Cover Art Evolution – Zack Jackson, part 11

With the front cover done, Scott Sava embarked upon the back cover. In one way, the back cover was easier: no characters. In another way, it was more difficult: he was more comfortable with figures than with landscapes.

The first idea continues the cliffs in the background and shows the crashed escape pod which deposited the children on Bestic. I liked the idea, and described to Scott the scene he would be depicting:

“The ship they crash in is their cabin from the larger ship. Each cabin is designed to act as a lifeboat/escape pod in the event of an emergency. I don’t think I described in detail what it looked like when it was detached from the ship, but by the time they exit, it’s resting up against one of the fungus tree things after tumbling down part of the mountain in an avalanche. The retrieval locator beacon on top of the pod is broken.”

We then felt that might be a little too much detail for the back cover. Designing artwork for the back cover is tricky because most of it will be covered up by the ISBN number, barcode, pricing information, cover blurb, etc. It’s artwork that will only fully be appreciated if you don’t see it in the context of the book for which it was created. That doesn’t mean you should just phone it in, but you have to be aware that most of it, to most of the world, is going to be obscured.

So, we went back to the original idea: the forest of vaguely mushroom-looking trees. It’s a little less complex than the first time we tinkered with this idea. The idea of a forest of giant mushrooms isn’t new, but I’ll be darned if a little poking around didn’t reveal that things like this actually exist on this very plant!

Dracaena cinnabari, the Socotra Dragon Tree, or Blood Dragon Tree grows on an archipelago in the Indian Ocean. The real plant is not a fungus. Mine are. Sort of. Anyway, they’re visually similar, proving once again, there’s nothing new under the sun, even when it’s an alien sun.

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