Cover art and illustrations – The Bread We Eat in Dreams – part 3

I just realised I never posted the final instalment of this!

The post on the cover art process for Catherynne M Valente’s The Bread We Eat in Dreams is here: Cover art and illustrations….

When I started the sketchbook, I listed the table of contents in the front, highlighting the stories which were to have their own images (one is missing, as “The Shootout at Burnt Corn Ranch.” and its illustration were added to the collection later in the publication process).

As I read, I sketched the ideas which most took my fancy, aiming for a handful of images for each story. Here’s an example:


I narrowed down my favourite images for the internal illustrations, then drew up a template within which they all had to fit, and – where necessary – took reference photos. This is my housemate:


Then I went straight to finals: light pencils, then ink, usually two or three for each story. Then I scanned in all the pages, added a layer of shading, and separated them out into individual image files. Here is an example of the layers:


And here are the final illustrations:

I worked this way because – given the requested sketchy style – it would have been harder to do sketches for approval, and then attempt to replicate the looseness of the sketch.


They are all pen and ink drawings, with shading added later on the computer (Photoshop Elements, if you were wondering).


Then I sent them off, with the end result that it was quite exciting for me to go through the book and find out which images were used in the end.


And if you want to know which were the finals, and particularly what the stories are about, you will have to get hold of the book for yourself!

8 thoughts on “Cover art and illustrations – The Bread We Eat in Dreams – part 3

    • Thanks :) And goodness, it has been a while, hasn’t it! I thought I found a bundle of unpublished E Nesbit ones the other day. Maybe I’ll do a Brisbane Writers Festival special.


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