Religion: a Discovery in Comics – the Cover

Coming up with a good cover is always a challenge. Ideally, a cover drawing conveys precisely what the book is about. For Religion: a Discovery in Comics I wanted it to contain me (since there’s a lot of autobiography in there), an image of “God”, and the symbols of the five world religions. The very first sketch (for the Dutch edition) was this:

religie-sketch

The image of Man reaching for God and God reaching out to infuse Man with life is an allusion to this famous fresco by Michelangelo, called ‘The Creation of Adam’:

michelangelo

Although I liked the overall feel of the picture, I was having a hard time getting all the elements right. This was an early version:

religie3

Nice enough, but colleagues pointed out that this picture has two focus points: the divine halo in top and the yellow circle where pencil and God’s hand almost meet. It’s better to have one point in the picture to draw the eye to, and someone suggested this:

religion2

I liked that, but I wasn’t sure about the space between the pencil and God’s hand. In the original Michelangelo painting there is this space, and it creates a good suspense of almost-being-animated – but then I realized that my book is not about a one-way relationship with the divine, but rather about the dynamic between people and how they perceive any “higher force”.

When I made the finger and the pencil meet, the image suddenly “clicked”. It can be read in two ways: either the divine is inspiring the artist, or the artist is conjuring up an image of the divine. Or both!

So this is the final result, and the cover to keep an eye out for in stores soon:

religion_cover-bg

 

Covercovercovercover!

Here a few versions of the cover for my upcoming book. Covers do not come easily for me. Perhaps it’s all in my head, and I just get myself all wound up and stressed out thinking, “This cover has to be awesome; otherwise no one will bother to pick the book off the shelf.” Attempting awesome can be rather paralyzing. I’m much happier drawing a comic book page. Or perhaps I struggle because this is my idea of a fantastic cover.