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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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I add contour lines with a thin digital brush.

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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!

 

 

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