Making the Cover (with Mary Toth)!

Becoming the Plagiarist by B.T. Higgins

Like any sane person, I judge a book like I judge a lasagna. Is there a generous layer of bubbling cheese on top? There should be! If no? Then I am suspicious. It might be a ‘healthy’ lasagna. There might be broccoli hidden down there. You never know. What else did they remove to make room for the kale?

A book is also filled with delicious layers and magical flavors, but unless there is a bubbling layer of cheese on the top it’s natural to be suspicious of its quality. What part of the book is the bubbling cheese? The cover. Of course.

Making the cover for Becoming the Plagiarist proved to be a lot of fun. I worked with Mary Toth illustration.

I thought it might be fun to share some of the concept art and steps that led to the final cover, which is revealed below:

Mary took some of my thoughts, concepts drawings, a selection of published covers that I admired and put them through her creative blender. The first step was thumbnails sketches. These drawings helped us visualize the cover without investing too much time in any one pose.

Here she made a sketch with more detail of one of the poses.

We finally decided on the standing pose, so she went to work on the next version. A week later, I received this more-detailed drawing. The cover started to take shape quickly.

I really liked it. It caught my eye. It gave hints about what the story might contain. Why does that kid have a magical looking walking stick? What are all those orbs above his head? Compared to my concept art, things were really starting to bubble. If you know what I mean?

Mary recreated the cover digitally. She added more detail. The background started to take shape.

Now it was time to add color. The options were many. Here she did a mock up of different options.

In the end, I chose my favorite colors like I was ordering a la cart from the color menu. It is amazing what can be done with digital painting. Here is what Mary sent back to me.

At this point, all we needed to add was the Title and Author.

Drum roll please!

The final cover for Becoming the Plagiarist!

Many thanks to Mary Toth Ilustrations!

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