I recently got a really cool job; to create a book cover for a first-time author.
Charami's official manuscript was with her publisher when we started working together, so she sent me a synopsis, and the text for the back of the jacket:
Once accepted to Brigham Young University—Hawaii,
Teia Hunt arrives on the tropical island of Oahu determined
to unearth the roots of her Polynesian heritage and in the
process meets three girls who help her navigate the path to
Australian native Lara Brodie is carefree and reckless—
until she joins the church; Jen Hartman and Kate Mitchell
are best friends from small-town Utah who couldn't be
more different, especially since one of them is carrying a
devastating secret. Despite their differences in background,
culture, and experience, the four girls forge a remarkable
Island Girls is an inspirational story about relationships,
faith, and the trials that shape our lives for the better.
After reading everything, I knew all 4 girls had to be on the cover. But fitting 4 heads/figures in one small space with good composition is really tough, and while I was working on a solution, I remembered seeing a picture in primary with a bunch of prophets lined up in profile view. My google skills couldn't find it, so you'll just have to imagine what I'm talking about. Once I realized that's a good way to fit in a lot of figures, I also remembered the profile in the Young Women's logo:
With those two inspirations, I made up this draft for the cover
(which is the one Charami ultimately picked).
The next step was to add color. I tried some iterations and
sent her these two.
At this point, Kyle saw my first draft. He said he liked it much better than these color versions, and that I should try to make the final look more like the rough. I changed it accordingly, and he was totally right.
Here's the final.