Thursday, December 9, 2010

Blackveil - Cover Art for a Novel

Today features the step by step break down in how I approached a recent piece of cover art, just released by DAW books, for the novel Blackveil by Kristen Britain. It was an excellent read and a novel I can highly recommend from within the genre. Kristen is not a prolific writer, but she hits a home run each time. I was most entranced with her thoughts of a corrupted forest, the namesake of the title, which brought back associations with Mirkwood from Tolkien's Middle-Earth. Those of you who know me well will know anything which makes a connection to Middle-Earth is an instant winner in my book of creative inspirations!
As is typical with all my works I begin with abstracts, leading into a rough drawing to communicate and formalize the content with the art director. In this case the art director/editor, who happens to be the co-owner of the company, Betsy Wollheim!, requested a second round of sketches to better portray the main protagonist. After the rough is approved, I move, onto the photo shoot and reference gathering and lastly into the oil painting. Due to the rushed nature of this commission, I did not create a separate preliminary drawing, but rather mounted the rough drawing as a composition right on the board.
Final art 24" x 36"
Oil on Panel
2010
Enjoy!
Donato

13 comments:

  1. Wow, amazing! I always beat myself up because my initial sketches are really rough but it seems like that's just part of the flow. From your initial abstracts to your finished piece it's a real journey and I guess you just have to trust every step in getting there. Maybe that's my problem, I don't have enough faith in myself or the process. I hope this confidence builds up in time.

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  2. Beautiful painting.

    This really gives a new life to a black and white composition in my mind. I never quite saw that as an option before!

    How long do you normally spend working out abstracts and roughs before you go to the final painting?

    Thanks for sharing, Donato.

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  3. So when I mentioned sketch envy when commenting on Todd Lockwood's post... this is exactly what I meant, the sketches are soo loose, yet convey so much at a glance. I love that white owl popping out in the darkness. Thanks for the great post.

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  4. Just so good. Once you learn to paint you'll be amazing. Seriously, I've always wanted to ask what you're using as a medium.

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  5. Just saw one of your works on the main page of Concept Art World. You..ARE..A..Genius.It has this gorgeous tragic, Pre-Raphaelite feeling to it, I just adore it.

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  6. Brilliant work. Thanks for sharing the process!

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  7. The thing I like best about this one... the repetition of the striping in the trees where there is no bark and how it plays well with the light and dark characters.

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  8. Hi Donato,

    Thank you for sharing your work process on this painting. For the Owl and buildings, did you use a Gesso on the panel bd to get the white to "glow" or is that a white paint?

    [I'm not an oil painter...]

    Thank you,

    Mike P.

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  9. Thanks for sharing Donato!! Just wondering, how many days did you have for the entirety of this project?

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  10. I love this book cover! Thank you for sharing the process of it's creation. It's so fascinating! How did you choose the model(s)?

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  11. thanks for sharing! love the cover!

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  12. Thank you for putting this up! I love delving into artists' creative process! And I just love Kristen's series- your covers make it just right :)
    Jae

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