Today, I’m thrilled to be featuring the cover story for On the Bright Side by S.R. Johannes, a fabulous new middle grade novel! Our good friend Vania of VLC Productions designed the cover, and today we talk to her and author Shelli about what they came up with. We’ve even got some behind the scenes photos from the cover shoot to share, too!
Shelli: Gabby is a Bright – a guardian angel – in training to earn her wings. She has red hair and she got stuck wearing her favorite pink converse and crazy socks (in addition to her white fat pants that she refused to be photographed in).
This cover represents Gabby perfectly. Even the smirk on her face captures her mischievous attitude.
Vania: We wanted to portray a fun character in a bright world and I think we did that.
You worked with Vania previously for the cover of your YA novel, UNTRACEABLE. How was the process similar/different for ON THE BRIGHT SIDE?
Shelli: I love Vania and love how creative she is. We work well together. I told her what I envisioned. I needed a cover that gave off the lightness of the book and the idea Gabby was an angel – without showing wings.
Then I step back and let her do her creative magic. 🙂 She wanted to work with levitation photography, which was perfect for Gabby. She grabbed a model, threw together an outfit out of a suitcase of clothes and made it happen. What is even more amazing is her photoshopping skills. Amazing. I love what she (we) came up with.
Vania: Shelli came to me and told me about her tween angel book, and I immediately had ideas. Some better than others but I was really hoping she’d like to try something different from her other cover and really from any of my other photography. This one was the most extensive work I’ve done on a single photo. Where usually it’ll take me a few hours to edit and put together, this one was a few days.
I really wanted to keep it light, airy, and colorful. This is a younger and more lighthearted book then UNTRACEABLE so I needed to push this image in a much different direction.
I hope everyone likes it!
The cover for ON THE BRIGHT SIDE definitely has a light feel to it, but the book does deal with some heavy issues. How do you balance that out in the novel?
Shelli: The book is a book about death but it is done in a lighthearted way. There is adventure, a boy crush, and a test of friendship and character. I wanted to show a lighter side to death then all the dark books coming out. I thought tweens would be the perfect audience. The cover needed to highlight the light side because death is a dark topic as it is.
Check out On the Bright Side here! And check out some behind the scenes photos from the cover shoot below: