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The World of Rigel Chase: Rise of the Shaper

The author says:

The World of Rigel Chase: Rise of the Shaper is the first of a series of fantasy adventure books for middle school kids and up. Rigel is a kid with a gift for talking animals, lush alien forests and powerful young warriors, but he never imagined he could make them all appear in his backyard one night. Thanks to a magic golden medallion, he can make the inhabitants of his imagination come to life and even transform himself into a flying superhero. But things take an ominous turn when Rigel and his new friends are hunted by sinister creatures who want his special powers, and the librarian who gave him the medallion has suddenly disappeared.

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Nathan says:

Many of my comments center on the boy figure on the left:

  1. I understand that the shadow under his eye is supposed to be the result of the glow below his plane of vision, but he looks like a zombie.
  2. I don’t know what he’s looking at, but it’s not the floating medallion in front of him.
  3. Is he supposed to have a left hand on his right arm? Because that’s what it looks like.

My other comments:

I’m not in love with the border around the letters in the title, and I definitely think it should be removed in the subtitle.

Make your byline bigger! And the font it’s in clashes the the one used for the title and subtitle.

Other comments?

Comments

  1. First of all, let me say that your artwork, albeit needing some adjustments, is quite good, and eye-catching. That’s the good news. The bad news is that Nathan’s critique is spot on; although I’m not getting the zombie.

    I see what you were trying to do with the right hand, but your shading is off resulting in the thump appearing reversed (i.e. left hand). You should also decide what level of detail you are going to use in both figures hands. The girl’s hands are low detail, so why make the boy’s hands have more detail. Pick one.

    As for the boy’s eyes Nathan called it. Unless he’s supposed to be staring off beyond the object, then they need work.

    The artwork is well worth fixing in my opinion. The girl’s expression is especially captivating. Nice work, but listen to Nathan. He’s grumpy, but he’s usually right.

  2. I agree about some of the issues regarding the art itself, but there are some larger concerns.

    For one, there seems to be no reason to make the type so elaborate and decorative. Simplify it. There is nothing really gained by using every fancy effect available.

    The little medallion, or whatever it is, that is hanging in front of the title is an overcomplication. Perhaps it is important to the story, but only someone who has already read the book would know that.

    I would tighten the focus on the art. Zoom into the really pertinent area: the faces and the talisman. At the moment, both are simply lost among the welter of dark and swirling shapes. The thumbnail makes this all too apparent. Only the central part of the artwork is relevant.

    Finally, the cover appears to be another example of the author liking the art so much they are reluctant to cover any of it up…the result being that the title and author’s name are relegated to the margins. Integrate the type and art more.

  3. The cover looks good in thumbnail, and the description of the contents generally matches what I was expecting from from seeing the style of artwork used. Several flaws rather leap out at me upon looking at it up close, however:

    1. I don’t know if this necessarily constitutes “zombie” makeup, but your protagonist Rigel does appear to have an awful lot of mascara on his right eye. Unless he’s a goth rocker or is experiencing severe doubts about his masculinity or something, you should probably thin out the lines around his eyes and eyelashes to avoid giving people the impression that he’s wearing a thick layer of mascara or has gotten a black eye in a fight.

    2. The girl’s index and middle fingers appear to be fused together. (I’m assuming that they’re not supposed to be.) A thin line between them would help clarify that they’re not.

    3. Your protagonist’s thumb appears to have been dislocated and broken at the base by being violently yanked backward, as it’s overly long and hanging at an impossible angle. Unless the amulet’s sudden levitation really did rip his thumb out of his socket somehow, I recommend redrawing it at a more realistic length and natural angle.

    4. While I dissent from the other opinions that your title’s font is too fancy and ostentatious (a font’s being a little “loud” is fine for juvenile fiction), it does utterly overwhelm and distract from the overly modest font you’ve chosen for your byline. Make either one font or the other the font for both title and byline, and make that byline bigger; such modesty (whether genuinely intended or otherwise) in one’s byline only suggests to prospective readers that the author is lacking confidence that his name should be associated with his work.

    5. You do have a lot of space consumed with vague wispy nothing-in-particular stuff. Even with a much bigger byline (since nobody’s going to spend much time looking at the kids’ thighs anyway), you could indeed zoom in a lot closer on the protagonists without your titles and byline covering up anything important.

    6. Yes, your characters’ eyes do need to be a bit more clearly pointed at the floating amulet. While you might get away with leaving them the way they are (since all your prospective readers’ eyes are definitely going to be focused first and foremost on the amulet at the center of the cover), you shouldn’t have anything on your cover from which you need to distract your prospective readers.

    Overall, the art’s good and should make a good first impression; you just need to make sure your prospective readers will continue to have that impression when they take their second look at the cover from up close the way we critics are doing right now.

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