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Creating the Cover Art for the 2024 Re-Launch

Every time you go into a new cover as an indie author, it's a process. From figuring out the concept to picking the artist to making your vision become a reality. When it comes to the relaunch of The Source Keepers, I knew I wanted to stick with the fully illustrated covers. The covers for novels like Gregor The Overlander and City of Bones were always something I loved. Being able to see the world of the story or even the characters made my imagination run wild.... it seemed like a no-brainer to work with Vennec Illustrations from the UK again. They had already done such a fantastic job on the character portraits, letting them take a swing at creating the cover art felt like a dream come true!

Now three book covers? That was a lot to come up with at one time. I had to sit down with Keri a few times to try and collect my thoughts on exactly what I wanted. There were full workups of sheets put together with wardrobe ideas, inspiration images, and even some shitty sketches I made on my iPad were involved. All of this was compiled and sent over to Vennec Illustrations to try and create a concept that made sense. Here is just one of the countless pages sent to Vennec for each novel. Working with a time difference from the US to the UK, I wanted the concepts and ideas for each character on the covers to be readily available for Vennec in case I wasn't able to respond right away.

Once Vennec had all of these concepts, it was time to move on to the actual creation of these works of art. We started work on the covers in late September with them all finally being finished up in the last couple of days! WOW! It's been a crazy process.

Working on Mercy's Light was the best place to start. I knew right off the bat I wanted Mercy, Caligo, and Sylas to share the spotlight on the new cover. It is their origin story, so it is only right. A preliminary sketch was created of our main trio of chaos gremlins as well as a color sample were sent my way. After reviewing the sketch, I gave some suggestions to Vennec to try out and touch base with.

Once we had the sketches and colors solidified, it was time to start rendering our trio. This was when the cover began to come together. I think this version was the first time I really saw Cal, Mercy, and Sylas starting to take shape.

More notes were given on faces and posing, mainly Caligo looking a bit awkward. Then, we realized we should have been proactive in the development of the characters' poses. We went through several rounds of pose sketches for Mr. Caligo Tenebris. Finally, we settled for one that we both felt would fit the composition and his character best. From there, it was time for Vennec to start working on the finer details of the cover art. That meant the embroidery on Mercy's vest, Sylas's bow, the solis orb in Mercy's hand, etc. All the back and forth and conversations were becoming a real, visual piece, and it was so exciting to see every time she sent me an update.

After the final adjustments were made it was up to me and Keri to place the typography and finish up these works of art. Keri was even able to convince me to break up with my old cover font. I was so attached to good old 39 Smooth, but she made her argument and it was for the better. Being a wiz at PhotoShop, I was able to create metal letters for the typography and give us a final product.

The process of creating the first cover really helped Vennec Illustrations and I streamline Mercy's Reign and Caligo's Fall. Vennec learned to have me discuss and approve posing in the preliminary sketches while I learned how to communicate changes I wanted earlier on in the process. The entire series has been a learning curve for both of us. I think the covers really bring an overall dark fantasy feel to the series and match the medieval and futuristic magical world of The Source Keepers. Vennec doing all the artwork has brought a cohesive feel to the series across all platforms. I think the series has so much more potential and will draw in new readers with it's makeover. I'm excited to see where these covers bring our trauma troupe.

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