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!
Stories have kindled Jamin Still’s imagination since he was small. As a child he drew and painted and dreamed, and the power of those things in his life never diminished. He went on to study painting in college and now he paints and writes for a living. Jamin works and lives in a little stone house with his wife and three young children in Wichita, Kansas.
This is some fine-looking art — nice work, Jamin! Looking forward to reading this memoir, too…
So a awesome. How did I not know you had done this cover? It’s so timeless. Classy. Instant classic.
Thanks, fellas. I appreciate it!
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