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Designing a Cover

First stages of creating a book cover

So how do you get from A to B when first designing a book cover for a children's nature book?

What we thought about when designing the cover

Sketchbook illustration idea for book cover by Claire Murthy

Our Top Ten

  • Size of the book; and whether portrait or landscape

  • Colours - maybe as seen by, or predominantly appealing to the bee

  • Focal Point

  • Eye catching

  • Illustrations fitting around the title

  • Capturing and conveying the content

  • Appealing to both adults and children

  • Showcasing Claire's artwork

  • Any little opportunity for teasers or humour?

  • Oh, and has to include our bee somewhere ....

Not to mention, posting artwork on social media

So, where does this leave posting unfinished work-in-progress online – such as sharing rough ideas from a sketchbook?

Sketchbook sketches are often raw ideas and messy work, mistakes and unplanned styles! That can be their beauty!

To help our bee book along, Claire will be posting more rough sketches of some of the elements that will be included in the book, but also links to videos and maybe podcasts, photos and snippets from published books and other work in progress. We think that including these different types of posts will help share our creative journey with anyone interested in writing/illustrating a children's book.

As well as showing some of the progress work here, later we will also have articles in magazines, sharing the process of creating the book.

Notes about the draft book cover illustration by Claire Murthy

Here’s some rough work, like the trees I recently posted, to give you a glimpse behind the scenes of work that goes into creating a children’s book, starting with an illustration of an idea for the book cover that I posted on social media recently along with some brief notes.

In this rough sketch you can see bulrushes and primroses, with some decorative hexagons in the borders. There's a farmhouse, a few trees and a higgledy fence across the field, and in the background a rainbow. There are pencil lines from the initial ideas jotted down before adding watercolours.

Just out of sight is some local wildlife - a rabbit and mouse - and there WAS a huge bee flying towards us from the middle of the page, which I have politely removed on account of it looking a little fierce - the main character will need to be imagined for a little longer!

You might be able to see where I've removed the bee - the colours look smoother, this has been done digitally.

The final illustrations may be enhanced in this way too - this will depend on how we want the finished book to look.


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