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Sunday, March 6, 2011

Cover Stories: The Secret Journeys Of Jack London by Christopher Golden and Tim Lebbon, Illustrated by Greg Ruth

In a special treat of a Cover Story, there are three people weighing in today. Here are Tim Lebbon (TL) and Christopher Golden (CG), the authors, and Greg Ruth (GR), the illustrator who did the cover (actually, editor Jordan Brown weighs in too, so it's the first ever four-person Cover Story!).

Did you have an idea in mind for your cover as you were writing the book?
TL: I think I always imagined the cover featuring Jack himself, probably in an action scene, although I'm always concerned at what a character might look in cases like this. Greg's final product exceeded my wildest expectation - there's so much power in that image, so much Wild, that it just took my breath away.

CG: I had been thinking of something almost antique and old-fashioned looking to go along with the Jack London era adventure tone. Greg managed to come up with something that served that desire while being totally contemporary and beautiful. We're lucky to have him on this. Despite warnings to the contrary, people often do judge books by their covers, and this one is a home run.

GR: I think the notion going in was to thread the needle between making a cover that was distinctly Jack London, but without actually showing Jack's face... which was of course the hard trick to manage. I needed then to make everything about the image a contributor to his character, and to that I did a number of initial sketches of him atop some snow ridge, either with his back to us, or facing us, but his face obscured by snow and light. We quickly settled on the former and worked it towards fulfilling the initial goal along those lines.

[Below, see two of Greg's eight intial sketches for the cover, at left, all very different ideas, these are the two to which we most gravitated. They loved the scale and the weight of the one with Jack looking out from the precipice, and also the intricate detail of the more close-up image of Jack's back. They asked if Greg could combine them a bit in a more refined sketch, and that one is on the far right:]

Did your publisher ask for your input before the art dept started working?
TL: We talked generalities about book design, the feel we wanted for it. But we didn't impose any restrictions, because we all had faith that Greg would come up with something wonderful..."

Read the rest of this epic Cover Story (and see more initial designs) at melissacwalker.com.

PS-The full post is part of a huge blog tour, so here's the full schedule in case you want to learn more!

Monday, February 28th
Little Willow at Bildungsroman

Tuesday, March 1st

Tuesday, March 8th
Martha Brockenbrough, author of Things That Make Us [Sic]


Little Willow said...

I've said it before and I'll say it again: The Secret Journeys of Jack London is an amazing series, and I'm so glad that it got a cover worthy of its contents. :)

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