I’m currently working on my first book cover. The book, Meddlers, is a sci-fi/action fantasy with a slight whiff of steampunk. The premise, what if Sod, of Sod’s Law fame, were a real person. The story revolves around Tom, a man who for all his many troubles is the splitting image of Lord Sod, the tyrannical ruler of a world populated by little people who are forced to do his every bidding, much of which involves meddling in our world.
As with many fantasy book cover illustrations, the characters play a large role in the design. Take Terry Pratchett’s covers for example, often exploding with various characters with intense detail. I aim to illustrate 5 of the key characters from the novel, protagonist Tom and Lord Sod towering in the background like obelisks, with the 3 main Meddlers; Kat, Jack and Pockets in the foreground.
Normally when I do character illustration I have some sort of visual reference or inspiration, but for this I will need to work with written descriptions, so this will be a fun challenge for me. To make things easier, I have used a neat 3D mannequin modelling tool that comes with a program called Clip Studio Paint. It’s a great illustration program aimed mainly at manga artists, I got the program a few years back to go with my Wacom Tablet, (this was before I had the Adobe suite) in hopes of getting back into freehand illustration.
The 3D mannequin modelling is easy to learn, although the user controls don’t feel all that intuitive and can be rather frustrating at times, but I’m sure with more practice I’ll be home and dry. The tool itself is very powerful, you can adjust body sizes, proportions and overall physique. As for posing you can do anything.
For now I have a great starting point for the illustration, using Clip Studio Paints mannequin tool has allowed me to be precise with how the characters are positioned and posed, next step is to start outlining the characters.
I will update my progress as I go.