“Blameless”, or “How To Design A Cover in 1:55 seconds”

As you guys know, your friendly neighborhood Creative Director has been slaving away at the Fall 2010/Winter 2011 Orbit covers (yes, we work that far in advance) and now that the covers are (mostly) done I’ve started to launch them on the blog for your viewing pleasure, and general online critique. Well, I have a special treat above for devoted Orbit fans, cover design aficionados, and especially admirers of Ms. Alexia Tarabotti, heroine of Soulless. Timed to celebrate this month’s release of Changeless, Alexia Tarabotti’s second adventure, I have a special Making of the Cover Video for the next book, due out in September 2010, Blameless.

Over 6 hours of my onscreen compositing, retouching, color correction, type obsessing, all condensed down to a slim sexy one minute 55 seconds of cover design. Trust me, no one wants to watch it in real-time…and even then I left out the not-as-riveting-onscreen stages of my cover design process, such as reading the manuscript, sifting through Alexia photoshoot outtakes, background photo research, etc. And since this is a series look that has already been established for Soulless and Changeless, there weren’t the usual batches and rounds of versions of different designs that happen with standalone or first-in-a-new-series covers. That would be a weeklong video!

I of course just want to mention and thank everyone who worked on the cover or video: First, our Alexia: Donna Ricci, goth/steampunk supermodel and proprietress of Clockwork Couture, a fabulous place to shop for all kinds of fun steampunk clothing and accessories. (You can even buy many items Alexia has worn on her covers thus far. And an awesome octopus parasol I’ve been coveting.) Also the photographer of the cover, Tiny Dragon Productions. Also I cannot leave out the fabulous Eric Westpheling, whose work you might recall from this Philip Palmer’s Version 43 cover. And of course, thank you to the author, Gail Carriger, for writing such fun stories that we could have so much fun packaging.

I know you guys have been really into the little bit of behind-the-scenes action I was able to sneak in during my first year at Orbit, when I was kind of hanging on by my fingernails and not able to plan ahead so much. So hang on folks, this is only the beginning of a lot more fun art fabulousness on the blog. I hope you enjoy. And now, hopefully, my parents will finally understand just what it is I do all day.