Wednesday, July 04, 2012

THE CREATIVE FIRE Cover Art Unveiled

Here you go -- for the first time anywhere -- this is my full final cover art for Brenda Cooper's forthcoming Pyr novel, THE CREATIVE FIRE: BOOK ONE OF RUBY'S SONG. You'll notice that this has been improved from the catalog version previewed on Amazon and elsewhere in recent weeks. (The final cover of the book will feature this art and not the previous.)

A few thoughts to pass along for those that enjoy peeking behind the curtain:

When you’re an illustrator creating a cover for a book, you’re working to connect a story with its audience. You're trying to help books land in homes and hands (both traditional and virtual) where they will be adored and appreciated. But every once in a while, an artist is fortunate to have the opportunity to possibly connect a story with not just an audience, but a moment in time.

When I was illustrating this cover, I wanted to bring Brenda's heroine Ruby to life, but there was an opportunity to push beyond just a character portrait.

Our news and social feeds record the weekly (sometimes daily) attacks on womens' rights -- upon the issues of reproductive rights, access to health care, equal pay and support in situations of domestic abuse. This stuff isn't speculative fiction. It's the world we live in, and I think, especially in America, we're in a very fragile time regarding all of our fundamental rights, not just for womens' rights but for all civil liberties -- whether you be man, woman, or child.

The answers for most cover art questions are often right there in the manuscript, but sometimes a manuscript intersects with the world in which it's birthed, and a character has the chance to transcend the bounds of the pages. THE CREATIVE FIRE will be marketed to an adult sf/f audience, but there's a part of me that wonders what happens when teenage girls read this, and if the book might influence them even more because of their formative age. I look forward to both adult and teenage audiences finding this one.

So this cover is dedicated not just to mothers and daughters, but freedom fighters with tomorrow in their hands.

I see Ruby as a futuristic Rosie the Riveter, but this time, she’s not waiting until the men come home. I see her as Diana of war, and the birth of Venus.

She’s a call-to-arms to be strong and vigilant. She’s a revolution-in-the-making. She's more than meets the eye.

In short, she's probably not what you think she is on first glance -- she’s a girl with a microphone.

Today is July 4th -- our American day of celebrating independence and revolution -- a day in 2012 when our rights to live freely are, frankly, in a dangerous place. My hope though, is that our world is full of Rubys.


Blogger Paul Weimer said...

Oh!! I've seen the picture of the heroine as a banner on Brenda's site and wondered where it was from. Nice!

12:24 PM  
Blogger John Picacio said...

Thanks, Paul! Mystery solved. :)

12:42 PM  
Blogger LisaR said...

Love this picture and can't wait to see it on the book. Very nice!

9:46 AM  
Blogger John Picacio said...

Thanks, Lisa! 'Appreciated! :)

5:15 PM  
Anonymous Josh Gentry said...

Damn, John. That is way more than a pretty picture. Much communicated in that image.

4:04 PM  
Blogger John Picacio said...

Thanks, Josh! Definitely more than meets the eye on first glance. :)

10:11 PM  
Blogger Mair said...

awesome art and awesome write-up.

10:27 PM  
Blogger Adrian Johnson said...


Been a while since I've stopped by here. This is fantastic, sir!


9:25 AM  
Blogger John Picacio said...

Thanks, Mair! Thanks, A-Train! Very appreciated. :)

3:45 PM  
Anonymous Rothgo said...

Nice work John! I like the look, self-confident and natural, as opposed to the usual cliche of skin-tight, skimpy, hyper-sexualised "feminism".

9:51 AM  
Blogger John Picacio said...

Thanks, Rothgo! 'Appreciated as always. :)

7:35 AM  
Anonymous Camille Meehan said...


This is stunning. She looks so human. I'm still not sure how to put it into words, something about the contrast of hard and soft really pulls at me. A working Lady Liberty crowned in machines and dust. I'm normally quite unimpressed (to downright irritated) with female representations in art but this, THIS is lovely.

This looks like it took a while.

2:50 AM  
Blogger Carl V. said...

This is absolutely gorgeous by the way! Was thrilled to see it when I got an ARC recently. I can give you a sneak preview: the cover will be on my favorites of 2012 list!

10:35 AM  

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