Merits of Mischief
Here is a front cover that I have been given the go-ahead to post by Simon And Schuster. It is the first cover for a new adventure book series for tweens. The story by T.R. Burns is about a boy mistakenly taken for a bad apple after he throws an apple in the cafeteria and kills a teacher. He is shipped off to reform school but when he arrives, he soon discovers that this is no ordinary school for bad kids….
The story was humorous, which made it fun to conceptualize sketches. Some early ideas began with the main character being targeted as a “bad apple” with suction cup arrows hitting the apple above his head. One of the concerns of the editor and art director was that the sketches not show any violence. Although there are “weapons” in the book, that is not really what the story is about.
Another idea was to show the apple as a “bad apple” since that was the title of the first book. I tried to hide a skull in the bruise of the apple to make a visual pun of the apple being both a symbol of learning and the deadly bruise to represent the mischief that goes on at the school.
An idea that was almost made into a cover was the “dead” teacher who had been hit by the apple. We thought it would be funny to show the teacher’s feet with the “weapon” that hit her beside her. However, people who had not read the book thought it was a Snow White allusion. The back cover, however, was well received, and everyone decided that the silhouettes of the kids doing target practice with the school behind them made a nice first cover for the series.