I’m so excited to start my feature here on Mocha Girls Read where I’ll be talking all about book cover design. I’m kicking it off with the cover for The Great Greene Heist by Varian Johnson and its illustrator Kali Ciesemier. I figured it was perfect since the book’s sequel, To Catch a Cheat, just came out last month !
The Great Greene Heist is a middle grade novel about 13-year-old Jackson Greene who leads an Ocean’s Eleven style heist at his middle school. When I first saw this original hardcover (below) I saw the was struck by the diversity of the characters and the colorful design style
The artist for the cover, Kali Ciesemier is a freelance illustrator and graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art’s Illustration program. She uses a Wacom Cintiq, a digital drawing tablet and Photoshop to create her illustrations. She was kind enough to take some time out of her day and tell me a little bit about the process of putting together the cover art for The Great Greene Heist:
“I read through the whole book to get a good feel for all the characters and situations, and then turned in a few different sketches based on my ideas and Scholastic’s ideas. Scholastic picked a sketch and I finalized it, it was a large portrait of Jackson with the rest of the gang arrayed behind him in colorful shapes. The cover didn’t end there, though.”
“After the first cover was completed, it was decided that the cover needed a different vibe. Scholastic re-hired me to redraw the same characters but with full-body poses and a simple backdrop. Then I found out that they changed the layout again, they put Jackson on the cover and everyone else on the back cover. I’m not totally sure why it changed both times, but sometimes publishers get feedback from booksellers that convince them to redesign things.”
“For To Catch a Cheat, Scholastic had a pretty clear idea of what they wanted from me from the beginning, based on the newest version of the Great Greene Heist cover.”
Kali has also done covers for Behind the Canvas by Alexander Vance, Hans Christian Andersen’s Fairy Tales (Puffin Classics), Princess X by Cherie Priest (Kali did all the interior comics) and The News Crew series by Walter Dean Myers.
I lost hours of my day scrolling through Kali’s work on her website. She does illustrations for national print media like Parenting Magazine, Ebony Magazine and Wall Street Journal. The best part is you can buy some of her images on her online store !
You can also see Kali’s work on her Tumblr at kalidraws.tumblr.com
Latest posts by Mocha Girl Kat (see all)
- 17 Mocha Girl Romances + Romance Is In The Air Giveaway - February 13, 2017
- MGR Anniversary Giveaway: Romance Book Pack - October 5, 2016
- Top Ten Tuesday: Books Set Outside The US - July 18, 2016