Love’s Call cover art – walkthrough – Sketches

This painting is finished, ahhh, I’m not sure that I’ve formally released it here on the blog but it is in the galleries under the Love’s Call cover art page. I’ve also posted it at my other haunts, though without the layout work done by the publisher.

Love's Call - Ebook

This was a prebooked commission and is the second commission in a series of books by C. A. Szarek. The first one was ‘Sword’s Call’ (Click on the image below to see the full painting).

SwordsCall-Cover_thumb.jpg I took some notes & a lot of screenshots while painting this piece, so be prepared for rambles and rough drawings!

Anyway, this is the rough design for Love’s Call. I’ve got some changes to make when I do the line-art – this is the thumbnail sketch with some of my composition notes. I only gave the client 3 sketches with the same poses on all three. Normally  I try and give a bit of variety, but I spent about a week just trying to figure out a pose that worked. The character relationships in a pose needed to be  believable, I had reference for, and was a mix of romance and fantasy. I think I must have gone through about 20 combinations before settling on this one.

Being the 2nd book in a series there was a lot to think about too Or maybe that’s my overly analytical brain working (I’ve written a short post on this, which is coming in the next few weeks). No real art director pulling the strings, but lots of things to try and capture. The figures will be a bit closer to the audience at the author’s request, and the wolf is larger. Basically, the main thing I was trying to show was that they’re joined by duty to the king, but there’s a lot to divide them even though they’re in love. I think that’s the gist though there is a lot more to the story! (I only had some partial chapters/ descriptions so I kind of have to guess :) )

This is a thumbail sketch, those kinds of things will get worked out later. This will only be my third cover so I still feel like I’m learning as I go! Very designed as opposed to my fly by the seat of the pants personal works :D

I always start with a bit of bleed for the edges and split the image in 2 (for the spine). I’ll check the rule of thirds across the image, but the most important place for it is the cover (the back is covered by words). The last cover I had no idea where they’d put the text, what font they’d use, how big it would be, nada. I’m leaving more space up top this time so it doesn’t matter too much where the text goes. Looks like I’m taking the easy way out with so much sky, but makes the text more easy to read in my opinion.

N.B. There was an extra layer I played with where the column was wider which is why the sky does not go all the way to the post. I may move the post over.

I roughly worked out spine and text locations. Could have drawn in the back cover blurb as well. Personally I’d rather have the title and author at the top (makes my job as an illustrator easier for this piece, but that’s unlikely to happen :) Besides I’m assuming they’ll want continuity with the layout).

I checked the perspective, but only after I’d drawn the characters on a separate layer. The characters took about a day just to work out roughly what I though the costumes might be like, the pose for the man (as he’s frankensteined from about 3 or 4 references, and when I go in for his face, there will be more for his hair and other details like that). If I have a structure and lighting to start with, it’s generally not too hard to make a person look slightly different… you just hollow out the cheeks a bit more, make the jawline a bit stronger, straighten the nose, make the brows heavier etc. I think technically the perspective of the background is actually wrong, we should be looking up at them, again, I’ll work it out.


The final check was to see the flow of the eye. There will be some things I need to make sure I capture such as the area the wolf is looking at, to make sure it doesn’t go off the page etc. Planning on having lots of kind of curved and V movements.Anyway, look out for the next post where I go though colour roughs and possibly the lineart.

And if you want to keep up with me on a regular basis, you can find me on @NicoleCadet on Twitter (random thoughts, this is where I most like to chat), nicolecadet on tumblr (reblogs of content from here), NicoleCadetFantasyArt at Facebook, and NicoleCadet on DeviantArt

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