First, I start with a concept sketch. This is basically me getting an idea of what elements I want to use while coming up with the body language I will then mimic when I build her. I knew I wanted flames because the book deals with an arsonist.
Next, I start the process of layering shapes (literally rectangles, circles, triangles, etc) to get as close as I can to the position of the figure in my sketch before I start fine tuning. At this point, everything is still very rudimentary, at least until I feel good about the overall thing. She remains faceless/headless. She has the same face on every book, so that is a final detail.
After that, I start playing with the design elements to see if this is going to work:
...so I start experimenting with alternate arms:
While the above isn't right for this book, turns out it's PERFECT for an upcoming book, so you'll see that get developed into something at a later date. But okay, let's just put her hand on her other hip for now and move on. I've always loved a motorcycle jacket, so...
I love the jacket, but my sense of proportion kicks in, and I don't love those pants with it. But I'm wildly impressed that I built a motorcycle jacket out of triangles, squares, and trapezoids in the first place, so I'm keeping it. Plus, it does fit the story, since Samantha spends much of the time partnering up with Dante, who drives a motorcycle. Let's give her a skirt instead and try a couple of hairstyles:
I feel like I'm zeroing in on something, but still, the whole thing is too busy. Plus, that hand on hip still bothers me. Maybe if I drop her onto the rest of the cover, I'll get a better sense of what to keep and what to lose.
|Old cover fonts|
|New cover fonts|
The skirt's not quite right and that hand on the hip still bothers me! How about:
Yes! Now to give her a head and add the rest of the cover elements, including Logan, who fits perfectly in her helmet (which is way better than having him sit in the flames!):
And that's the cover for SOME LIKE IT HAUTE, #4 in the Style & Error Mystery Series, due out in January 2015. Here's the blurb:
Fashion expert Samantha Kidd is in the hot seat. After agreeing to help her ex-boyfriend’s former girlfriend with a runway show, she’s attacked backstage, landing in the hospital. But when a garment goes up in flames on the catwalk the day after the attack, the already explosive situation turns deadly. She recruits a smokin’ hot photographer to turn up the heat on the investigation, but even the third degree won’t expose an angry arsonist. With a crash course in sizzle, Samantha’s curiosity leads her into another inferno, and this time she either faces the fire or gets burned.
If you're like me and you grew up reading mysteries and playing with dolls, then leave a comment below and enter to win a copy of SAMANTHA KIDD PAPER DOLLS, featuring dolls and outfits from the first three Style & Error books.