Blackveil - Cover Art for a Novel

Today features the step by step break down in how I approached a recent piece of cover art, just released by DAW books, for the novel Blackveil by Kristen Britain. It was an excellent read and a novel I can highly recommend from within the genre. Kristen is not a prolific writer, but she hits a home run each time. I was most entranced with her thoughts of a corrupted forest, the namesake of the title, which brought back associations with Mirkwood from Tolkien's Middle-Earth. Those of you who know me well will know anything which makes a connection to Middle-Earth is an instant winner in my book of creative inspirations!
As is typical with all my works I begin with abstracts, leading into a rough drawing to communicate and formalize the content with the art director. In this case the art director/editor, who happens to be the co-owner of the company, Betsy Wollheim!, requested a second round of sketches to better portray the main protagonist. After the rough is approved, I move, onto the photo shoot and reference gathering and lastly into the oil painting. Due to the rushed nature of this commission, I did not create a separate preliminary drawing, but rather mounted the rough drawing as a composition right on the board.
Final art 24" x 36"
Oil on Panel