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The Verge, Big Time Edition
Cover Design Reveal!!!!
Welcome back to The Verge! We’re a little over a month away from our book’s release on Amazon (August 31st!), so we thought it was the right time to share something BIG — our book cover design!
We’ve been working hard over the last few months to finish up all the odds and ends (seriously guys, WHAT EVEN IS AN LLC???). But one thing that hasn’t been hard has been working with our cover designer, Allison Sanders. Thanks to all of her amazing work, we have a final product that we couldn’t be happier with.
So like… want to see it?
well here it is!!!!
behind the cover creation
IT’S SO GOOD, RIGHT???
We knew right away that our book cover would be as important as the story itself and we talked a LOTTTTTT about what it could look like. “Don’t judge a book by its cover” is conventional wisdom that approximately no one follows. And after spending so much time working on this book together, it was daunting to consider finding someone to bring into this world with us to design the cover.
But all of those concerns melted away when we began working with Allison. Katherine and Allison are close friends, so working with Allison felt very much like “keeping it in the family” (we are the Sopranos) (gabagool!). It kept the cover feeling like something very personal to us.
For the cover, we found various pieces of art and other book covers that were inspiring (shout out to Pinterest, through which all vision boards are possible), and using those examples, we wrote a design brief for Allison, detailing our hopes and dreams for our very first book cover! (For more on the artwork and book covers that inspired us, check out this post we did about it on Instagram!)
We knew that we wanted something simple yet eye-catching, with a stylized illustration with a surreal element. We knew that we wanted to stick to a darker color palette with pops of brighter color for effect. And most importantly, we knew that we wanted the cover to feature Mera, our badass main character. We wanted people to instantly connect with her and want to know more about her. Ultimately, the goal with our cover was to draw people in. Super low pressure, right?
Superhero artist Allison went to work creating some concept art for the piece, and looking at it now, it’s a wonder we even had her create anything else because HELLO:
We had the idea to incorporate the waves into Mera’s hair, so that it was like the waves and Mera were one — you couldn’t tell where one ended and the other began. Allison worked on a few more drafts, and tried a lot of different smaller details in the piece to get exactly the style and tone we were all looking for.
When she sent us the final design a few weeks ago, we were overwhelmed by how amazing it was and how exactly Allison had captured exactly what we wanted. “Is SHE magic???” we wondered.
So we decided to ask her! Not that question exactly (we’re still pretty sure the answer is yes), but we did ask some other ones so that you could get to know her a little better and get her perspective on this design process!
Tell us a little about yourself! (life facts!)
Hi, I’m Allison! I’m a Chinese and white biracial woman doing some creative things with my time and many silly things, still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. I moved to LA ten years ago for undergrad (eek!) and have been here ever since. By day I work in children’s television, also by day I try to keep my many named plants alive - RIP Johnson the baby rubber plant - and by night I enjoy leisurely strolls around my neighborhood and the occasional game of pickleball. (Can you tell quarantine living has changed me?) I have art supplies stashed in most corners and closets of my apartment, and my favorite pen nib size is .38mm!
How long have you been an ~artist~? What’s the first piece you remember creating?
I’ve been creating things for as long as I can remember! Doodling on the margins of papers, decorating letters on my homework, making tiny food miniatures out of clay. I don’t think it was until after college though that I realized that I could actually do something creative in a career and that art didn’t have to just be a hobby. That’s still a little mind-blowing to me, honestly! I only have vague memories of making this, but one of the pieces of art I still have from my childhood is a little clay dog that I sculpted in first grade. There was (and still is) something incredibly satisfying about getting your hands dirty and messy, molding a shapeless thing into a shape, and you know what, it looks like a dog! So good job, 6 year old Allison.
What kind of art do you do? What’s your favorite artistic medium?
Lately I have been doing a lot more digital art, but sometimes I just need to sit down with a pencil and paper and it, “the thing I’m trying to make”, comes out so much more easily. Colored pencils and watercolor are current favorites! I definitely think I’m a tactile creator; I love making things that I can feel and move around and add texture to and experiment with. And creating is also a way to remember things! A lot of the art I make for myself helps me process something going on in my life, or is an expression of strong feelings.
What inspires you as an artist? What makes you want to sit down and make something?
I have so many random pictures on my phone of things that inspire me in the moment - the most recent being a tree stump hole that looked like it could be turned into a little nature amphitheater. Those are my big dream ideas, haha, but nature is always inspiring to me. Books and poems also often inspire me to create because the act of creating helps solidify thoughts I want to remember! So I have lots of little watercolor letterings that have helped move ideas from my head to my heart. And then often my art is inspired by the people around me! I’m so lucky to have friends and family whom I love dearly, and sometimes the visuals that pop up in my head come from our conversations or time together. Art makes me happy, and I always hope that I can make art that makes people around me happy (or feel loved) too.
What kind of art are you drawn to?
I think in the same way that a lot of my art styles can look different depending on how I’m feeling, the art that I’m drawn to is a huge mix of aesthetics. But I love a little bit of whimsy, so I feel like that playfulness comes up in most of the art I enjoy, whether it be woodland creatures in sweaters or abstract landscapes or portraits that experiment with texture and color... I love art that sparks your imagination and makes you wish you could be in that world for just a little bit. Also tiny things. I am really fascinated by miniatures, haha!
Do you have a favorite book cover design?
I explored the books in my childhood bedroom recently and came across a worn hardcover copy of The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett, illustrated by Graham Rust. I remember spending hours imagining stumbling upon the hidden garden like Mary did, and so much of that curiosity was sparked by the imagery of the cover! A wall covered with ivy, an old door being opened. And if you look closer - a mouse, a mushroom, a hedgehog, a cobweb!
For our cover design, can you tell us a bit about how you came to be involved in the project? Was there something in particular that you were interested in exploring artistically?
Yes! The connection of literature and art is always something that has been exciting to me because one of my favorite parts of reading is imagining the visual world of the story. It was such a delight to get to read your book and have my head filled with imagery, and then get to collaborate with you both to make something that captured a sliver of this world’s depth! Artistically I loved the intertwining of humans and the natural elements, and it felt exciting to think about how to portray that mysterious and beautiful connection!
You did an amazing job with capturing the mood and themes we were going for with the cover. What was your process?
The first thing I did in creating the rough piece was jot down some of the visual and emotional themes that stood out to me from the book. The interplay of dreams and water (obviously) played a huge part in thinking about the design, but there were so many other ancillary details that were exciting to think about incorporating in other ways.
I also really loved the collaborative aspect of the cover creation! I was inspired by hearing what you both were excited about, what imagery sparked you two as writers with beautiful imaginations, and the notes process was fun too because it made it feel so much more like we were creating it all together. I’m not gonna lie, I have been very spoiled by the two of you and your all-caps excited emails, haha!
When people look at this cover, what do you want them to think and feel?
A random thought that came to my mind is the conversations we (humans) have when we watch dogs that are sleeping, haha. We love to speculate so much about them running around in vast fields or finding their favorite toy. Unfortunately, Mera’s dreams are not so happy - they’re confusing and complex, full of unknown history. They pull her towards places she’s never been before. And I think dreaming can look deceptively calm, just like water can be! I hope that when people look at the cover they would also wonder and speculate about what’s happening under the surface. I also love the integration of the natural elements within the magic of this book, and tried to capture some of that within the cover art. So I hope that reader’s imaginations will be piqued as they dive into this beautifully written world!
Anything else you’d like to share with us?
Katherine and Rebecca are wonderful writers, inspiring creators, and thoughtful collaborators! I am so lucky to share friendship and work-ship with them and wow, if you get the chance at either of those you would be the luckiest duck! The next closest thing would be reading their book, so I highly recommend it.
Follow @doodlesbyallison on Instagram to see more of her beautiful work!
We didn’t even ASK her to say those nice things, but we’ll TAKE IT!!!!
Dear readers, thank you so much for reading and for being a part of this journey with us. We hope you are all as inspired and excited by this cover design as we have been.
Let the countdown to our book’s release begin! See you all in our next edition!