In the past two years, I had the privilege to collaborate with Alladin Books, one of the children's-book imprints owned by Simon & Schuster, on the covers of Ethan Marcus books by Michele Weber Hurwitz. Great fun creating the characters visual look based on Michele words. Thanks to Laura Lyn DiSiena for the commission and the straight to the point art direction.
In the first book, Ethan, the main character, tired of sitting in school all day, invents a desk-evator for the school's Invention Day competition. Based on that, the lettering reflects how would look a kid's DIY project, with random wood boards, nails, screws and duct tape all over the place.
The overlapping illustrations show that Ethan is doing something out of character by starting this sort of protest against sitting in class all day. From the usual all day position to the "that's enough" moment.
Nothing like a good old sibling rivalry. Erin doesn't have the patience for her brother's non-sense and in the book their relationship reaches an all-time low.
Some sketches and vector handles craziness just to show a bit of the creation process. The original title "Makers vs Fakers" was, in the end, replace by "Ethan Marcus Stands Up". The lettering was given the same graphic treatment, but personally, I'm more fond of the first title.
The first book cover with all elements put together. Ethan pushed his sister to the back cover, she's not happy about it.
In the second book, Ethan and Erin receive invitations to attend a prestigious tech/maker camp during winter break of seventh grade. The DIY approach of the first lettering is replaced with a more rigorous and techie look achieved with the help of motherboard texture.
The client asked that the main illustration was focused on both siblings and their rivalry, with Ethan and Erin back to back in the main colour. Introducing, in the secondary colour, their partners in the tech fair contest, to show the teamwork aspect of the story.
For this one, I was asked to create the visual for Marlon Romanov, who also appeared in the previous book as Erin's arch enemy and tech genius.
More sketches and vector handles craziness. The final cover is great, but I still think my first approach (on the left) would also be a good choice. Love the character poses and the idea of a blueprint/sketch title and annotations, as if it were done by Ethan.
We can see also Marlon's sketch evolution, the first one was too much of a Grease John Travolta look. :)
And here it is, the final graphic arrangement. Marlon is hiding in the back being deceivious, as a good antagonist should be.