Duane Kolilis Henshin Book Cover Illustration and artwork by illustrator and artist Duncan Long

Last week’s book cover project involved creating an illustration and titling for Duane Kolilis’ novel Henshin. Since the book will initially be released in Kindle format, we had two concerns: That the picture look good at the lower resolution of the Kindle (which is about a third of a print picture of the same size), and that it look good on screens showing only gray-scale while also still looking good in color.

This caused several false starts with our original cover concept which was to have an illustration that showed the whole body of the main figure in the story. The result was dramatic, but didn’t translate into grayscale well, lost a lot of detail in the reduction to the size needed for Kindle, and the butterfly (a key element in the story) was lost altogether in the reduction or had to be placed in odd places making the layout a nightmare.

After a little disenchantment with what my results were, I went back to the old drawing board and created a new concept sketch with just the central elements of the story: The hand of the character dressed mummy like in rags, a Bowie knife, and the butterfly motif — the latter placed into the background like some ancient stencil on a wall.

I felt it worked and showed it to the author who loved it. Best of all, it should translate well into both the Kindle format as well as a print cover should the publisher decide to go that route. (Please note that the book cover illustration above is the print version of the title; the Kindle version of the book cover has slightly different dimensions to accommodate the screen of the ebook reader.)

So… another interesting and challenging illustration project completed with happy results. On to the next. I love this job.
Duncan Long is a freelance magazine and book illustrator for HarperCollins, PS Publishing, Pocket Books, Solomon Press, Fort Ross, ISFiC Press, and many other publishers and self-publishing authors, including those creating Kindle versions of their title. See his book illustrations at: http://DuncanLong.com/art.html