Of course, this decision required a lot of additional decisions before it could be put into action, so I sat down and started asking myself questions.
Should I use a photo, or draw something from scratch?
A search of the internet revealed a definite lack of catgirl photos that matched Nyla's appearance, a definite surplus of exaggerated breasts and butts, and a possible inclination of the online community toward bestiality, so I decided to draw something myself.
Should it be cartoonish, or realistic?
I'm good at drawing anime-style and semi-realistic, but I have yet to succeed in making something look truly realistic.
I could have hired a professional artist for the job, but that can get very expensive, and a cartoonish look seemed like a better match for the goofy tone of a comedy novel anyway.
So I decided to go with a look that was semi-realistic, but still somewhat cartoonish.
What pose and scenario should I draw?
This was one of the tougher decisions.
There are a lot of funny moments in Catgirl Roommate - it's a comedy novel, so there'd better be! - and I wasn't sure which one would best encapsulate the story and characters.
The candidates were narrowed down somewhat by the fact that the picture needed to fit in a vertical rectangle, and to look good as a thumbnail.
A busy picture with a lot of small details wouldn't be as effective as a simple one whose focal image was big enough to look good at thumbnail size.
Here are a few of the candidates I considered:
1. Sam holding his food out of Nyla’s reach, while Nyla swats at it.
2. Nyla crouching in a box, with half of the neighbour's hamster dangling from her mouth.
3. Nyla forcibly grooming Sam while Sam protests.
4. Nyla’s bathroom disaster. She decided that she needed to punish Sam, and she was quite thorough about it.
Number four was probably the funniest scenario, but I soon concluded that it would probably be a better wallpaper than a book cover. There were so many small details that it wouldn't fit neatly into a vertical rectangle, and it probably wouldn't have looked very good as a thumbnail.
It's one of those situations that requires a large landscape-style image to show the disaster in its full glory.
Number one was tempting, but one of the challenges of drawing Nyla in a cover image is that, as a catgirl, she hates clothes. So I wanted to find a pose that would conceal the essentials without looking contrived, and the food-stealing scenario wasn't very conducive to that.
Though, delayed intelligence just informed me that she could try to steal it from the table rather than his hand, so the table could hide her... hm... maybe...
With number two, I struck pay dirt. A sufficiently large box can hide all the private parts while showing her feline tail and ears, and sitting in a box is a classic cat behavior that cat owners will probably recognize instantly.
Number three would probably also work, if Nyla was on bottom; I drew a quick, rough sketch of that when the concept art for number two was already partly drawn, but by that time number two was looking so good that I might not finish the sketch for number three.
So do we get to see the picture, or not?
OK, OK, I've kept you in suspense long enough. The picture isn't complete, and I haven't firmly decided on the text style for the subtitle and author name, but here's the work-in-progress for the cover of Catgirl Roommate:
Does it catch your interest, and make you want to check out the book?
And do you have any suggestions to tweak or improve it? (Aside, of course, from the obvious one of "finish the darn thing". :P )
I look forward to your feedback and comments!
The cover art is now complete! You can see the finished product below, and compare it to the messy sketch above to see how far it's come. :)