The Last Viking Returns

Creating the Cover, Part 2- refining the design with Cate

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In last Tuesday’s post I showed the first tiny sketches for the cover. I also showed you a mockup I sent to Cate for feedback- here it is if you missed it.


She had a good look at it, and emailed me back to say that it looked like the different parts of the cover were competing for attention. If they were rearranged a bit it might look more balanced. She also said that brown generally doesn’t look good on a cover, so she switched the border to blue. She fiddled around with the different elements and sent the cover back to me, looking like this:


I liked the blue, and fading the Viking Gods worked really well to bring Josh more into focus in the foreground. I took Cate’s ideas and cleaned it up a bit, making the second raven darker and including some light beams behind the Viking Gods. I made three slightly different versions- we decided on the second option below.


The next step was to do some colour tests. I did two versions- one with darker colours behind Josh, and one with lighter colours behind Josh. I liked adding in the dramatic lighting behind the Gods too- it started to look a lot more like an adventure poster at this stage.


Cate liked the first one best, as the darker colours gave it more depth and helped to ground Josh and bring him to the fore. So, it was time to get started.

I did the final pencils:


…then added in the borders and backgrounds I’d prepared earlier.


However, after a bit of thought I decided it might not be a good idea to put the bullies on the back. Apart from being too nasty to deserve the attention, they could also confuse the potential reader. How is the reader going to know which character is Josh before they’ve read the book? They might think it’s one of the bullies. So I spoke to Cate, she agreed, and I replaced the bullies on the back with a picture of Josh from the title page.


At this point I was all ready to start colouring. I’ll show you how I did it next week.


Author: James Foley

James makes books for courageous kids. His books include 'The Amity Kids Adventures', 'In The Lion', 'The Last Viking'. A couple of these books have won awards. People have also bought copies, and for that he is grateful. His new book 'The Last Viking Returns' is out now. Follow James at , @James_R_Foley on twitter and instagram or at

One thought on “Creating the Cover, Part 2- refining the design with Cate

  1. Pingback: Creating the Cover Part 3- final colours « The Last Viking

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