A recent commission of mine was to make illustrations for a novel written by a middle school student. The student has ADHD and is also a gifted and eager writer. He writes insightfully about fitting in with middle school culture.
After reading some chapters and poems that comprise the book I decided to create a sketch for one poem that is set under a tree – its theme seemed to encompass the message of the book. I thought it could be used inside the book as a page illustration with the poem, and perhaps could be used for the cover as well.
I designed my rough pencil sketch looking down from above the main character under the tree, so it would work on a page and also with the title if needed. I hand-lettered the title with ink and brush.
The family of the author liked the image and wanted it for the cover, but thought some extra middle schoolers should be added. I drew a circle of friends separately –
and dropped them into the tree scene.
Then I colored the art digitally and reversed out the text – the finished book cover is below.