Boy’s Life Cover Concepts

Cover sketch/concept #1

I’m going through the concept and sketching phase for a Boy’s Life magazine cover project I am working on. I usually have to do a couple of rounds if ideas to get things approved and here is how things have gone so far.The story is historical fiction about an orphaned young man, Matt, arriving to spend Christmas with an aunt and uncle in the Sierra Nevada area who have agreed to take him in. They are all caught in a blizzard and the boy has to rescue both of them when the uncle breaks an ankle out in the barnyard and the aunt gets caught in the storm as well. At this stage, I am drawing nearly everything out of my head. I will concern myself with all the details when a concept gets approved. I did look at some horses and cabins to get a better idea of where to start, but the figures and poses are drawn from my imagination. Concept #1 shows young Matt just arriving at the farm. Since this is for the December issue, I thought the lantern added a nice Holiday glow.

Cover sketch/concept #2

Editors wanted to show a little more of the action of the rescue, so I did another version with the Matt struggling to get his uncle into he cabin. This version, although very dramatic, seemed too graphic as the figure of the uncle was a bit lifeless.
Cover sketch/concept #3
I did another version, this time showing the rescue of the Matt’s aunt. I usually prefer to show faces in my compositions since it seems to engage viewers easier, but this one seems to work. Editors decided maybe it showed too much of the story’s conflict resolution, so I went back to the drawing board.
Cover concept/sketch #4
In this version, I show Matt as he struggles to pull the sled holding his uncle across the farmyard to the cabin. It seems like this composition is closer to what the editors were hoping for, so I think this one may end up being selected. I will have to make some compositional adjustments to allow for things like the bar code/address box in the lower left corner, but I am looking forward to painting this one. If not, I’ll just figure out the next possible solution. That’s just how it goes sometimes.
Opening spread sketch can be seen here



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