March 17, 2009

Evolution of a Book Cover

When I was first asked to illustrate the children's book "Hello Ocean", it had a different name. The author, Pam Munoz Ryan, had written a poem about a little girl experiencing the ocean through her five senses of sight, sound, smell, touch and taste and she had called the manuscript, "The Five of Me".
The publisher may have thought it was too vague and other possible titles were being tossed around. I was doing pencil sketches to illustrate the poem and this was the first sketch I did for the cover showing the little girl holding a starfish. I thought the starfish could be somewhat symbolic of the five senses.

I sketched a second one that looks over the girl's shoulder as she reaches for the starfish. At least this one showed a bit of the ocean. There are also five fingers, five toes, five shells and five seaweed leaves!

Coincidently, I sent them five sketches to choose from. I had the third sketch focus more on the ocean and I was getting ready to paint a nice beaming morning sky.

For a fourth sketch, I thought I'd give them my own suggestion for a title. In the five sections of the book, the little girl says that she loves how the ocean looks, she loves how the ocean sounds, she loves how the ocean feels, she loves how the ocean smells, and she loves how the ocean tastes. So I thought it might be beneficial to have a more emotional title like "I Love the Ocean!".

At the last minute, the editor at the publishing company said they had thought "Hello Ocean" would be a good title, which is the first two words the girl says when she arrives at the beach. This last sketch turned out to be the one they chose.

Also, sketch number two was a close runner-up and turned out to be the Title page which is the first page inside the book.

1 comment:

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