From Concept to Cover

One of the advantages of being an author with a small press is that Stuart gets to work with artists to create his own cover art. Stuart has had the incredible good fortune to be able to work with Henning Ludvigsen who has created covers for both Project U.L.F. and the upcoming second book in the series, Project U.L.F. - Reacquisition.

Working with Henning has always been a collaborative and enjoyable experience, so here Stuart shares the process in creating the cover for the second book, from his initial design sketches to the completed artwork.

Stuart Says:

Long before I had even finished the manuscript for "Reacquisition" I had an idea of the scene I wanted portrayed on the cover of the book. Two of my characters, a trapper named Travis and a civilian called Helen, are in a sewer tunnel and fleeing from a reptilian alien called a puglion.

you can see from my preliminary sketches I'm a terrible artist, but these were the three sketches I sent to Henning. One outlines the final cover image, another shows the trappers helmet in more detail and a third details the trappers weapon - the quad-sys gun with it's four way firing mechanism.
As well as sending my sketches, I also send Henning reference pictures to give him an idea of what I am thinking of for certain aspects of the image.

To see these images in greater detail, zoom in by holding down the Ctrl key and scrolling your mouse wheel.

Henning sent back this initial sketch and to my great surprise and delight, had modelled the quad-sys gun in 3D Studio Max

I was thrilled with this initial sketch. Henning seems to innately know the kind of thing I am looking for and translates my concepts into fantastic art. My only feedback at this stage was that Helen, the female character is blind and is stumbling forward and as a result, Travis needed to be grasping her arm and steadying her as they fled.

The next work in progress came back with the corrections.

Henning had added a lot more detail to this version, refining some of the characters' clothing, adding dozens of rats to the scene and texturing the water surface. At this point the artwork was really starting to come alive. Again, I had some feedback. The scene needed more rats. In the manuscript there were literally hundreds of rats fleeing down the tunnel. Also, the trappers in my novels carry full back packs of equipment and here it looked like Travis was just carrying a satchel. I requested Henning made the changes.

Now the grayscale version was complete, and it was simply a matter of adding color.

Finally, the finishing touches. I didn't like the color of the back pack straps and asked Henning to make everything a uniform, US Army green. Also, since Travis was a veteran trapper, I wanted his helmet to look like it had seen some action, so Henning added some light damage, scratches and scuffs.

All images remain the copyright of Stuart Clark and Henning Ludvigsen.
No unauthorized reproduction.