Friday, September 12, 2008

Nighttime Covers

Doesn't "Nighttime" seem like it should only have one "T" in the middle? Anyway, here are the first two covers for a series of books by Todd Strasser. Each book contains short "spooky" stories meant for the age group a little under the "Goosebumps" group.

Nighttime Cover (Too Scared to Sleep)
This first cover is supposed to feature the haunted house and the little skeleton kid. He is the mascot of the books. Each cover will feature him in some way. I don't think he is in any of the stories, but he is the thing that unifies all the covers together. Fun fact: The peeling paint texture is from photos of actual peeling paint on my old porch.
Also, I got the main idea for the house from the Henderson Castle in Kalamazoo.

Nighttime Cover (Too Dark to See)
The second cover has the skeleton kid a little scared of being in the graveyard. I'm not sure how visible they are, but I put names on the headstones like "Mumee", "Wolfy Kid", "Boo Boy" and "Mon Store". Also, the texture on the headstones is actual texture from photo reference I took of headstones. (I live right across the street from a graveyard.)

I am currently working on the third cover. I am assuming that as long as Mr. Strasser keeps writing these stories and they keep selling, I will be doing more covers. Just so you know, I was already drawing skeleton children for fun, so these covers are pretty much dream jobs.

I also wanted to thank all of my friends that gave me great critiques on that first cover. You guys helped me to really see what I needed to do to improve things. I would especially like to thank Brandon Dorman who helped me a ton with many critiques. Don't worry, I'll probably ask everyone's help again on this third cover.

13 comments:

RAWLS said...

haha... these are great dude!! I love em. I'm scared of the nigh time.

The Waltz Family said...

Mike, I really like the covers! You say you took the idea of the house from the Castle over there in K-zoo, but it's cool how you also made it your own. I love the look of all the different angles and peaks. It is very visually appealing, and when I was younger covers were one of the first things I looked at while browsing books. I think with your cover art, it will totally draw in even more readers for Todd. Well done! When are the books released for purchase?

Manelle said...

These turned out awesome! I really like what you did with the lighting on the first cover. I'm so excited you got your dream job. I just signed the contracts this week for some book covers too. They are pretty much my dream job. So, anyway yea! I'm excited for you!

Jake said...

They look great. What a sweet gig. I'll keep an eye out for them in the book stores cause they look like something my 7 year old would love.

Mike Laughead said...

Laura, I have no idea when the covers are going to be released. I hope soon.

Brandon said...

Sweet! They look really good, Mike! Using textures from actual surfaces is awesome.

Valerie said...

Mikey, these are great, I can't wait to read them.
And if you interested in my design critique, just email me, and I'll get back to you with (all) my notes.

Valerie said...

That last comment was a joke, in case that isn't clear. It's funny because, I'm not a designer, I don't have a lot of notes. That's crazy.
It's funny.

Mike Laughead said...

Seriously Val, I would love to get your critique on my artwork. I know that you enjoy artwork in general and it helps me a lot to hear the point of view of someone who is reacting to my artwork based on gut feeling instead of telling me what photoshop filter to try.

I'll ask for your help on the next one.

By the way, I did get that you were being funny, I just think you underestimate yourself.

Jennifer Harris said...

Hey Mike, I teach 4th grade now and I think your pictures would convince all of my male (and some of the female) students to pick up the Nighttime Books and read them. They're great illustrations. I followed the link to the Henderson Castle. It's cool to see an illustration from the artist's perspective. It is also cool that you know Brandon Dorman. If I am correct, he illustrated the Fablehaven books...and did a spectacular job. I'm excited to see the third cover!
Jennifer Harris (Grimes)

Josh said...

Mike I am not good at art critique, but I will look for the books in my childrens multiple scholastic flyers.

Steven R. McEvoy said...

These covers attracted me to the series. Love them. Reminded me of Princess Monoke.

Steven

Mike Laughead said...

Thanks for the kind words Steven. Your praise is everything I could hope for as an artist doing book covers. And I am a big fan of Princess Mononoke.