Here was the brief Scholastic sent to me for this cover:
Ranger will be running through the woods at nighttime along the river shore. In the distance (perhaps across the river) we can see the main plantation house Ranger is running away from. Other elements that should be included are a rowboat at the shore and the north star in the sky.By the point Scholastic and I have a pretty established "look" for Ranger in Time covers. Ranger is always shown in the center running towards the reader with a look of intense determination.
The team decided that they liked #3 the best, but wanted to include the two main characters, Jesse and Sarah, in a boat at the shore.
Amazingly, Scholastic approved this rough with no more revisions, and they even waived the color rough stage and told me to go straight to final!
I struggled a little bit with the colors, as the scene is supposed to be lit by moonlight, but I've learned that Scholastic likes super-duper saturated cover illustrations. So I gave the moon a bright green color, and exaggerated the light coming from the windows.
I haven't seen the book in person yet, but Kate Messner posted this photo on Twitter: