OMG. I am absolutely thrilled to be a part of this cover reveal for the fabulous and frighteningly talented author/illustrator Cat Scully! And this cover. You need to know more about this beauty before I show you because this is no ordinary cover, and this is no ordinary book! So...first, I asked Cat a few questions and you have to read these answers to understand the level of awesome you're dealing with here!
I would love to know how it all happened! Did you ask your publisher if you could do the illustrations? Did you show them your work and they loved it and said yes, illustrate your cover now!!!?
So, my first cover was a sketch that I sent to our cover designer to express what I wanted the cover to be. It was of two hands coming down around the title out of the darkness. I wanted it to represent the forces pursuing Jennifer, and her name absolutely had to be in gold. Without going into detail, let’s just say there’s a cost to her power. The cover designer at my publishing house, Dyer Wilk, saw it and went... No, you're good. You got this. I was like NO I DON'T. I DON'T GOT IT. I get very nervous about doing covers. There's so much pressure to get it right. He helped me through the process though, making me laugh along the way, and that really helped. The story doesn't stop there though. My agent saw that cover and went “It’s YA. Where is the girl?” Of course she was right. She’s very wise. I immediately came up with four or five alternate designs but none of them felt right. It wasn’t until my friend Todd Keisling, who is a cover designer and writer, suggested I take what I already did and put Jennifer in the middle. It was a stroke of genius! Everything clicked! I was nervous though. I am very self-conscious of my people designs, even though I’m doing part of it comic. A cover sells the book. I wanted to get it right. I made a kind of lineless version of Jennifer, which my friend Chris Golden pointed out to me looked actually more anime than lineless. So it was back to the drawing board again. I redid her face to reflect my character cards and BAM. That was it! That was the cover!
And what other art exactly have you done for the book?
It's part comic, part illustrated journal, part book. What’s going to be the most interesting thing to me will be seeing readers react to how many different styles of art are within Jennifer Strange. There’s a style I used, that’s all pencil with very light Photoshop additions, that was for the journal portions. I wanted Jennifer and Liz’s mother Emily to have her own way of drawing, being that her job is illustration and she’s using her art to warn her daughters about the ghosts and demons that hunt them. This style is entirely different to the comic portions, which feature Jennifer and Liz. I did all of these in Procreate, a digital iPad app, that created a more comic book style. I wanted that to feel very YA, as Jennifer and Liz are both teens and their world would absolutely be different than their mother’s interpretation of the monsters. It will be fun to show readers or even fans of my maps just how many styles as an artist I can hop between that look vastly different but it’s still all me. I’ve never seen this kind of thing done in YA before. It’s definitely going to break the mold in a very visual way.
Do you have to check in with your publisher with sketches or are you free to create?
I was totally free to create! Which I did not expect. I was totally blown away by the freedom. It's easy to get intimated by the blank page. I just started drawing and let it come to me. It took maybe eight drawings, but I got there!
Will you do my artwork for all my horrors!!!!?
HA HA Sure! I'd love to do more illustrated horror! Or any illustrated books for that matter! I love collaborating! I'm such an extrovert.
See, told you! Anyway, no more dallying. BEHOLD THIS GORGEOUS COVER!
And, if you head over to YA Books Central, there's a very special giveaway happening right now. Just click here!
Cat is a writer, designer, and illustrator. When she's not writing and illustrating books of her own, she works in publishing as a freelance designer and illustrator, best known for her world maps in LABYRINTH LOST and WINTERSPELL. Her first book, Jennifer Strange, is out on July 23, 2019. She lives outside Boston with her husband and children and very fluffy cat.You can follow Cat on Twitter or Instagram at @CatMScully or visit her website at www.catherinescully.com
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