Beluga - a crude sketch

OK sure enough, the cover’s developed quickly. I see potential for how this can convey the world that these novels inhabit.

I shared the initial sketch (on the left) with the editor, Kelley Ragland. She liked it, but thought the tire odd just sitting there in the field. Kelley had had the great idea to make the tire lean against something, as shown in the revised sketch (right).

Kelley was also worried that the imagery looked too photographic, and the type too clunky. But she realized that this was just a very loose sketch of the concept.

I assured her that the type will fit onto the wheel more realistically. The font would be something with a far more fun, almost 1970s vibe to it. And the imagery would look far more cohesive and illustrative. So long as we can do all of that, Kelley will be happy.

My artist ‘magician’ Hugh Syme (of album art fame) will be perfect for breathing life into this.

Hugh’s version should be in next week.


Beluga is Rick Gavin’s absolutely hilarious follow-up to last year’s Ranchero.

I started to sketch and brainstorm, but I have no vision for this. We don’t want to show a person (which is what Beluga is referencing). A landscape alone doesn’t seem like it could convey the funny, quirky aspects of the book. We wondered if the title was problematic.


Rick promptly replied. He did not see the title as being problematic to the cover art. He envisioned the cover as a large black tire, with the type BELUGA printed on the side of the tire, and a landscape in the background.

I’m gathering some preliminary images, just to sketch with. But looking at this I’m starting to worry. I just can’t see how a tire will carry the cover, and look interesting enough.

I’m trying to envision the title on the wheel. Will that be too confusing?

Clearly I need to do further exploration. Let’s see what tomorrow brings.