Book Cover The Secret of Shakespeare’s Grave

Here is a book cover that I did for a middle grade book series called “The Letterford Mysteries.” In The Secret of Shakespeare’s Grave, a girl and her brother must save the family’s publishing business from falling into the wrong hands which leads them on an adventure to England in search of a family treasure. The art director wanted a spooky cemetery scene where Colophon has her uncle drive her to a church and cemetery in search of the family secret/treasure. Little do they know, they are being followed by someone who does not want them to succeed.

Below are some of the sketches that led to the final image.

The title of the book was originally The Key and the Quill but was scratched by the editorial team and undecided as I drew up some of the later concepts. For the initial sketches (left three), I included the library inside the family mansion where the secret clues to the family treasure were rumored to exist inside a painting. However, once the team saw the cemetery peeking behind the wall, they knew the direction the cover should go, and I did a couple of more sketches where the cemetery is the prominent element. I was glad to use the dark area of the automobile as a place to have the title as it’s always a challenge to come up with new spaces to fit a large title that also seems natural for the image. I was pretty happy with the end result.