Dawn DeVries Sokol


Hop Along

You know how they say, “Tomorrow is a new day...”. Well, I’m feeling that phrase today. Yesterday I was so tired and the day was so full of ups and downs. But today, I feel great!

Today I’m working on a new class for NYC this fall. I'm also LOVING what this Art Doodle Love Blog Hop has produced: a great group of artists having fun in my new book, and a wonderful support system. I am glad to call them all friends!

Today’s friend is Tracie Lyn Huskamp. I have known Tracie for a while and a couple years ago we traveled to NYC together for a trade show. She was so fun to hang with and she’s SO talented. I’m loving what she’s done in her copy of Art Doodle Love and you will, too! Go on over to her blog and show her some LOVE!!!

I also want to continue with the cover design process I had started showing you a couple days ago. As I’ve said before, when designing others’ books, I would START with the cover design and then base the interior design on the cover look. But in designing and creating my own books, the interior design is such a huge part of the material of the book. It’s just more logical to design from the inside out.

So I had shown you the first “round” of rough covers. Once my editor had a look at those roughs, we proceeded to another round...

My editor had said she and the publisher liked the collaged bits and wanted to see a couple other backgrounds as options. She suggested certain pages from the book to try. I decided to send some with more collage bits and a photo of my mother at the bottom... I sent these:

Click on the set of covers to get a larger view of them side by side...

As you can see, these all have subtle differences. Some editors want to see cover roughs that vary greatly from each other. Some designers only prefer to send covers that are completely different from each other. I often like to send covers that have strong elements but with subtle differences especially when the original direction was favorable.

Once my editor and publisher reviewed these, my editor sent me these comments:

"Now that you've tried some of the more saturated backgrounds, we think those are the most eye-catching. We'd like to narrow it down to the three backgrounds in the attached files.

In #6, I love that raspberry type on the green/yellow background. I'm wondering if it would be possible to find a slice of the background that has even more contrast between the yellow and the green? We would also like to see this one with a couple of other spine variations (since the type isn't black here, the all-black spine feels a little bit out of place). It might be interesting to see this one with the spine from the first one below, with the cream colored tape over it or that sort of lineny tape.

In #8, is there a way that we can use the background with less yellow in it? In this case, the contrast seems a bit extreme, but we love that deep pink color.

As for ephemera and various collagey bits, some things are working and some are not. The photo of your mom is adorable, but I'm afraid it's just too distracting on the cover. (Also, it hadn't occurred to me until I saw it, but some women might find it strange to see a photo of another woman on a journal that will be so personal to them.) it's such a great photo , though…maybe it can go on the Love & Thanks page? We adore the fortune cookie. We like the foreign ticket. I think we could do without the flower and "Admit One" bits. Oh, and the houses! We still do like those houses quite a bit. Is there any way you can take the houses from the other background and integrate it into these backgrounds?

One last question I've been meaning to ask: what is the tape with the numbers on it? Does it have special meaning?

Thanks again! We're getting there!"


I’m always grateful for other sets of eyes looking at my designs. Sometimes, you can look at them too much, get too close to them, and not look at them objectively. Editors’ and art directors’ constructive comments can help a designer look at the work from a different perspective. You want a cover that’s eye-catching, that will first and foremost make a reader pick up the book. It needs to draw the reader in...

And it’s all about experimentation! So with my editor’s latest comments, I sent these covers and comments:

"I've revised according to your comments. I did take out the tape with numbers, both the cream and black. They didn't have any special meaning, I just put them in there because of our earlier conversation about washi tape. But now that I look at them more, I think they're a bit distracting.

I've given a few options on the binding for the yellow/green background. I did keep in the masking tape I had doodled over, but moved it to the top so you could read the message better: "love yourself".

And I hate to admit it, but I do have a favorite. I think the second one here is the most like my style in my journals... :)"

(Click on the cover set above to view them larger.)

As I said to my notes in my editor, I DO hate to admit to editorial when I have a favorite. I don’t want to mar the decision-making process in-house. And I usually try NOT to marry myself to any of my designs. But that was difficult to do with this cover. To me, there was a distinct choice...

More on the cover process soon! Come back to see how we get to the final cover!