Cover Reveal: The Beast’s Heart by Leife Shallcross

By Thorne Ryan

Posted on September 29, 2017 in Books with tags Book Covers, Leife Shallcross

When we first saw the overwhelmingly beautiful proof cover for The Beast’s Heart, we knew we’d have a job ahead of us to make sure the final cover held its own in comparison. But I’m delighted to report that we *think* we might have succeeded!

Behold the final cover for the most sumptuously magical tale of all time *drumroll please*:

This glorious slice of heaven was designed by Jo Myler at Hodder & Stoughton, and illustrated by Daren Newman.

Tears came to my eyes when I saw just how perfectly our design team had realised our vision for the cover of this most stunning of books, and I couldn’t wait to send it to Leife Shallcross, the author. When I did, she was so overwhelmed she had to take a few minutes to just sit and stare at it before she could respond properly. When she was finally able to speak, she said: ‘This cover is just so beautiful. It’s been extraordinarily hard to keep this to myself. I love the thought that the cover of my book is actually the gate to the Beast’s realm. You just have to open it up and step through to lose yourself in the fairy tale on the other side. Thank you again to Team Hodder for, once again, doing such an amazing job.’

Jo says: ‘From briefing stage we had quite a clear direction for the cover. The castle gate in the story conjures up such an enchanting image that we just had to go with it. After reading the book and speaking with editorial and sales colleagues, it was clear we wanted a graphic yet magical cover, and Daren Newman’s work immediately sprung to mind. He has a lovely way of incorporating typography into imagery in a seamless and stylistic way, and the idea of encasing the title type within the castle gate felt perfect. The magical element comes through, bringing the ivy and title to life with rose gold foil; this element conjures up images of traditional fairy tale covers, but with a modern twist. It was a joy to work on this cover design. Daren took our initial direction and made the illustration his own in the best way. Everyone was on board with the visuals straight away, and after some colour and title type tweaks we now have a beautiful final cover, hopefully doing justice to the wonderful text it will soon encase.’

Outstanding covers like this don’t appear overnight, though, and there were many stages before we got from brief to beauty.

First, Jo did a beautiful sketch so that we could all make sure we were on the same page, then the illustrator did a few drafts, making tweaks according to our feedback. We then experimented with a few colour options, finalised the illustration and made final adjustments to the typography. And there we had it: a truly unique, gorgeous cover for a truly unique, gorgeous book. Here’s the journey in images.

Jo’s illustration:

Daren’s rough first sketch:

His next drafts:


And introducing colour for the first time:

The Beast's Heart Cover Draft 
Initially we thought we’d go with the purple as the response to the proof cover had been so overwhelming, but when the blue option came up on the screen in the cover meeting there was a collective ‘oooooooh’ from everyone in the room, and we knew we’d found our colour.

And after a final bit of tweaking here and there, we reached our final destination:We think the rose-gold foil is just swoon-worthy and we adore the depth and texture the background brings – and we’re printing directly on the Wibalin, which will add even more texture and a real sense of magic. We really cannot wait to see it brought to life in just a few short months!

The Beast’s Heart by Leife Shallcross is being published by Hodder & Stoughton on 3rd May 2018 in hardback and ebook.


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