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Catching Fire

AUGUST 28, 2009
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins.
My wife and design director at Scholastic, Elizabeth Parisi started working on the second cover in the Hunger Games trilogy in December.  This would not take as long as the first cover.  That process went on and on in order to find the perfect image for the series that would also be the design motif for a trilogy of books.  This time we knew that we wanted a mocking jay (a bird in the book) to be in a circle.  That was a big help.  Which shape, where it would be going to and what would the circle be were a main area of investigation.

I did a bunch of bird paintings in a working class at the University of the Arts. The kids worked on their stuff and could care less. Funny how that is.
I did some drawings of birds in different poses.  I like the first cover pose a lot, so I found finding another one difficult.  That one was perfect.  With enough different poses done I stared on the circle.  A clock face was the first idea and the second was a ring of fire.   After a while that evolved into a sort of target.  The target itself was changed many time s over to get just the right amount of marks without being too busy.

An early version of the cover and target. At this point is was a clock. The arrow was still in the mocking jay's mouth at this time.
I liked this pose, with the bird's wings on their way down. It was the opposite of the first cover.
Here is where we considered a ring of fire.
Trying to do too much? I have no idea what that target ring thing is.
As we added elements and refined things and shifted to red, I then stared to pare things down.  The final accepted design would still need yet another bird.  Elizabeth was right and the new bird with a cleaner target on red was the final stop.
Last try to use this target before it's killed...
Here is a new bird I offered. I like this one too but Elizabeth wanted another one. Did I write it's fun to work with your spouse yet?
This ended up being the new bird.
The final art. The whole thing is a digital piece. I'm often asked if I work digitally. Normally I do not but these covers are highly designed and the birds themselves are all based on detailed pen drawings. They are way more detailed than they need to be. It is fun to work in new ways though.
Marc Burckhardt clued me in on NPR talking about it.