I’ve officially signed a cover artist for The Darkening Dream. His name is Cliff Nielsen and he’s a very experienced artist using a cool ethereal multimedia style. You can check out his work on his website but I pasted two into this post. I originally found him though this image of the dude with the watch. I was searching the web for “clockwork men” since the villains in my second novel, Untimed, are… you guessed it… clockwork men. Google brought up this image and I had to find out who the artist was. Then I discovered I already owned a decent collection of books he drew the covers for (e.g. City of Bones, which I reviewed recently).
A lot of covers these days are just simple photos (like my homebrew tree cover below) or stenciled vector art. But I’ve always been partial to “painted” covers, so in researching cover design options I kept coming back to commissioning an original illustration. Perhaps it’s because of my early years as a 70s and 80s Science Fiction and Fantasy reader, where nearly every cover was painted. Back then, photographic covers were always a sign of some cheesy film tie-in.
In any case, Cliff’s art resonated well with my own style. Although it must be noted that the above clockwork man is far too 19th century for the mysterious “Tick-Tocks” in my second book (who blend their outfits into whatever era they visit), but it’s still a great image and very evocative.
So Cliff is reading/skimming the book and I hope to have some content sketches back shortly. I can’t wait. One of the best things about working with artists (and I was fortunate to have worked with dozens of great ones at Naughty Dog and my other companies) is seeing your ideas realized in a visual form.