Merry Christmas, All! Wait...I guess it's only June...but it feels like Christmas to me! That's because we have finally completed the cover for The Train Rolls On To The North Pole, and I'm so excited to share it with you! But first, here's a sneak peek into the cover creation process.
At the beginning of 2022, Illustrator Christina Wald created three concept sketches for the book's cover. Scroll through the photos below to view each concept:
At first glance, these concepts look pretty similar; however, if you look closely, there are important differences. Ultimately, I selected Concept 3 for the cover, and here's why:
I love that Santa and the elf are included in the picture (as opposed to Concept 2) but that they are not so big as to overshadow the train (as in Concept 1).
I like the look of the elf (more than Concept 1), to include the stack of gifts and how the elf and cardinal are looking at one another.
Finally, I like how Santa is interacting with one of the reindeer. It marries the characters and reinforces the book's teamwork theme.
After selecting Concept 3, Christina and I discussed making a few changes to the picture, to include dressing the cardinal in festive winter gear, adding features to each reindeer to distinguish their personalities, and making the wreath on the front of the train more visible. After two rounds of revisions, the cover sketch was complete (see the revised sketch below).
In order to convert the sketch to final art, Christina digitally-painted the cover using Photoshop. Here is what it looked like once she was finished:
Isn't it beautiful?! I love how dramatic the blue background is as well as the Christmassy details, from the lights and wreath on the train to the cardinal's scarf and earmuffs. Once again, Christina Wald has delivered a stunning cover- one that I am so proud to have my name on.
Speaking of that...
Once Christina finished the cover artwork, Book Designer Veronica Scott and I collaborated to finish the cover design. This entailed choosing font styles, font sizes and colors, and positioning the text, among other things. Our primary goal was to maintain consistency with the design of The Train Rolls On but still give this book a unique identity. That was a tougher job than I anticipated, but, as in the story, we ultimately persevered! After several rounds of revisions, we officially completed the cover design. Are you ready to see it?
DRUM ROLL PLEASE...
TA-DA! This is what the cover of the finished book will look like! Isn't it incredible?! I feel like a child on Christmas morning! I only hope that you are as excited as I am! 😊
Here's one more look at the whole cover creation process. Scroll through the photos below to watch the cover come to life!
Before we go, here's a side-by-side look at the covers for The Train Rolls On and The Train Rolls On To The North Pole:
And, just for fun, here's a look at some of the cover designs that we did NOT select for this book:
I like many of these designs, but I think we chose the right one! 😊
I cannot thank Christina and Veronica enough for their effort and dedication! They are wonderfully talented people, and they worked really hard to complete this amazing cover. I would especially like to thank Veronica, who joined this project pretty late in the game and had the difficult task of creating a fresh design that mirrored David Miles' design from the first book. That was a lot to ask on very short notice, and she handled it masterfully! I consider myself very fortunate to have her and Christina on my team!
For more information about Christina Wald, read my Illustrator Spotlight blog here. To learn more about Veronica Scott, check out my Book Designer Spotlight blog here. To review the cover creation process for The Train Rolls On, read my original Cover Reveal blog here.