Here is my illustration and design for Empire’s Child, the début science fiction novel by Nick Lewis.
Nick’s work has previously featured in the two Visionary anthologies published by the British Interplanetary Society, to which I also provided the cover art.
The ebook and paperback editions of Empire’s Child is now available for pre-order on Amazon.
Humanity is old. Long, long ago It re-engineered the Galaxy for its own convenience. Empires have risen, empires have fallen. Technologies close to magic have come and gone.
But the need for cabbages remains. Threnador is one of the poor agricultural worlds supplying food to the richer worlds of the Confraternity, until, one day, Time stops on Threnador. All trade with the Galaxy ceases.
A young woman, Mihana, tries to find out why. Befriending an intelligent, shape-shifting craft, she flies it across her world and beyond. Ride with her and uncover the truth behind a three-thousand-year-old chase whose consequences have shaped her life, and which has treated Threnador as collateral damage.
New cover art! Station Down is the forthcoming science fiction novel from Alice Sabo. I’ve worked with Alice long enough now to bypass the concept sketch stage of work and just dive into the final artwork. We always enjoy a fruitful author/artist relationship, which is one of the keys to success of getting the cover art you want on the front of your book.
My latest cover illustration is for Terry Grimwood’s forthcoming SF novel Interference, which is will be published by Elsewhen Press. For this cover, Terry wanted to depict an alien world with a red, burning sun. The scene is within a city, which is made up of tall, curved featureless buildings.
I recently completed the cover art for Alice Sabo’s new book, Circuit Breaker. It’s the second title in her Children of a Changed World series, and follows the map-based design established with the first book, Willow’s Run.
The main different with this cover was I decided to draw the original map element in ink, rather than digitally.
Gardens of Earth by Mark Iles is the first book of The Sundering Chronicles, coming soon from Elsewhen Press.
Elsewhen contacted me to illustrate the cover, as they knew it would be a good match for my style, having worked together on several previous occasions. Gardens of Earth literally spans several genres – the story tackles alien war, a future that may be considered either dystopian or utopian, a protagonist dealing with personal demons, the remnants of Earth’s inhabitants now living in a sparse society under the watchful eye of the strange plant-like Spooks, and returning human colonists intent on reclaiming the Earth.
While you might primarily consider Gardens of Earth to be a science fiction novel, elements of myth and magic fantasy are also present. So how do you represent all this in a single cover image?
You don’t even try! A cluttered book cover with too many elements fighting for attention never looks good. We knew this of course, so the challenge for this cover was to come up with an image that would set an overall tone for the book and draw the reader in via a single snapshot.
An email conversation between myself, Mark and Elsewhen resulted in a couple of concepts being discussed. The first was the view of a greener Earth with some of the Spooks closing in. We also looked at the idea of our protagonist and female humanoid companion staring out over a vista of forestry and simple human settlements, again with the Spooks looming on the horizon.
I worked up rough sketches for both, and we agreed the version showing the two figures was the right approach – however Mark wanted to see a city backdrop rather than forestry. Cityscapes have long been a recurring theme in my artwork, so it was a concept I was immediately comfortable with.
Mark had also gone over some specific, minor details – such as the insigia we see on the female’s left shoulder or the pilot’s commando knife at thigh level. Their coveralls were also to be dark green, which for me, set the colour palette for the overall scene. I wanted some atmospheric, hazy light that could be either sunset or sunrise, and chose a palette of turquoise through to yellow – the green tones in between also linked back to the greener world featured in parts of the story.
The team at Elsewhen had already chosen a typeface for the series, so we worked together to agree on the most effective layout. I suggested having the title in a dark blue to contrast the illustration but also match the darkest colours present – this little touch glued it all together. My original illustration extended beyond the cover format, so we were able to extend it around the spine and on to the back of the book.
Gardens of Earth is available to pre-order as an eBook on 6th August, and will be out in paperback in October. Keep an eye on the Elsewhen Press website or social media pages for further details!
My piece, Into Battle graces the cover of issue 24 of Shoreline of Infinity Magazine – Edinburgh’s finest science fiction publication. I had the pleasure of illustrating an interior piece in their first issue some six years ago, so it’s great to be back!
To get your copy or find out more, visit the Shoreline of Infinitywebsite.
Another cover reveal in the same week – this time a brand new piece for Entangled, the latest instalment of Alice Sabo’s “Transmutation” space opera series.
You can keep up with Alice’s work over on her Facebook page.
I’m pleased to announce my illustration Daybreak features as the cover art to an exciting forthcoming SF anthology from NewCon Press – Best of British Science Fiction 2020. The book is edited by Donna Bond and features a wealth of contemporary science fiction authors including Mike Carey and Anne Charnock as well as the BSFA Award-winning short story, Infinite Tea in the Demara Café.
Best of British Science Fiction 2020 is now up for pre-order on the NewCon Press website.
Here is my latest cover art for Alice Sabo’s forthcoming book, Willow’s Run. This cover is quite different to what we’ve done before, which made a refreshing challenge. Our first idea didn’t work out, but then Alice changed direction and the title of the book! We agreed that the new cover should feature a map with a few subtle items from the story overlaid.
For more information about Alice’s books and to keep up with the latest news, you can follow her on Facebook.
I’m delighted to reveal my cover art for The Call of the Aïdin Planet, by L.Z.Dàin – book one of The Legacy Saga from Seattle-based publisher, Tales of the Horizon.
“Nine-hundred thousand years ago, seven Galactic Humans discover a mysterious Time singularity on planet Earth. But, obscure powers beyond the many worlds of the Galactic Union will not stop until they control it. Thus, the seven must make a choice, a choice that will not only affect their evolutionary future but the destiny of Earth itself.”
As much as I love the opportunity to come up with initial ideas for a cover, I really like it when the author or publisher have a clear vision of what they’d like on the cover. It is their book after all! Sometimes this process can be flexible, depending on what ideas I may have or that I feel could add impact, and on other occasions, simply my own interpretation of the initial brief does the job. It is important to me that the finished work is typical of my style and approach to a distinctive cover but more importantly, what I come up with has to match their vision – and good collaboration and communication is key to that. The cover for this book is a fine example of a project perfectly coming together, despite us being on opposite sides of the globe!
Even when there’s a clear brief, I’ll always work up a quick black & white sketch, to make sure the composition and my interpretation are correct.
Finally, I took the various elements of the illustration and created an animated reveal for the cover art:
The Call of the Aïdin Planet is available in paperback and ebook via Amazon. Further details about Tales of the Horizon can be found on their website.