When author Sieni A.M. approached me about designing the book cover for her second novel, Scar of the Bamboo Leaf, she pointed me toward her library of visual inspiration on Pinterest. I spent some time looking at the images and almost immediately knew how to approach the design. I knew it had to be illustrated by hand, because the novel’s main character, Kiva, is an artist, and her story is told with beautiful and detailed descriptions of her art.
I also knew it had to include an image of Kiva, but because the story spans years, her image should be approached in a way that wouldn’t be too telling of her age. Neutralizing her age was also important because it would widen the audience of readers. So I decided to go with a silhouetted profile. (And then I put a bun in her hair because A.M.’s Pinterest board hinted at pretty buns.)
The silhouette, on its own, was okay but felt too simple for a girl with a creative spirit; I gave her a crown of bamboo leaves, but still it seemed stale. A.M. suggested adding flowers, and leaves blowing around her head, and it added just the amount of energy that Kiva’s profile needed.
When I got started on the title, I went through typeface after typeface, unable to find anything that complemented the image of Kiva and her bamboo-leaf crown. So I decided to draw the title by hand as well. It took time, but the result was worth it. Custom type almost always pays off.
Then, the cover went through so many iterations that it would be crazy to post them all, but all of the rough drafts were wilder than the final design we chose, and most of them were blue. Early on, we thought blue would be the right choice for the cover.
When we finally came to a decision, both the author and I agreed that this design was the right one. The warm color and the more simple silhouette were a better choice for this magnificent story.
Here’s a low-resolution view of the full cover, front and back. Notice the lemon-lime color on the spine and back—I thought it injected more life into the design and alluded to the tropical setting where the story takes place.
Of course, there have been other social-media promo pieces, like these for the author’s Facebook page.
Scar of the Bamboo Leaf by Sieni A.M. is now available at Amazon. It’s a story you will never forget. Buy it now.