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Point of View: The Gauntlet Runner – Making of the Cover

The Gauntlet Runner - J. Scott Coatsworth

It’s almost here. Just three and a half more weeks until the release of book two in the Tharassas Cycle, The Gauntlet Runner. This is the follow-up to The Dragon Eater, and I’m thrilled to be finally bringing it to you all.

For my Point of View column today, I thought it would be fun to share the evolution of the cover with you. This one (like the first book) was created by my amazing friend and graphic artist Kelley York at Sleepy Fox Studio.

We started with a pose and a rough approximation of the character:

The Gauntlet Runner 1

The pose isn’t bad, but… I hate the clothing. He’s a guard, not a gay merchant. Well a gay guard, but still. The face is wrong. Is it just me or does he look like Doug Savant? And geez, that’s a big hand. You know what they say about men with big hands… OK, let’s try again, and this time have him looking at the gauntlet…

The Gauntlet Runner 2

OK, a little better. He looks kinder… but the hair’s not quite right. And the outfit is marginally better, but how about more of a jacket? He is a guard, after all… give me a few choices? And another hairstyle? And still need that gauntlet.

Hmmm. First one’s a bit too… frowny, and we’re tipping a little into German Youth here. The last two look too much like a dress. But the gauntlet has possibilities… And the hair… no.

Oooh. Now we’re getting somewhere. The hairstyle is much better, though the color washes out a bit. The face is rounder, kinder. Maybe try a different color on the jacket? It’s a bit circus ringleader…

Oooh better. Maybe. Let’s go with it for now. But the expression needs work… a little more surprised?

Not bad. Even a little MORE surprised, and let’s see how it will work as a cover…

Yes! We’ve come a long way. He’s much more Aik-like. 🙂 Can we make the red lights more… swirly? Like a red tornado… and those pointy nails gotta go…

Whoa. Too much tornado. And that jacket color clashes. How about black? Oh, and make the gauntlet glow a bit with little red lights…

Yes! Almost there. Last thing, let’s move him down a bit so his head’s not grazing the top of the cover and add in a little “atmosphere,” and I think we’re there!

Fortunately Kelley is very patient with all of my requests. I’m thrilled to debut this cover… if you want to get the book as soon as it releases, you can preorder it now, and it will be delivered to you on September 21st! Available everywhere.

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