This is book #3 in the "Amish Inn Mysteries" series by Annie's Publishing. If you haven't seen my previous cozy mystery blog posts, cozy mystery covers tend to have a quaint, small-town setting, a hobby theme, and a "sinister element" that suggests danger.
- Interior scene setting. Inside the front sitting room at the inn. Cozy, Victorian furniture, Christmas tree, roaring fire, etc.
- One big present under the tree stands out. It has a gift tag on it with a skull and cross bones drawn on it. English bulldog looks worriedly at the present.
- There is a broken glass ornament nearby on the floor.
- Through the window there is a horse and buggy on the snowy street.
Not too bad! I was looking forward to drawing a cozy Christmas scene - even though it was July at the time! Here are the roughs I sent:
The AD liked the second rough the best. (Looking back, the Christmas tree in #1 is way too close to the fireplace! It looks like it's on fire! Or is that the MYSTERY??)
Here were the AD's revisions:
- Move the broken ornament to the other side of the creepy present/closer to the tree. Otherwise it could look like the dog chewed it and broke it.
- Make the present a little smaller.
- Make the tree slightly larger, but don’t cover up that wintry scene out the window.
- Flip the horse and buggy around so we can see the reflective triangle on the back.
Here's the color rough I sent. I focused on contrasting the warm glow of the fireplace with the cool light of the snowy scene outside. Making the walls a red was an easy way to play up the Christmas color scheme. In order to avoid a yellow-blue-red-green color scheme, I made the walls more of a wine color than traditional Christmas red. I also used the light of the fireplace to cast long shadows on the black gift, because long shadows are OMINOUS.
The AD gave it the thumbs up. From there I had a surprising amount of fun painting pretty, sparkly, glowy Christmas stuff.