Just ocurred to me that Brixton Brothers #2: The Ghostwriter Secret is out in stores! It's written by Mac Barnett (what isn't?) and illustrated by me, just like the first book was. So today I thought I'd share the cover.
Here's the tight sketch, with digital color.
Man, look at that! Those are bullets streaming through the water! From a gun! Originally I thought it would be funny to show the gun as though the bad guy was crouching on the pool deck with his hand in the water, shooting at Steve and Dana. But you can't show a gun on the cover of a kids' book. So hence just the bullets.
Of course we considered the idea that the bullets were too intense, and might inspire kids to get shot at whilst tied up in a pool, so we tried another version where the bad guy is down in the pool, just screaming at Steve and Dana. Really going off on them. But then we ran it by the national buyer from B. Dalton and he was like, "Wow, that guy's really angry," so I painted a new cover where he isn't so much screaming at the kids as giving them sort of a stern talking-to, and afterward we tried one where he's just taking them for hot wings, but then we were all like, "Whoah! What happened to the conflict?" So we went back to the bullets, and I think we made the right choice.
Here's the final, painted cover, with type. Photoshop and Wacom.