover just didn't have the same impact and sense of danger as it did with the prowler, so we retraced our steps and went back to the prowler design, taking the new color scheme, font, and clock tower changes with us. The final cover is one I'm infinitely proud of and so honored to have worked on, and I hope you guys love it as much as Jennifer and I do!

HALLOWEEN FROST (Mythos Academy #1.5)
(available now!)


It’s Halloween at Mythos Academy, and Gwen Frost and her friends are ready to have a little fun. But when a mythological monster shows up, the night turns out to be more trick than treat.
Halloween Frost takes place in between the events of Touch of Frost, book #1, and Kiss of Frost, book #2, in the Mythos Academy young adult urban fantasy series. The short story is about 6,500 words.
Halloween Frost was originally published in Entangled, A Paranormal Anthology, in 2011.


Find Jennifer:

20 comments:

  1. Sigh, I wish I could do stuff like that, but I am hopelessly bad

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  2. Oh I didn't know that a novella was there, I'm quite curious now! I really like this series

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  3. AHHHH how cool is it that you got to design a cover for Jennifer Estep?? This is absolutely AMAZING and thanks for walking us through your process of creating this masterpiece!! :)

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  4. OH MY GOODNESS!! SO AMAZING AND EXCITING!! I can only image your excitement Jenny!!
    SO HAPPY FOR YOU!! =D

    And of course the cover is amazing and I looooove that it is illustrated!! <3

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  5. That is so beautiful, Jenny! I'm in love!

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  6. OH WOW! That is so exciting! I know how much you love her novels! How cool that you had the opportunity to design the cover for one of them. So happy for you, Jenny! The cover is gorgeous! I am loving all of these illustrated covers...some of my favorites! Great work!

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  7. So excited for you Jenny and this is an amazing illustration (as always) and I love the colors in it. I always enjoy learning your working process and Jennifer Estep, what a thrill!!

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  8. I don't know which I am more excited about, another book or that cover or the very fact that you got to work with Jennifer so closely! Woo hoo! Jenny, congrats and this turned out fabulous!!!

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  9. Your are seriously talented, Jenny! The cover looks fabulous.

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  10. When I saw this in the newsletter, I knew you had worked hard on that cover. Thanks for sharing the experience and you rock! I love this cover and I agree, that color is perfect. You know you need to stop hogging all the talent! :D I also need to read this novella. :D

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  11. First, I am so proud of you girl. Look how far you have come. Now you are designing covers for big name authors. This one is just awesome. Love it!

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  12. Beautiful and a great "Halloween" feel!

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  13. That is amazing, Jenny! Congrats on working with something so special, and I love that cover!

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  14. Wow, Jenny, I have no words. Such a gorgeous cover! I love it! Thanks for sharing the story behind it. I’m happy to hear that you had a chance to work with one of your favorite authors, and very proud of you!

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  15. That's really cool how it all came about. And the cover is awesome!

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  16. Ah I'm sure fans of Jennifer and her books will be so happy to learn about this novella! Awesome job, as always!

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  17. That is amazing Jenny! And I love hearing about the process!!!

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  18. How very exciting to be able to design for an author you love! The design is fabulous as usual, Jenny! Congratulations! :)

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  19. THIS IS GORGEOUS! Halloween themes FTW! I love everything about Halloween AND I love everything about this cover :D Congrats on getting to work with an author you're such a fan of. Her books are on my tbr shelf as well! Congrats girl and amazing work ♥

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