Well, I have at last had the feedback for the educational cover job I was waiting on (see An American Cover). As often happens, they have asked for a few changes, so I have done a re-rough.
There were various things. Firstly, there is now more text to make room for on the back cover, so a big chunk of the illustration needs to be raised up. Here's the original again, so you can compare:
The second thing is that they would like me to take more liberties with the shadows, to straighten up the edges and get them to more obviously suggest a city skyline. I'm glad about being able to do this, as it was the main thing I was struggling with. I just couldn't make the shadows credible. Here's the new version:
The last thing was something really interesting, that hadn't even occurred to me. It's the dragonfly shadow that is supposed to suggest an airplane: they need me to swing it round, so it faces up, and can no way remind people of 9/11!
While I was at it, I took the opportunity to change a few other things that I wasn't quite happy with. I've fiddled with the main character's proportions, to make him cuter (bigger head, smaller feet...). I've flipped the wheel over, so its shadow makes more sense, and have added some wild flowers and an extra cactus to allow for colour. I've inverted the lizard too, so he and the beetle have more of a story going on:
It still bugs me a little that it's impossible to make the shadows as big as they should be, but I think this will be less obvious when the book is closed. I'd like to enlarge the cactuses to help the composition, but then the shadows would need to be even bigger still!
Luckily, the deadline turns out to be flexible, so I have next week to do the artwork after all. It's likely to take a couple of days I should think.