Picture Perfect

Today, I want to brag about friend and artist Francisco Etchart  the young man that did the cover for my debut novel Crux.

Buddy and talented writer J.A. Belfield  emailed me and suggested I blog about the road I traveled ( along with my publisher J Taylor)  to find the perfect cover for my book. Ha! Little did I know, Franciso had already put this collage together illustrating the steps we went through to get to the finished product.

And here it is!!!

Francisco Etchart    Artist | Professional | Digital Art     From:   Argentina

I wish I had kept every email. I didn’t, but I think you’ll get the idea. Fransico was so patient as we worked to get the cover right. Some of our emails went like this:


Hello Julie!

I know that you are in a hurry with the cover right now, so I will do my best.

Taking the sketch #3 as base I worked on a more elaborated sketch. Take a look
at the attached files. There you can see the original drawing, my idea for the
amulet and a sketch for the cover finished. I think that I could add some
celtic window/door in the background instead of the hero, don´t know if you
will like it. I like this idea because the background is really dark and I can
play with the contrasts. I would like to hear your opinion on this. Also, I
designed the amulet according to your instructions, but I don´t know if it is
really what you have in your mind. If you have more specific concepts, just
tell me. If you like it as it is, perfect! In the finished illustration, it
will be glowing between the blonde hair. What color do you have in mind for the magical stone? As details, I put a piercing/ring in the girl´s nose, probably
you like it 😉

That´s all for now. I hope you like it. Obviously the finished work will be
much more cool than these sketches.



Julie to J Taylor:

I like drawing # one.  Do you like these?

Regards, Julie


J Taylor to Julie Reece

I love picture 01 … but (there is always one, right?) Grey seems too ‘in focus’ if you know what I mean. I kinda expected him to be behind the windows because right now he’s like this thing in between Birdie and the Window which means he has no ‘purpose’. If he were behind the windows, then it would add mystery. As it is, he’s plunked in between.

It’s really hard for me to describe, but it has to do with depth and perception of depth. He’s perfect from a ‘Grey’ perspective, I just think his placement is off. Make sense??


Otherwise, I think we’re 99% there. 🙂 It’s great, really. We just need to properly position Grey. 🙂


Julie to Fransico:

Did you get the notes from my publisher about the book cover I sent? Sorry, we’d like to make some changes, but I just want you to know I love your work.  In the end, if my publisher won’t go for your drawings, I will still pay you and use the picture on my website. Hopefully they will like it fine now, maybe you have a better idea of what they want. Have a good day.

Regards, Julie



Francisco Etchart to Julie Reece

Hello Julie! Take a look to the new amulet and tell me if you like it. Of course that this is just a sketch. I tried to include all the elements you wanted: water, fire, wings and fangs.
I hope you like it.



Fransico to Julie:

Hello Julie!

First of all, did you like the girl and the amulet?

Second, I added more details to the sword, Grey´s head and hair and his right fist, so I hope you like it now.

As you recropped the image, the structure of the window is almost out, so I decided to do another version (number 05) where I nudged a little the window, maybe you like it.

When you have the final version of the cover with the text, I would like to see it.



J Taylor to Julie:


Grey looks wonderful. 🙂

Took me a while to see what he meant by ‘nudge’ the window. 😉 Looks like he scooted it down vertically. I prefer 04 in that case because we don’t want that frame to show at all.

If you’re happy with 04, I’m happy with 04 and we can call the imagery done. 🙂 We’ll work on the rest of the content very soon.

Can you get that release from him for version 04? 🙂


Fransico to Julie:

Hi again!

Well, I think it´s done. I added lots of little details to make it look real. I
really hope you like it. The whole picture is bigger than the front cover so
your designer will have to crop it. I did it on purpouse because the printer.

As you can see, I did different versions: “01” is warm colors (the
real ones), “02” is more blueish (just in case you like them) and
“03” is the cover how I would do it, cropped that way and with that
kind of letters, some spiky and rusty text. I know that your designer will do
it, but I just wanted to see how it would look.

You didn´t see any sketch about Grey so I hope you like how I made him in that
pose and with the sword. Personally I have to tell you that I love this
picture, the lights from behind through the celtic window, the little glowings
everywhere and especially the face of the girl.

I will wait for your comments and I hope you like it, and to your editor too 😉
and use it for the book, of course.


Fransico to Julie:

Hi Julie!

I have read all the notes and I guess I am going to have the full color version finished for tonight. Now, just for your eyes, I let you a preview from yesterday when I started with the colors. The current drawing is much more advanced and almost finished right now but I have to do some final touches tonight.

I hope you like it 😉



Julie to Fransico:


Picture is wonderful! Here is a copy of the release, please sign and return. Can you scan it or something to get it to me? Thanks!



Of course, when I put the artwork in my site I will link it to your site and Taylor Publishing. Thank you so much for chose me between so many artists in the net.

About the release, what is exactly to you the “release”? Sorry for my English, it´s not perfect and sometimes I don´t know some words or expressions. And “release” has many meanings. Just in case, I am sending again the contract (as an image and Word) and the final picture.


Note: Isn’t he so cute? I love the accent.

J Taylor:

Thoughts? I used the blue in the pendant for the title and your name because we need a color that is complementary (brown or yellow will not show well). 🙂


And that’s it! Some of the back and forth between artist, writer and publisher. This was so much fun to work together from concept to finished product and the beautiful result all lies on Fransico’s wonderful shoulders.

He is amazing! See more of his work here:



I love my cover. Everyone has different taste because covers are art. Which leads me to this question … what draws you to a book cover? Which are your favorites? Leave me a comment and tell me, I’m dying to know!

About Julie Antonovich Reece

Young Adult Author - Epic Tales of Romance and Adventure View all posts by Julie Antonovich Reece

23 responses to “Picture Perfect

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