Thursday 27 September 2012

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A Novel Cover Up: Tom Bagshaw on Pantomime by Laura Lam

A Novel Cover Up

A Novel Cover Up is a semi-regular feature that looks at how covers are made. Thanks to Strange Chemistry, I have been fortunate enough to interview illustrator Tom Bagshaw about how he designed the cover for Pantomime by Laura Lam. Other than the cover, all images in this post are copyrighted to Lee Gibbons and used with permission. They can be clicked to enlarge.

Pantomime by Laura LamCan you tell us about the cover for Pantomime? What do you hope it tells readers about the story?

The main aim was to give the reader a feel for the main characters secret life and bring in some little details that occur throughout the story.

How did you come up with the idea for the cover?

This was actually a very simple thing for me, the publishers already had a strong idea of what they wanted to see and used a promotional piece of work i had already produced as the starting point. The main concept of the central character indicating a secret was essentially what was needed and after some discussion I was able to offer a more complete design that was fortunately - almost spot on!

What were you given to base your ideas on? Did you have a manuscript, or were you given an outline?

I was given a brief synopsis of the story and a pretty detailed brief of the requirements together with a small moodboard for initial reference.

What went into creating the Pantomime cover? Can you tell us about the process? Who else was involved?

My main point of contact after my agent at Central Illustration was Marc Gascoigne, MD at Angry Robot, who was able to give great direction and feedback from the author and publishing team after the initial concept sketches were supplied.

Initial concept sketches for Pantomime

What do you like most about this cover?

I'm very happy with its simplicity - which is what gives it its strength and from a technical point of view - I'm happy with how I was able to get a good depth of field into it!

Were there any other early ideas for the cover? Why didn’t they make it?

Apart from the initial sketches I supplied to gauge how best to approach the lighting and colour tones, there was really only one prior version before I was able to produce the final artwork - and that was simply a case of adding more pertinent details to the story.

Preliminary artwork for Pantomime

All in all this was one of those rare jobs that ran incredibly smoothly so many thanks to Marc and the guys at Angry Robot and of course the author herself!

Thank you, Tom, for such a great interview! Look at those sketches! You can tell the Strange Chemistry had a clear idea of what they wanted from Tom from how similar those early sketches are to the final product.

Based in the Georgian city of Bath, England, Tom Bagshaw works as a commercial illustrator under the moniker Mostlywanted and is represented by The Central Illustration Agency. His talents are sought after by clients in fashion, advertising, editorial and publishing, and include Saatchi & Saatchi, Sony, the BBC, Kraft, GQ, Future Publishing, Scholastic and Random House to name a few.

Be sure to visit Tom's website, and check out Pantomime by Laura Lam when it's released on 7th February 2013.

Enjoyed this post? Then check out the previous A Novel Cover Up posts.


  1. Oh, this cover is G O R G E O U S.
    I LOVE seeing posts like this. Thanks SO much Jo and Tom ♥