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Victo Ngai
VICIOUS, my first book cover!
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My first ever book cover,  VICIOUS by V.E. Schwab, will be published by Tor Books this fall. "This is a book that plays with comic book culture, with the Ideas of the hero and the villain. It takes superpowers and strips away the spandex and the capes, until what's left is gritty and violent and bare. " 
 
I really enjoyed the project, there's nothing better than sitting down and reading a fun story without feeling guilty that I am not drawing or hollering at clients. The long deadline was also a nice change - my style is quite time-consuming and I always find myself finishing a piece on the last min. The adrenaline rush can be exhilarating but has also given me heart burns. With this piece, I was able to finish it, leave it for a few days, come back and do the final tweaks with a pair of fresh eyes. 
 
However, I would be lying if I said there was no pressure. I am definitely one of those who judge a book by its cover. VICIOUS is quite a mesmerizing story and I hope my art has done it justice, or better allure people to pick up a copy! And of course, first time is always intimidating. I have heard many stories about how book covers could be a real pain, especially when marketing team get involved with the creative process. I really appreciate the freedom and power AD Irene Gallo, Editor Miriam Weinberg and Tor books have given me. It's always been a real pleassure working with this team. 
The story is about the rivalry and avengement of Victor and Eli -2 bestfriends-turned archenemies. Their lives interwine in the most extreme way - one person's death is the anothe person's life purpose.  So in this set of sketches, I want to show how the two mirror each other. Irene said even though the story is violent, we can't show too much blood on the cover. 
Trying to be symbolic with this one - a fatal and vicious fight between the 2 evils. 
One of the very powerful moments in the book was when Victor look down at the city of Merit and clashes a glass when he thought of Eli being somewhere nearby. I thought the fragmented glass, blood and city scape could make a violent and interesting image without being narative, but Irene thought they are a tad too enigmatic. 
This is the direction we eventually went with. Irene picked the one of the right as it has more of a Sci-fi comic book feel to it. The editor suggested maybe adding some smoke around Victor to enhance the supernatural vibe. This great suggestion sparked the idea of visualizing Victo's power - the ablity to control pain. I decided to make the city looks like blood vessesls and distort part of it, so the air would look like it's thumping in pain. 
Some of the layout designs by senior designer Peter Lutjen, you can read more on Irene's blog post.
The the end, the team decided to keep the type straightforward and elegant, slightly curved to mimic the city.
I am very happy with how the cover turned out, and so is the author. She wrote : "This cover is Vicious. I mean, obviously this cover is for Vicious, but some covers are covers and some covers are books, and this cover is a book. What i mean to say, is that this cover is both a moment from the book, and an embodiment of the book itself." Getting a nod from the author is the bestest. 
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