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I originally thought I would publish So You Survived the End of the World Way back at the end of 2019. That didn’t happen, but at the time I took to the ol’ sketchbook to get my ideas for the cover out in thumbnail form.

From the start I was attracted to the idea of a more graphic cover, rather than going for illustration or photography.

Using headphones (to represent the love my protagonist, Sebastian, has for music) was one of my favorite ideas. So I started exploring that a little more. 

I also started to play around with the idea of creating some sort of stencil effect for the title. Because you know, stencils are just so rock ’n’ roll. 

Cue more super rough sketches!

At this time, I worked out the title treatment, which I loved and am still sticking with two years later. 

I even contemplated using a stock photo to create the cover to expedite things, but ultimately chose not to go that route for a myriad of reasons. 

But let’s fast forward to 2021, when it was time to get back to that creating a cover business. 

And you know what I was sure about at this point: I was putting some headphones on a skull! 

At this time, I contemplated doing something more illustrative. 

I even did a rough drawing in Photoshop full illustration style, played around with a little color, and created a cover mock up.

And then I remembered how much I loved the idea of something more graphic in my original thumbnails, so I started simplifying the idea of this skull-headed character.

By the way, the skull version of my protagonist is officially named Skullbastian. I sorta think of him as a mascot now. 

In the end, I just went with the skull head on its own. I liked how it turned out on the cover mock up.

I created a slicker version of the skull…

…but there was something to the roughness of the original sketch that gave it some personality. So I decided to go with a cleaned-up-but-not-too-clean version. 

And then well…

Does anybody else make infinitesimal changes to a thing and then have too many choices but none of them are *quite* right? 

But when it feels right, it just feels right.