Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Evolution of the Sweet Treats & Secret Crushes cover

The story of how the Sweet Treats & Secret Crushes cover came to be started with Lisa's first book My Life in Pink & Green. This cover was a huge success and perhaps the easiest cover I have ever worked on. I credit this cover to a relaxing Sunday afternoon. I had just finished a large tasty sandwich from Los Paisanos in Brooklyn. My eyes were heavy and bored from watching the Sunday afternoon TV which means golf, a nap soon followed. Sadly, I was dreaming about work in particular this cover problem only to wake with an idea. Below is a sketch of my first idea which as you can see pretty much became the cover. Only I cropped out the potato chip grease from my fingers.

The final cover

There is only one problem to having a successful cover idea . . . repeating that success. Ugh!
Since this cover idea went over so well everyone from sales, editorial and even buyers want deanother "Pink & Green" cover. Sure sounds great, right? Only Sweet Treats & Secret Crushes was its own story and didn't really work with the design of "Pink & Green." The other issue was now that we launched Lisa Greenwald, we wanted to create a brand look for her books. Ugh! How to do all this and make it look like it belongs with "Pink & Green." This was going to take more than tasty sandwich induced genius.

When a blizzard threatens to ruin Valentine’s Day, three seventh-grade friends make and distribute fortune cookies to their lonely neighbors—and confront the secrets they’ve been keeping from one another.

Confident Kate doesn’t notice much but the latest gossip, and shy Georgia can’t say out loud what’s always on her mind. They’re joined by observant, careful Olivia, whose epic, single-minded crush on PBJ (real name: Phillip Becker-Jacobs) is starting to frustrate the other two. Using fortune cookies that mysteriously always seem to speak directly to the person who opens them, the three girls try to work together to bring some love to their building, while reminding each other why they’re such good friends to begin with.

With all the right ingredients to appeal to tween girls.

I started at the beginning trying many different and same approaches. Since the girls make cookies. Why not have the same design as "Pink & Green?"

But it just didn't work with the book. This book had three main characters. Olivia, Kate and Georgia. So having one person on the cover didn't seem right. Perhaps I need to just try a new direction all together and focus on the cookies and that the book is set on Valentines Day in a snow storm.

Flower as snow? Thanks to Martha Mihalick for messing up her kitchen

Still not right but a few pieces seemed to work.
1. Vibrant colors
2. Snow pattern
3. Font choice

Things that didn't work
1. There was still the problem of on image representing 3 main characters
2. It didn't look like "Pink & Green."

Still sticking with the heart cookie and snow theme. Here you see I we have three cookies representing each girl.

At this stage we were far enough along that we felt it was time to start photographing the elements we needed. I hired photographer and friend Morgan R. Levy to shoot the heart cookies and a few other props. Lucky for me it was almost Valentines day and Betty Bakery had the exact cookies I was looking for.

The next day once the cookies were baked Morgan and I set up shop in my kitchen to start photographing

Kentucky watched

Here are a few out takes

Back cover ideas.
Olivia, Kate and Georgia make cookies to give to there friends and place them in Chinese food containers.

Snowflake mesh pattern for background.

We also shot fortune cookies. The girls actually bake fortune cookies in the story.

At this point Morgan left for Iceland to work on her thesis.

There was still talk at this point that the cover was still not syncing up with "Pink in Green." The problem was we had left out any human presence. We needed a human element. But how to do this with out showing a face or a figure. I went back and took a look at "Pink in Green", going over all the elements. The hands, the hands. These were the elements we were looking for the connect it all together. By simply placing them in much the same posed as on "Pink in Green" it helps the viewer visually connect the two books.

The next problem in Morgan's absence I hired photographer Jonathan R. Beckerman, my brother. He was the photographer for My Life in Pink & Green. Normally Jonathan is my go to photographer for all photographic covers but earlier in the project he was all booked up. He and I have worked on many covers together. Such as Struts & Frets, Anxious Hearts, Troy High, The Girls, and Anahita's Woven Riddle. Now I needed some hands. With in the week he delivered just the right ones.

Back cover design mimics the layout of My Life in Pink & Green

The final cover

Final layouts

Spot Gloss sparkle layer

Jacket proofs at the printer in Hagerstown, Maryland