Evolution of a Cover: 8

I’m going to stay on the book cover theme just a bit longer here as I examine the TaleSpins 8 cover from concept to finish in 4 images. The covers were done by John Skewes, a Seattle artist and former colleague of mine at Disney. I am proud to be co-author on his very cool, very successful picture book series Larry Gets Lost. More of John’s great work can be seen here.

So here’s how this cover came about:

First is the sketch of my concept that I (poorly) drew and emailed to John. He was very familiar with the story and had even done a character sketch and title treatment some time earlier.




The good thing about working with a talented artist is that you can give him something as ridiculous as the sketch above and get this in return. As great as this piece is, I decided we needed to age it up some and make it a bit darker. It was already an issue that the book would be mistakenly thought of as a children’s picture book. (And this was obviously a rough. I didn’t illustrate the book as the credit claims.)

So then . . .

The cover evolved to this one, which was used for the original publication date in November of 2010. Aside from the obvious color palette change, you can see that the floorboards are less bowed, the lighting is more “ominous” and Creepy’s eyes have blood rims and bloodshot veins. The subtitle type is also bigger and the (corrected) credits got moved to the bottom, allowing the eyes to be more center stage. Eek.

And finally …

After the release of Princess Penny, I created the TaleSpins brand name and wanted to revise the 8 cover to match the Penny one, whose look and feel really hit the mark. Without wanting it to be a complete overhaul, we arrived at this adjustment: adding what I feel could become a signature black frame and, of course, the TaleSpins logo. The overall dimensions are also tweaked for a better image fit and Penny match.

And that’s the cover story (get it?). Thanks to John for his time, talent and keen understanding of the property.

Next up… ? Big surprise, I know.


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