Cover Reveal: The Babylon Eye!

Everything’s ready for The Babylon Eye launch, including the final cover design. Here it is:

babylon-eye-real-book

The Babylon Eye is a science fiction novel set in an alternate version of Cape Town, South Africa, a world in which the divisions between nature and technology are blurred. The setting, the Babylon Eye, is a  town set in the portal between two worlds. The technologies of both worlds combine to create cyber-beings and bio-mechanical hybrids.

And what is the story about? Here is the description:

Meisje is no ordinary dog. She’s a gardag, a cybernetically enhanced living weapon. She’s also lost, hungry, and lonely. Elke Veraart is on Meisje’s trail. If she can find the dog she’ll win back her own freedom. If she fails she’ll be sent back to prison.

As she closes in on the gardag, Elke finds her admiration for Meisje growing. And Meisje, weak with hunger, begins to wonder if she could trust the woman who is hunting her. Then Elke discovers that there are other hunters searching for the gardag and that her orders have changed. She no longer has to find Meisje. She has to kill her.

If you’d like to be notified when The Babylon Eye is published, you can sign up for my mailing list. I only use it when I launch a book (about once a year) so you won’t be inundated with emails 🙂

The Babylon Eye Cover: discarded designs

I don’t think I’ve ever gone through so many different versions when designing a book cover! The Babylon Eye went through quite a few look and title changes.  Since I’ll soon be doing the cover reveal for this book, I thought I’d share some of the discarded designs. Keep in mind that the look of the design isn’t the only criterion, it has to convey the genre, set up reader expectations for the tone of the book and also be adaptable enough so that it’s possible to make tie in the sequel’s cover.

First attempt: at this stage the title was just Babylon Eye (no “The”) The dog is too flat and a bit clumsily drawn. Also not to sure of that title typeface!

cover-wip-5

In the next one the dog’s pose was inspired by the Persian bull mosaics from the Ishtar gate (there’s an Ishtar gate in the story).  The main problem with this design is that it doesn’t really convey that the book is science fiction.

bull

cover-wip-4

Something completely different for the next one. I’m not very fond of books that show the characters on the cover myself, but it’s a popular look. But my attempt doesn’t really work. It hovers uneasily between a sort of children’s book look, and something a bit more serious. I also really don’t like the fake plasticy gold of the title.  And Meisje (the dog) looks a too goofy!

cover-wip-3

At this stage I was spinning my wheels and trying out different titles. The ghostly author name in the top left is not intentional!

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My next idea was to focus on the main character. Yet again, a title change.  This isn’t too bad but it doesn’t feel right for this particular book. I liked the typefaces though.

cover-wip-2

And after many more attempts, I ended up with my final design and title. Watch this space for my cover reveal 🙂

If you’d like to be notified when The Babylon Eye is published you can sign up for my mailing list. I only use it when I launch a book (about once a year) so you won’t be inundated with emails 🙂

Skulls

Have finished the first draft of my latest book (a whole new story, not a sequel to anything I’ve written before!).  Listening to Patrick Rothfuss’s “The Name of the Wind” while doodling on Photoshop.

skull skull2 skull3 skull4

The Swan Drawing

This might be my final illustration for Wolf Logic.  I’ve not posted all the illustrations on here…got to save some surprises for the book itself!

swan

Insects and Squid: More Wolf Logic drawings

Here are some more illustrations-in-progress for my book Wolf Logic.  These really are unfinished!

This one is of a “lacefester” which is a creature that appears early in the story. Not very dangerous, but better left alone. It has the ability to create a mesmerizing hologram between its antennae, to distract potential enemies.  It’s much sought after for the powders and talismans that can be made from its dried body, so there aren’t that many of them around any more.

lacefester_wip2

Gia spends a lot of time cutting up squid in this story. So I had to draw that too, of course:

squid-wip

Illustrations in progress for Wolf Logic

I’ve finished writing Wolf Logic.  (Or I hope I have, I’m still waiting for some feedback from my critique partners so we’ll see what happens then!)

In the meantime, I’ve started on the drawings for the book.  Here are some I’ve already shared, but redrawn.  Billy and Spyker:

Billy is a big guy, but very gentle, generous, and good natured. He’s not quite human, having a bit of bear in him. He loves surfing, helping his friend Spyker to create street art, and he funds this by selling illicit and stolen magical technology.  He’s not the most responsible of people, but he has a warm heart.

billy-work-in-progress

 

Spyker is not as easy to get on with as Billy is, and I suspect Billy is his only friend.  He is an artist, creating magnificent graffiti pieces that Billy enhances with lighting and other electronic flourishes.  Spyker can climb like a gecko, and has an affinity for electricity – he can shock you with a pinch. He’s not very reliable, and cares only for himself.  But you can get on his good side by admiring his artwork.

spyker-work-in-progress

Spyker Work in progress

Some more work on a character design – a little person who might be called “Spyker”. Not sure of that name yet.  He has an affinity with electricity, and is a thief, as well as a graffiti artist.

spyker-work-in-progress2

 

The speckles on his skin might change – I’m not sure if he has patterns, or pimples 🙂

In which I meet Three Thieves

Sometimes, when I get a bit stuck with my writing, it helps to draw the characters.  These are for my current work in progress, which is the sequel to Crooks and Straights.  I knew one of my characters had to have an unexpected meeting late at night, but I didn’t know who he would run into.  So I started drawing, and these three guys emerged:

three-thieves2

 

I don’t know their names yet – Brendon says the big guy is called “Billy Bong”.  All I know is that they are thieves, that the big one is calm and even tempered, the little one is suspicious and has a nasty temper, and the creature is the sensible one of the group.

Cover Reveal for Crooks and Straights!

 The book is finished.  All I have to do is format it and insert the illustrations.  And then…publish!  (If you want to be notified when this book is launched, please join my new release mailing list.  The ebook will be released first, and the print version some time later.)

Here is the cover – which took me simply ages to get right.

Crooks_and_straights_cover

 

Just to give an idea, here is just a small sample of the contortions I went through to arrive at this design 🙂  First, a very “Deon Meyer” looking cover with a image of the neighbourhood that the book is set in.

coverprogress1

 

Then a starry one that looks far too much like a children’s story. Or maybe not.  What on earth does this look like?

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Then, a much more dreamy one featuring the full moon, which is an important symbol in this story. Also – I found the right typeface.

coverprogress5

 

…but the moon is not as important as other things!  Must have a  captured swan, and drops of blood!  Things start falling apart a bit here:

coverprogress4

 

Nope, that didn’t work, although I like the blue, red and white.  Maybe a combination of the swan, and Deon Meyer?

coverprogress2

 

People said they could not figure out that it IS a swan.  Maybe if I zoom in on the thing, it will be better?

coverprogress6

 

No.  Not working.  Need a completely different direction.

coverprogress7

 

And after much fiddling, and combining with this image below, I arrived at the final cover, which is the one you see right at the top of this post 🙂 .

rockdoll
And that’s that!  Such a relief to have it all done.

 

Digital Strange

I do my illustrations on Photoshop – often in many layers.  This can create some strange effects.  Here I switched on all the layers of multiple illustration projects in one Photoshop file, so that multiple drawings are superimposed over one another.  Quite evocative 🙂

layers

Two more creatures from Crooks and Straights

Two more creature-portraits from Crooks and Straights.

This is a haarskeerder – a kind of fae.  They are winged, and live in communal nests very similar to the way wasps do.  They line their homes with anything soft – including human hair (hence their name) and they like collecting small glittering objects.  They can be dangerous, as they have the ability to hypnotise any human that threatens their nest.

haarskeerder_progress

This is Paddavis, a household spirit similar to a brownie or a niss.  He is originally from Ireland, but has lived in South Africa for many years now.  He still gets sunburnt though!  Not the most reliable creature, he likes stealing food out of cupboards and leaving mouse droppings behind to cast the blame of his thefts elsewhere.

 

paddavis_process2

Character drawings: Nico and Brakman

More illustrations in progress for “Crooks and Straights”
This is Nico, my main character’s younger brother.  The book is pretty much about her attempts to protect him from danger.

nico_progress

 

This is Brakman, a poor old man who used to be a werewolf.  Now he makes his living as a IT guy and does a bit of hacking on the side, if anyone is willing to pay him.brakman_progress

Tea-cup Genie

More work in progress – illustrations for my book Crooks and Straights.

This is of a teacup genie.  It’s not finished yet, but nearly there.  At first I got the face all wrong.  Far too serene for this character.

geni

Second attempt is better, but now he looks a bit too wise:

geni-face

The teacup was fun to do:

geni-progress

geni-progress2

Not finished yet – but it’s looking a lot better now.  Struggling a bit with all the pale shades of grey.  I think his face needs a bit more work…

geni-progress4

 

 

Slow, slow progress of an illustration

This drawing gave me trouble.  I finally figured out that the composition wasn’t working and after I cropped it, things became better.

doll

I wanted to use shades of grey this time round, rather than just black and white as in my previous book illustrations. First try didn’t go that well:

doll_progress2

I went back to the text and found that there’s supposed to be a newspaper on the table under her, so that helped with the background.

doll_progress3

It’s not finished yet, but mostly there.  Time to move onto a new drawing.

doll_progress4

 

Geni gets a new face

More new drawings for “Crooks and Straights”.  This is of a geni  –  but I got his face wrong the first time round.  Below is the second attempt.  He’s supposed to be plump and quite friendly.
geni

geni-face

 

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