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  • Dennis DeRobertis

The LBS Cover Pile. And Cover!

It's the cover to the next Little Brown Spider book!

The cover to the third Little Brown Spider picture book

Getting the Cover

I have to say. This cover took me longer than expected to finalize. The first Little Brown Spider book, "Which Way to Go?" presented a whole host of issues when I started to put it together. I made adjustments for the second book, "The Giant Caterpillar" and it went much, much smoother. This cover, however, presented new problems. Let's have a look.

Cover Sketch and Final Colors

The initial sketch from Cristian shows the Little Brown Spider sitting atop Esther's shoulder, surprised, like Esther, as to what they're seeing. Of course, LBS has that little nonchalant attitude going on, too. He's one cool spider dude.

Preliminary sketch of the cover to the picture book, "A Mouse in the House."
The initial sketch for the 3rd Little Brown Spider picture book

Cristian added a placeholder for the book's title, but the title of the book, "A Mouse in the House" was a little longer than this text. I didn't think it'd be an issue since the person who does the cover title and text is very good. I signed off on it and Cristian went to work cleaning it up, inking it, and adding the colors.

Final cover to the picture book, "A Mouse in the House."
The final inks and colors for the 3rd Little Brown Spider picture book from Cristian.

When Cristian sent over the final, besides thinking it captured the story perfectly, I thought the background colors behind Esther and LBS might be a problem and clash with the book's logo. The logo style is something I've been using since the first book, and I wanted to keep it consistent through at least this third book, if not longer (it is "foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds," isn't it? Anyway...). I wasn't too worried about it since I could always swap out the background for something else, so I didn't mention to Cristian. With that in mind, I sent the hi-res cover image and two examples with different background colors to David (our title guy).

David came back with two versions. One was a darker version of Cristian's initial colors and the other used a grey background. I liked the grey. Not only was it a nice contrast to the logo it also tied in nicely with the title. You know, the whole mouse thing.

An image showing two covers for "A Mouse in the House" picture book using different background colors.
A couple of background color options for the cover.

Print. Cut. Check. Edit. Repeat.

When I start the process of finalizing a book's interior pages and covers (for both hardcover and perfect bound), I make sure I have enough paper and ink supplies on hand for lots and lots of printing. I'm a big fan of what I call a proof of the proof. I put together a book that's as close as possible to the final version before submitting to the printer. I've mentioned this before in another post, but I don't like surprises when it comes to the proof. And I certainly don't want to waste time and money ordering proof after proof after proof when I can make small (or big) adjustments as necessary to build a faithful facsimile myself.

Printing is done on 32lb paper for the covers and 24 or 28lb for the interior pages. I'll use the highest quality print setting from the printer manufacturer's control panel app to get the best results. Oh, and the interior pages are printed front and back, just like it'll appear in the published book. It's not perfect fidelity with the printer's book, but it's dang close. I also rip apart a couple of previous Little Brown Spider books to use as the covers and spine to build my proof of a proof.

A pile of printed test covers for the picture book, "A Mouse in the House."
Good thing you can't see the mess under my desk!

It's a long, tedious process, but well worth it. When I finally do click that submit button for the printer's proof, I pretty much know exactly what I'm going to get. It does take me awhile to clean up the studio, however.

"The Little Brown Spider in A Mouse in the House" will arrive September 2022!

- DennisD.


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