Final with preliminary sketches below.
This is the final cover on this one. Without going into too much detail, suffice it to say that reptile skin figures in the plot. I wanted to find a way of showing that without resorting to photography. My initial idea was to cut out a scale pattern to form the letters. Perhaps it was the bright primary colours but it had a “lego” quality at thumbnail size that was sending the wrong message. I opted for a graphic pattern for the full cover with the type superimposed.
In most of my briefs for University Press covers, available reference material is included – usually in the form of illustrations from the manuscript. They are almost always in black and white. The challenge is always to find an interesting way of incorporating them, using layout and colour. For this cover the illustration below was supplied as possible cover material.