When Pete and Andrew approached me about the cover art for Everlasting is the Past, I was excited. When they told me they wanted a cover with a woodcut look in black and white, I was a little nervous. I hadn’t created a woodcut look before, though I had done quite a bit of pen and ink work, so I figured I’d give it a shot.First, I wanted to come up with an idea that reflected Walt Wangerin, Jr.’s main theme. So I read the manuscript, and Pete, Andrew, and I kicked around some ideas. I sent them some sketches. This one is from an early scene in the book, where the author is driving into a storm. They liked it, so I kept working on it.
Mr. Wangerin is driving into a storm, but the storm is more than a physical blizzard. It’s symbolic of a spiritual storm, which was the reason I made the car about to drive into a tunnel. I was trying to communicate the unknown that was ahead.
But the tunnel didn’t quite fit, it wasn’t quite enough, so I changed the tunnel to a tear in the sky. I wanted to get across the bigness of this crisis, something existential, and nothing quite does that like ripping a hole in space.
Pete and Andrew liked it, so I began. I started by looking at a lot of woodcuts so see what I needed to do to create “the look.” Then I redrew the image and began to ink it in. I decided to draw the car separate and quite a bit larger (because of all the details), so that’s why there’s just a car ghost here.
After the initial inking, I decided everything needed to be more substantial, so I went back and thickened up all the lines, and in some places added more. I did this several times until I finally got to where I was satisfied with the line work.
Next, I worked on the car. Once it was finished, I scanned both images and combined them in Photoshop. Along the way I had also decided I didn’t like the lines on the ground to the left, or along the horizon, so I got rid of them as well. Lastly, I used the eraser tool in Photoshop to create the snow from the storm.
And that was the process. By the way, it’s a great book. Pre-order it in the store today!
Jamin has always enjoyed illustrations and images related to stories. As a child, he drew and painted and continued to pursue art through high school and college. He attended Wichita State University where he earned a degree in art history, painting, and English literature. Since then he has focused on developing illustration and story-related imagery. His goal is to bring the viewer to a place of wonder and possibility. His new picture book, Ellen and the Winter Wolves, is a beautiful witness to his many talents.