It is difficult to believe that it is winter in Wisconsin. The weather reports offer that snowfall is in the forecast for this weekend and sub zero temperatures. But for now, a lunch time walk along Milwaukee’s River Walk is a damp pleasure.
Fear motivates. The paralyzing fear that if I mess up the coloring of this book cover art, I will have to start the whole process over again. And the completion date is fast approaching. But the task needs to be done. So, onward.
Watercolor washes begin the color process for the book cover illustration.
Paint to the edges and then let the colors bleed. The basic color palette had already been determined weeks prior to the final execution of the cover art. But once the water and pigment are activated on the surface of the paper, the color palette organically builds to its own organized spontaneity.
Details. There are always small details that many casual observers may not detect at first glance. For example, the color for the shotgun shell includes multiple wash layers of different pigments — each layer pulling or pushing color from previous layer.
Once the final art is approved, I finished the design with title bar and a map overlay to texture the collage art.
Nearly done with the back cover illustration. A brush is often forgotten in the process of keeping a clean drawing surface.
Detail of the back cover illustration — a catfish. I have to admit — besides the firewheel flower blossom on the front cover — drawing the catfish was a pleasure.
Front and back cover pen and ink collage drawing completed. Ready for the next phase — watercolor.
The foundation of a great painting is a solid drawing. At least that was my goal when I worked on this book cover illustration for Orison Books. The collage features a firewheel — sometimes called Indian blanket — blossom, shotgun shell and expansive Texas landscape.
Nearly completed pen and ink work on the cover.
Detail of the firewheel flower blossom.