Here is the latest magazine cover that I just finished. The editor asked for an image of a hand putting the last piece in a puzzle that has an antibody or antibodies as the subject. The goal is to show how science is decoding the nature of antibodies and how they effect the human condition.
Here is the initial sketch that I sent.
This sketch was approved with the condition that the artwork on the puzzle not look like a science blueprint and more like a 3d rendering of antibodies floating in ethereal space. In the second sketch, I showed the total illustration size versus the actual part of that illustration that will be used in the cover. In most cases, I give the graphic designer extra artwork (lots of bleed) to work with so they have some wiggle room for the artwork and so they can use a larger version for the cover article if they choose – in the image below, you can see how much extra I did for this cover:
The third image that I send for approval was a near final color comp for the editor to get a good idea of what the final will look like. This is where I worked with her on the fine tune color adjustment of the whole cover. She chose to have the antibodies be more of a teal blue rather than a green – she was concerned that the green would give a sick feeling that might lead someone to believe they are viruses (although they look nothing like the scientific representation of viruses).
For the next version – the final version, I adjusted the color of the antibodies, adjusted the shadows of the hand and the puzzle piece and added in some more shine effect from the missing piece. The extra shine helps make the foreground puzzle piece stand apart from the background. This was the final full sized artwork that I sent for the cover.
I love the challenge of working on these types of projects. Every project that I work on, whether its a piece of furniture or a magazine cover is a problem solving exercise. I excel at visual and mechanical problem solving and I enjoy the process. As soon as projects like these get easy, I will stop doing them, but I learn something new with every one that I do.