Delia Sherman’s new novel The Freedom Maze is (very well) reviewed and out and launched and everything.

So here, in celebration, is a little about the cover.

The initial brief was for a girl with a yellow parasol in a maze (this was to be quite a fast turnaround, so the sketches are very loose). These are the thumbnails I sent – pencil with digital colour. The composition of 6b is my favourite:

Freedom Maze - thumbnails round 2

On consideration, it was decided that characters from both time periods should be in the picture, which meant changing the layout and looking at a lot of 1960s suit patterns and wishing I could grow up to be Nancy Drew:

Freedom Maze - thumbnails round 2

The faceless mystery of the characters in 8 was preferred, so I agonised for a while until Aimee arrived and struck a pose for reference. Then I sketched up and inked the picture – continuing the hedge so that it could be a texture for the back. I would usually have sent a copy through for approval at that point, but time was short and timezones were offset, so I scanned, coloured and added a layer of old paper from one of my books.

Freedom Maze - first cover

That is the version which is on all the web previews. There were, however, three final adjustments: I moved Sophie’s foot and hand (this was the hardest part), joined front and back into a wraparound image, and finally (but most importantly) replaced the statue of “Belle Watling” on the back with Antigua.

Freedom Maze - final cover

The peculiar perspective is deliberate, and works when cropped and wrapped.

Edited to add: Here is the final cover – with bonus Gregory Maguire: Freedom Maze final cover (Small Beer Press)