Image is Everything

I’ve been an artist for most of my life and a professional one for over a decade. Designing digital art images for book covers has been the most challenging and rewarding part of that time. I never dreamed that I would have this much fun and this much growth as an artist, until I first started working with local author Bo Luellen .

When Bo first approached me with regards to the idea for his first book, I knew it was something I wanted to be a part of. An entire world was unfolding before me. As an artist I could already clearly see the dreamy interweaving of the full-bodied characters from a story that takes on the age-old battle between good and evil by posing the question of how can one know the difference between the two. Going over what he wanted for the first books image, I had to pause, because this was a story that needed a face. There were certain things that the book cover art must incorporate and yet come together to create a very simple visual of this universe. Faith and myth is the true core of the central art for the first book, which is carried throughout the series encompassing the theme of each book brought in to replace the last.

One of the two original images done for the cover of The Serpent and The Light.

How did I know what the first image would be?

Knowing what elements it needed was the easy part, because Bo just told me what he wanted. He said, “There must be a skull some wings and a cross.”

I knew the beginning of this story delved deep into what the characters believed. Belief makes us who we are, but it can be twisted, questioned and ultimately even changed. It was clear this cross needed to be rough, raw, and definitely feel like it might give you splinters. Incorporating the thorns seemed natural as they can be deadly and a hint of the crown of thorns worn by Jesus. This story is also about growth and exploration, so English ivy managed to snake its way into the wings. What to do with the upper wings?

“Oh, what a tangled web we weave……” was a major sentence that kept replaying in my head while I was trying to think of what the image needed to complete it. There is hidden magic to the spider’s web. Fine threads perfectly woven, almost invisible at first glance, it is strong yet as delicate looking as lace. Even though the image does not have a spider, you still look for it, don’t you? You know where there is the web there must be the spider. Delicate and beautiful things still hold secrets.

With each new book cover, I go over the basis for the book with Bo and then keeping with the original layout, I incorporate the imagery for the next book. The images for me are as much a part of the books as the characters, and I have spent some time designing variant art covers for the first three books in the series.

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