My original intention was to have a cover image that showed the ‘Strider’ from the opening chapters of the novel. I got fairly close to a finished image, before deciding that I didn’t like it. Here’s the cover that might have been:
I didn’t quite get to the stage of completing the ground and the sky, but I was nearly there.
Why did I abandon this? In my head, this was a dynamic cover that showed a snapshot of a dramatic action in progress. But the image above seems too static, and so it ended up in the virtual trash can.
Not having much faith in my ability to create the image as a digital painting, I decided that I would cheat and use some physical models to pose my scene.
The car was a plastic model kit that I hacked up with a knife and then melted and twisted with the flame from a gas fire-lighter:
The ‘Strider’ was a model I put together using Lego and other brands of construction bricks:
I didn’t like the arms on this model, so built a different one, and then Photoshopped it onto the image:
I photographed the same arm in different positions – flipping one for the other side of the body, and then I imported the image into Procreate and began smudging and painting onto it. I imported a photograph of a sky that I had taken, and a shot of a building taken down near the canal in Nottingham. I darkened it all, to give it the impression of being a night scene – I thought that adding a couple of lens flares would hide how ropey the image was. But in my heart I knew that this wasn’t the right image for my book cover.
Sometimes you just have to know when to give up and start over. I’m glad I did, because I think the final image captures the tone of the story much better.
But I do like the idea of the Strider, and crushing a car with one would be great fun…