Evolution of a Book Cover

A quick museum display on how the final (as in final, like I’m not making more changes, I swear) cover for One-Eyed Jacks came about.  (You know, that urban fantasy, crime-noir novel that’s up for pre-order right now…)

So it started with a sketch I made for what I was looking for.  Then I had to find an artist with much more talent than myself to make that sketched-out dream come true.

Years ago (2010, maybe?), my friend Dan Michael drew these two possible plans as further developments of the drawing I sent him at that time.  But, alas, 2010 wasn’t Jack’s year.


Jump ahead to this year, 2016.  I sent a new drawing with more Asian flare–the skeleton wore a samurai helmet–to Henry Ponciano, who had already done a fabulous job on the cover for my book Invasion.  He sent me three sketches to pick from:

henrysketches You can guess which I ultimately went with, though it wasn’t an easy decision!  He then worked that up to this png image, which has no background (as per my request):


Now, way back in the day, I used to have some talents for the visual arts.  Like in high school.  Maybe a little in college still, but since then…  If you don’t use it, you lose it, right?  So now I suck.  But I still like to try.  So I started playing with Henry’s awesome image and I came up with these book covers.  Well, these and at least a dozen others, of multiple fonts, colors, and styles, but these two I called “done”.


The one on the left has a great texture to it, but as Dan pointed out (still acting as a design consultant), it’s so rough that as an actual playing card, you’d never be able to shuffle it into the deck–it’d rub all the other cards the wrong way.  So I softened that a bit.  Then I changed fonts to make it look more like handwriting on an actual playing card, which I kind of liked.

Dan was working on this version (which I really like!) when my wife finished the one below:

In the midst of all this, my wife America decided she’d better help me out before I pushed out a could-have-been-awesome book cover with my own less-than-awesome design skills. So she put her considerable talents to use for me (*cough-cough-finally!-cough*) and produced the cool cover you see here.  And in a relatively short amount of time, too.  This is the cover now published by Fugitive Fiction:


I’ve actually skipped a few evolutionary steps here, but you get the idea.  There isn’t a huge difference from one to the next on the whole, but the overall effect of each is quite different.

To pre-order the ebook now at a reduced price (now through October 31st), click one of the links below:






If you’re reading this after Halloween, 2016, you can still use these links to find the book at its normal price, which is $4.99 (US).


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