This is the blog of children's book author and third grade teacher, Stacy Barnett Mozer. I blog about my own writing journey, the journey of other kidlit authors, my classroom, and talk about books. Thanks for stopping by. Your thoughts are always welcome (and encouraged).

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Perfect Trip Cover Reveal Interview with Designer Lois Bradley

I'm so excited to reveal the cover of my new book, THE PERFECT TRIP. Here to celebrate is my cover artist Lois Bradley.

Lois was hired by Spellbound River Press to fix my self-published cover for THE SWEET SPOT last year. She ended up coming up with a brand new design for the first book, which I adore. When it was time to create the cover for the second book, there was no question that Lois would be the one to bring my characters’ to life. 

Lois Bradley has worked in a variety of roles on more than 14 traditionally and independently published book projects. You can view her artwork and illustrations at loisbradley.com. 

Hi Lois. Thanks for joining me today. When did you decide to be an illustrator?

I was one of those kids who was always doodling in the margins. When I was in 3rd grade, I drew a diagram of a factory and was so pleased with the results that I glued it to the wall in my parents' living room.
Fortunately, my parents were able to gently redirect my efforts into a more aesthetically appropriate venue for my creative endeavors. About this time, I decided that anything that involved drawing and painting was going to be a focus in my life. I have been a gallery-represented artist since high school and joined SCBWI (Society for Children's Book Writers and Illustrators) about 10 years ago. It was after joining the group that I focused on writing and illustrating children's literature.

What do you like best about creating book covers?

The layers of complexity that coalesce into a book cover hold immense appeal for me. Each separate element the colors, the font choice, proportions, and even the subtle placement of each element conveys meaning.  The challenge is to create something that draws a reader in at a glance. The reward is when the cover accomplishes this. The creation of a book cover is never a solo endeavor since it involves the input of other creatives (the author, the art director, the editor). This collaborative process, while at times a little frustrating, usually results in a stronger cover. I enjoy the evolution of the project.

What was your process like when you were working on the covers for The Sweet Spot and The Perfect Trip?

The first step in the process of creating a book cover is gathering data. I try to ask a lot of questions about the manuscript, the main character, and the major crisis points in the manuscript to begin to identify possible images for the book. In addition to physical characteristics of the main character(s), it is critical to know what he or she wants, who else is involved, and where the action takes place. Usually this is accomplished through email with the editor or author.

Once I have a handle on the details, I gather reference materials, which are usually photographs. For The Sweet Spot and The Perfect Trip, this involved photos of baseball players, boats, baseball fields, and old baseball promotional posters and advertising images. Even when the final illustrations are not photo-realistic, accurate details matter! I tape copies of related images and relevant materials around my work area, then begin to sketch. There is numerous back and forth emails with scanned sketches when small (and sometimes large) details are hammered out. Once the final sketch had been approved, I begin to paint.

What mediums did you use?

In The Sweet Spot and The Perfect Trip, the artwork is a combination of watercolor painting and digital painting in Adobe Photoshop. The primary images featured in the medallions on the cover of each book were done in traditional watercolor on Arches watercolor paper, then scanned into a digital image and color corrected in Photoshop. The painting and the digital background layers were merged into a single piece of artwork in Photoshop.

Is there any advice you would give an artist just starting out?

The best advice I ever received regarding illustration was to join SCBWI.
It allowed me the chance to interact with published illustrators as well
as providing a wealth of information on how to pursue a career in the field. I would also say that as soon as you have a solid body of work/portfolio, make sure you have a web presence so editors and art directors can find you on the internet. It is possible to get website up on a budget, but it is a necessary evil in today's publishing market. Once the website is live, make sure to update it at least once a month to show your current projects and work. Patience, persistence, and a good sense of the absurd is essential to working in the illustration field. Competence with Photoshop is a bonus!

Now that you know about the cover’s creator, here it is - the cover for THE PERFECT TRIP!

About the Book:
Sam Barrette’s life is finally going in the right direction. She’s made the boys' travel baseball team, her friendship with Mike is turning into something more, and she’s even connected with her stepmother. But a cross-country family camping trip filled with secrets and surprises challenges everything she thought she knew about what the future will hold. To save her dreams, Sam must find a way to fix her perfect trip.

Want to win an ARC of The Perfect Trip? Sign up here:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

I’d also love to see you tonight at the Spellbound River StockingStuffer Party online on Facebook. During the event there will be another opportunity to win an ARC of The Perfect Trip along with other incredible prizes, including a $50 Amazon gift card.

And don’t forget to say you want to read The Perfect Trip on Goodreads to help get the word out about the book.

Do you have questions about the cover or the book? Ask them!

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