Nyctophobia is fear of the dark, which is a hard concept to get across on a book cover, especially without resorting to monsters and ghosts and stuff (which I did to start with!), so I did a LOT of roughs and not-so-roughs for this cover - none of which were used in the end, as the final covers had nothing in common with them really! The idea for the UK cover (above) came out of a day dream I had at my desk after banging my head against a wall for half an hour having run out of ideas. It's based on some photos I took of a lightbulb was almost finished as soon as I'd mocked it up. The US version (below) was kind of an accident - I was mucking around with some textures for something else and they looked kind of noirish and spooky, so I added a house and a moon and it was pretty much done.
I still really like some of the rough ideas I had to start with, so I might try and reuse parts of them in something else in the future. They were deemed (correctly!) to be too graphic-novely for the tone of the book, or just a bit too supernatural/action based. I got quite far in the rendering of a few of my favourite ones too, so its a shame to just forget about them. Anyway here's the very first lot I did. Originally in the story the house were the action takes place revolved to face the sun, so one side was light all the time, and the other dark. That idea got dropped though, so immediately some of these weren't quite right. An unfortunate side effect of doing covers for books that aren't yet finished.
The below was the cover version I liked best, but I couldn't make it work quite right - the figure was too small, or squashed up, and the shadows cast by the lamp that form the letters didn't work in the way I wanted them to. This led into the version at the bottom, which used the same idea, but makes it a bit less flat. This was definitely too much like a comic though, although I like it in its own right. I might finish it off at some point just for the sake of it.
The final book goes to print this week. On the opening spreads of the internals I gave over a few pages for the lightbulb slowly tuning on, page by page - almost like a flick-book, which seemed like a cool thing to have instead of a bog-standard title page. It gave me the idea of actually trying to animate it properly though, and this is the result (be kind, it my first ever attempt at this kind of thing!).
Nyctophobia is on sale 9th October 2014.