Monday, January 18, 2010

Bringing UMS to Life

One of the most amazing experiences on my crazy road to publication has been the opportunity to work closely with Val Cox, the graphic artist Leap Books commissioned to create several illustrations for Freaksville by Kitty Keswick, as well as my book (a la my pen name, Judith Graves) Under My Skin.

From the moment I saw Val’s work, I knew she would get my characters and the paranormally infested town of Redgrave. Her illustrations celebrate the magical, the supernatural and are a blend of contrasting colours and gothic sensibilities. Plus, she appreciates the quirky and offbeat.

We started the process with a phone call / brainstorming session. From there I went through the UMS manuscript and found key scenes which would translate well into visuals and those that held the most drama. We had the go ahead to create ten images in total, so I had to be selective.

Then came the fun part. Providing Val with enough physical and personality descriptions for her to bring the UMS cast to life. There were several incarnations of Eryn McCain, the main character. Ultimately we funked up her hair and gave her such a stellar look, that I had to go back and tweak the manuscript to reflect her new image. Here's a very cool illo, Val calls, The Three. Eryn with her two love interests (Wade on the left, Alec on the right). I'm thrilled with the devil/angel over her shoulder concept as these guys appeal to very different facets of Eryn's half human/half paranorm nature.

I'm crazy about the final images and can’t wait to work with Val again on book two, Second Skin. Hopefully we’ll be able to add a few more illos. ;) You can find out more about Val from this Leap Books interview, and on her website.


Jonathon Arntson said...

Super neato! Thanks for the insight into the illustration process, it's been on my mind lately.

Leona said...

This is way past exciting! My heart rate increased when reading this I was so happy for you. Good luck!!