I just received an e-mail containing the final cover of my soon-to-be-released picture book, Bye, Bye, Butterflies! and I thought it would be a good time to share the process behind that cover.

I felt that the cover needed to show the main character, Charlie, interacting with butterflies and I had some initial ideas of how that that could go.

My editor liked the idea of the butterfly on Charlie's hand because it also looked like Charlie was waving.

Because I had some ideas about how I wanted to do the background, I painted Charlie and the butterfly separately so that I could experiment without overworking my painting and then combine the 2 layers (foreground and background) digitally.

My initial vision involved a chaotic cloud of butterflies.  I thought it would look really good to have the title of the book in white type on top of the chaos.

However, once the image was painted, I realized that my idea wasn't working so I simplified the background.  I really enjoyed all the experimentation with butterflies and patterns that I did at this stage.

It still wasn't working so I simplified it some more.

And then some more.

At this stage my first thought was that we could have the title of the book arc across the top.  However, it still wasn't looking right.  My editor suggested that I try adding a banner that the title could sit on and I loved that idea.  Here were a couple mock ups:

We agreed on the second version, so I painted the banner and then added red stripes to Charlie's shirt to bring more color into the image.

I sent just the artwork to my publisher and this is one of the earlier mock ups that the designer came up with:

At this time, my original paintings were being properly scanned and color corrected.  When I got the scans back I made a few small changes and this is what the final cover art looked like:

And this is what the final front and back cover design looks like: