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Inception to Reality – Cover Evolutions Through Original Art

A book cover's transformation from idea to reality

Last week I posted about a series of paintings that I have been working on since this whole Covid 19 thing took over. I tend to paint in spurts, going for long periods without doing much visual art and then doing a lot all at once.

One thing I’ve been known to do in the past is create inspirational paintings for my books. I could call them ‘covers’ although they’ve never actually ended up as such. (And probably shouldn’t!) However, as I was thinking about it, I thought it was an interesting process.

Here are examples of several of my books along with their inspirational paintings as well how their covers have evolved over time…

CONSPIRACY OF BONES (And the Beat Goes On)

My painting shows a rather tribal looking man, a city scape and a pterodactyl. I mentioned all these elements to the cover designer when the original cover was being designed, and you can see all of them there. For mother’s day that year, one of my daughters gave me a playmobil pterodactyl which was super fun. The new republished version has all three elements and the colour scheme is closer to what I had originally imagined.


I have to admit I really like this painting. In fact, it is hanging in my living room! I wanted the colour scheme to match the first book, above, in case they ever came out in a boxed set. That hasn’t happened, and maybe never will. In any case, the original cover when it was first published did not follow the scheme at all but does have the saxophone in a prominent position. The publishing company also put the painting on the back cover. I submitted it as an idea which they obviously didn’t use, but perhaps they thought it had enough merit to show up somewhere! When I got the rights back and rereleased the book a few years ago, I came up with a cover that in retrospect did not look very professional. I never had any copies made, thankfully. It has since gone through two more changes, which look much more professional and are more in keeping with ‘Conspiracy’ in terms of lettering and colour. (Still thinking about that boxed set!)


When I started this painting I envisioned four quadrants with the buffalo skull in the middle. When I actually started painting, it just didn’t work out that way! I didn’t actually look at a buffalo skull, either, so I’m sure it isn’t exactly correct or to proportion, but I like the effect anyway. As you can see, the cover did not turn out the same at all, but I still really like this painting. It has an earthiness that appeals to me. I’ve come to realize, however, that being a visual artist and a cover artist are two very different skill sets! I tucked the cover of Lone Wolf in this photo, too. It is only available in ebook version, but the cover designer for this publisher tried to make the two books have enough in common since they are a series. IF I every get around to finishing Book 3 (yes, it is partially finished on my computer) I hope to find another designer who can carry on this same look.


Last in today’s post is the wonderful cover for My Mother the Man-Eater. When it was first published, it was up for a cover award. It didn’t win, unfortunately, and I can’t even remember who nominated it or for which awards, but in any case, I like it a lot. I think it still looks very current even though it is ten years old. Unfortunately, that also means it can no longer be purchased as a paperback. I have been mulling over whether I should republish it, as I have done wth some of my other books, but so far I haven’t found the time. (Or the energy) The little pink Vancouver skyline I did as an inspirational painting definitely does not hold a candle to the actual cover!

I kind of quit doing book paintings after this, but who knows? I may start again if I feel inspired. I have done some experimenting with photoshop, but that is another whole post!




  1. Priscilla says:

    It is really fun to see the paintings and books side by side!

    1. tracykrauss says:

      Thanks. I thought I had done a post like this before, when when I looked, apparently not!

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