lines and colors :: a blog about drawing, painting, illustration, comics, concept art and other visual arts
Sunday, April 26, 2009
The Death of a Pope
The Death of a Pope is a thriller by Piers Paul Read, probably best known for his non-fiction book, Alive. It was pretty cool working on a book by him, as I've read a number of his novels and I've been a fan for years.
The book involves a plot against the papacy and a young British woman who gets involved in it inadvertently. I can't say too much more without spoiling the story!
I needed to have an image that conveyed a bit of the story without getting too involved. Once concept was a demon under the Vatican, or under the Sistine Chapel, with smoke. This didn't really work beyond the sketch stage without starting to look comical. One of the other ideas, shown above, was to depict a shadowy figure with a briefcase in front of St. Peter's Basilica. This looked a bit cliché when I did a mockup, like a paperback you'd pick up in the checkout line at Safeway.
I also did a number of mockups involving keys, one with a skeleton that I'm glad we didn't use since I just saw it on another recent book, and a few using imagery from Michelangelo's Last Judgement. But the one that was chosen after many rounds of reworking was this:
The final is a hardcover, with the title and author name embossed on the dust-jacket. The cloud imagery has a double meaning once you read the book. You can see a website I helped set up for it here.