The cover art for The Third Face is absolutely amazing. And you can bet that I didn’t do such an awesome piece of art by myself (although there once was a cover for it that I did by myself–you can see how sloppy and awful it was here.)
I knew that when I republished The Third Face, one of my first priorities was to give it real cover art. At first, I held a contest on my old blog, but there were very few entries and nobody put any effort in. I realized that I had to take action and find an artist myself.
After scouring deviantART for a gallery that matched what I had in mind for The Third Face, I stumbled upon the page of one Adrián Retana. Every single one of his works mixes fantasy with horror in its own subtle way, and that was exactly what I needed. This was the guy I wanted to get in touch with.
It turned out to be surprisingly easy. I sent him a message, and negotiations were underway just like that. Before long he was sending me a few prototype ideas for the cover based on what I’d told him, and I realized that although I’d been very specific the sky remained the limit on what could be done with my idea!
Next I spoke with him on Skype, and he shared his screen with me as he painted out several more basic concepts. This was the greatest part of working with Adrián, because I got to see him in action, and in turn he asked me to tell him more about the book. There’s something amazing about that experience, watching him work his magic while I fill him in on exactly what it is he’s working on.
After that we finally decided which concept to go with. Believe me, when I first started, I never would have guessed that I’d end up with my character facing away! That may not seem like such a big deal to you guys, but if you saw all the different poses I did, you’d have seen that I had a big choice to make, and that’s the one that really spoke to me. In the book, Rasuke often turns his back on the people around him, so it’s actually a perfect fit.
When all was said and done, even though Adrián was technically just someone I did business with, commissioning this piece of art for my book cover, I came out feeling like I had also made a friend. When we weren’t working Adrián and I have had quite a few talks about what it means to create something and the kind of person it takes–after all, writers and artists aren’t so different in the end. I also learned that he, like me, is taking the first step on the scary journey of following your dream, despite all the risk and uncertainty that comes with it.
Part of me is sad that this deal is done with, because I had a lot of fun. But I also suspect that I’ll be calling on Adrián again in a few more months, when I’m ready with Book 2. After all, by now I consider him a full-fledged member of the Ephix Books team.