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RoI: the cover

Now we have all the elements, we’ll see what you think of how I ended up putting them together. I have to admit, I’m still on the fence with this one. Pros and cons all over the place. I like all the elements, and watching the slide show, I like different ones for different reasons. I’ll appreciate all reactions.

For some reason, I don’t have useful layers of Khyel and Mother’s hand, but suffice to say, Khyel was pretty straight forward and Mother’s hand was just a series of experiments with scale patterns and gradients and filters.

The original layout that I showed you was just the sketches thrown together, without any adjusting for relative size. The first thing I did was take TnT down a bit, since the series really does focus on the brothers, of which Khyel is one. I then took the opacity down on the dancers.Β  It was pretty busy, so I tried … er … reversing the polarity, so to speak. I tried making Khy big but transparent, I tried reversing Tem…and ended up going back to my original concept. I tried the new titles…it was still pretty busy. What the heck. So what if it’s the bros’ story? TnT are just as important…just ask them! So…

I decided to give them the cover. Again, I tried reversing them so that Tem isn’t staring off the page, but it’s just not how I see her. Tem has an ability/tendency to just stare through/past people to something in the distance. It adds to her mystery, as far as Khy is concerned. Thyerri is just the opposite. Totally in your face. For me, half the power of the cover is this dichotomy. So…never following a rule over a cliff…

And yet, watching the slide show, now…I’m not so sure. I think maybe I’m thinking too much.

And Khy and Mother? Heck, we’ve got our first interior illo: a frontispiece, perhaps? Waste not, and all that. I wasn’t sure if Mum’s hand was just a little too strange, so I shifted it to a more “normal” position. I like them both, so am open to suggestion on that, too.

Without further ado:

All images are copyright Β© 2009 Jane S. Fancher. Thank you for respecting that copyright.

So…(ducking down behind the waterfall to avoid flying tomatoes) whatcha think?

Ja ne!

Ja ne!

12 comments to RoI: the cover

  • You did the exact right thing. There was no way to make all the elements work together.

    I really like how Khy and Mother look with the single ring, its a nice composition. Very strong. Strong enough to be the cover, I think. But, what you’ve chosen is really the best choice, there is something good going on with the interlocking rings and the type all working together.

    That was a tough one!

    • Jane

      Thank you! I actually had much less dynamic poses for the dancers to begin with, which would have let them fade into a storytelling background to Khyel. That might have worked, but once they became so individually interesting, it just became way too busy, both visually and emotionally. Because they are two sides of a coin, they complement each other emotionally as well as in the lines of their bodies. I think that balance is a bit better with Tem facing inward, so I’m probably going with that one.

      Probably. Who knows? I’ve already played a bit with the typeface. After I’ve put up Destiny, I’ll put up the three together so you all can help me make sure they make a good set.

      Have I said lately how much I appreciate the feedback from all of you? :wub:

  • AbigailM

    Is that ley-lightning in the webs of Mother’s hand? very cool.

    I think it is probably wise to not try to cram all the elements onto the cover.

    What happened to Khy’s beard? He looks very different, much much younger. It’s been a long time since I read this, so I have forgotten details.

    • Jane

      He shaves it at Ganfrion’s suggestion before venturing forth as a “scholar on sabatical” Hmmm…how do you spell that? Ah, well.

      • Jane

        Oh, yeah…age…he grew the beard to try and look older! Since he has that lovely, thick dark hair and broods a lot, it works pretty well. πŸ˜† πŸ˜† πŸ˜†

        But he also achieved this charmingly wide-eyed expression for this piece that gives him a very youthful appearance. I wanted to capture his utter fascination with the ley creatures.

  • May I say first that Khy is gorgeous (and gorgeously paintedÒ€”tablet? he’s absolutely stunning!) and second that I might switch your cover-frontispiece choices because of the gorgeousness? I think that the arresting image of Khyel and Mother could make a really strong cover on its own, and, although this doesn’t make as much sense as it would for a physical book, I like to think of Temorri and Thyerri as front and back endpaper illustrations. πŸ˜‰ But yes, I can’t see how all the elements could ever fit on one cover!
    Suggestion: I’d put the ring over Mother and Khy, or end Mother’s arm less… abruptly… πŸ™‚ Could it slowly fade out? Or just end right at the ring? πŸ™‚

  • Jane

    Thank you! I thought he came out pretty durn cute. πŸ˜€

    I have a curious reluctance to give him a solo cover. Some people, the kind who must find something to criticize, I suppose, have accused the books of being too Khyel-centric already. I don’t think of it that way at all, since every single thing that affects Khyel affects his brothers as well, and vice versa. But I kind of hesitate to … endorse (?) that kind of mindset with giving him a solo cover. Or perhaps encourage would be a better word. I’m hoping people will see them as books about … siblinghood, which is how I perceived them from the start.

    However, this is all electronic, which means a whole new way of looking at things. No reason I can’t use both images in marketing…I mean, I already have putting them up here, right? πŸ˜†

    I’ve tried several different permutations for the Khy/Mum piece, and liked this one best, however, just as I began to answer thig, I thought of how I might do a better fade than I had before on mother’s arm, so I’ll give that a try.

  • OrionSlaveGirl

    I like the slide that says “the cover (for now)” — I think it is slide #11. The new font is great, dn I like how the various “layers” have different luminosity. Yes, the original concept needed to be simplified — I think you’ve made all the right choices. With Mother’s hand & Khyel included with the 2 dancers, it was too busy and confusing both visually and conceptually. This is much better, & I really like it a lot! Great artistic choices!

  • evenus17

    I don’t know the books so about mother’s arm : as a reader I wonder why it ends so abruptly, I would like to know so I’d read to find out.
    From the artistic viewpoint it hits a nerve. I’m not sure a fade or ending at the ring as emilyrln suggests is better. How about a boundary that circles just beyond the ring that is only defined by a background layer if you see what I’m trying to say!

    • Jane

      Poor Khy. Everyone’s so worried about Mother’s arm and no one’s worried that Khyel’s guts must be flowing out onto the ground! πŸ˜†

      Seriously, they’re both clean cuts of the elements at slightly different curvatures than the ring. It’s a cutoff similar to a cropped picture, just not square. I wanted to keep the image from being defined by the ring, but I also don’t really want to create a predictable geometric edge (i.e. a circle or a square or whatever beyond the ring.) I think it would make it too…contained? Predictable? Safe? But what the heck…it’s a good suggestion and not hard to try. I’ll just play a bit tonight and see if I like it better than what I’ve got.

      Like the dancers-cover, and really the first book as well, it’s not intended as a literal illustration, but a depiction of a character interaction. It’s meant to intrigue, but not to define, if that makes any sense.

      The way I see it, Khy is looking beyond this very sharp claw that could rip his eyes out in a flick of a finger to what’s beyond, which is scaled and webbed and not very human! And rather than afraid, he’s fascinated. I would hope that would be, er, intriguing. πŸ˜€

      It’s more a mood I’m trying to capture than a specific moment.

  • hanneke28

    It shows better on my screen at work than on my brother’s wide-screen: there, the rings were stretched into sideways ovals which didn’t look right. I don’t know if that effect will carry on into the e-book pictures.
    Is there a way to pause the slideshow? I wanted to study the final image (nr.12) but it kept moving on.
    I agree with everybody that the three element were much too busy together, the two dancers is much better.
    The rings are a bit too bright white and gray for me, perhaps if you could add a touch of blue-green they’d fit in better with the overal colour scheme, and you’ve used those colours for ley-energies elsewhere so that might fit both with the story and with the picture.
    I’m still worried about the respective sizes of the two dancers. They have their standing foot on the ground at the same height = distance from us, and Teimori’s ring (the one she is inside) passes in front of Thyerri’s, but because her standing-up size is the same as his bending-forwards size, she seems much farther away. His face is coming towards us so it should be a bit bigger than hers, and probably he just is a bit bigger than her, but the size difference seems too big now (unless she’s really tiny): see their heads and standing-feet, and her hand stretched over her head is at the same height as his foot lifted in a curve behind him.
    As the unifying background with the colour-gradient seems to imply they’re equally distant, and there are no other clear distance-clues for both of them, that translates in my head into conflicting cues about their respective distances.
    Maybe if you make Teimori’s ring pass behind Thyerri’s, (and move her foot up a millimeter?) she can just be a bit more distant than he is?
    Or is she dancing on the energy of the hindwards ring, that seems to pass through/behind her? That could work for Thyerri, as the ring could be seen to pass through his body instead of behind him (except then I’d expect it to fade into him instead of disappearing behind him), but that doesn’t work for her as it only passes through her skirts unless you flip her. Sorry, those are technical properties of the rings which I would know if I’d read your books, so maybe that’s an immediate no-no.
    Or maybe this distance-confusion is just in my head, as nobody else seems bothered by it.
    I also agree with everybody about the abrupt fade-out of Mother’s disconnected arm, and I think cutting it off at the ring would only work well if you put a different colour outside the ring, different than the inside background, then my mid can pretend the rest of her has disappeared behind the blocking colour, and the ring is like a porthole that I can look through.

    • Jane

      Oh, dear…you’re trying so hard to make it an illustration! :wub: It’s more like a collage of two separate portraits.

      Again, doesn’t mean I can’t play with the elements and see if I can’t help the problem you’re having without compromising my image of it.

      The properties of the rings are mutable for this cover since they’re just graphic elements. :whistle: The real ones, at least as far as the dancers are concerned, are huge and big enough for them to dance inside (or at least fly through) the smallest. The largest of the power-generating rings in the towers are a little taller than Deymio’s 6+ feet. There are several concentric rings all rotating at different velocities and angles. The actual number depends on the node.

      Have I got you curious yet? :devil:

      oh…TnT are the same height. Exactly. :whistle:

      I thought you could pause the slideshow, but I can’t see how to either. I’ll post the cover.

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