How the book cover was created for Cheer up, Mouse!

Have you ever wondered how a book cover is created? The author and illustrator Jed Henry walks us through the creation of the cover for his new book, Cheer Up, Mouse!


This is my initial line sketch for the jacket design. I draw directly into Photoshop with a Wacom tablet. I like sketching in Photoshop because it allows me to make slight adjustments without having to redraw the entire composition.


Because watercolor is such an unforgiving medium, I like to plan out the different color washes in Photoshop. I then use the color mockup as a guide while I paint.


Here is the finished watercolor layer. I don’t worry about finessing the image at this point. The goal is to achieve realistic textures and pigment patterns on the paper. I scan the watercolor painting back into Photoshop and continue the process digitally.


Back in Photoshop, I add layer after layer of detail to the characters. The digital brush looks exactly like pastels when applied onto the watercolor background.


I add contour lines with a thin digital brush.


Finally, the talented designers, editors, and printers at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt work their magic. They’ve done a great job!

Check out the trailer for Cheer Up, Mouse! It’s adorable. To find out how Mouse’s well-meaning friends eventually do cheer him up, get the book!