I just finished up the cover for the third book in the Bucket List series by Elizabeth Perona. The novels feature a sixty something group of friends who become involved in solving murder mysteries. The first two covers, Murder on the Bucket List and Murder Under the Covered Bridge can be seen here and here.

Murder at the Male Review- Cover by Greg Newbold-Digital

This particular story revolves around a murder that happens during a blackout at a society ladies’ fund raiser which features Chippendale style male dancers. The editors wanted to highlight a particular slapstick moment that happens right before the blackout in which a cherry cobbler is spilled, tables are toppled and the slip and slide action literally leaves Francine left holding the beef.

I always feel it is my duty to give at least one alternative solution, which I did with a more dramatic angle of one of the dancers holding the murder weapon behind his back. I admit I didn’t have time to read the entire manuscript before the deadline, which I often like to do, so I don’t know whodunit.

As often happens, the editors opted to continue with the original idea, which I was fine with. After taking a bunch of photos to get a better grip on lighting and anatomyI created a final drawing and moved ahead to the final color art.  As you can tell from my rough sketch, working out roughs without photos can lead to proportion and other issues, but I think I get better design and flow that way, so I always do initial roughs out of my head or with minimal reference. I just like to get my ideas down and establish the mood and overall design. The finished piece was painted in Photoshop over the full value graphite drawing.