Earlier today, Scholastic unveiled the cover of Forever, the third and final book in Maggie Stiefvater’s bestselling Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy, which is due out in summer 2011. To mark the occasion, we reached out to Chris Stengel, associate art director at Scholastic, with questions about his distinctive designs for the trilogy’s covers.
PW: How exactly did you decide to go in this spare, monochromatic silhouette direction, as opposed to some other treatment of wolves and forests?
CS: In the beginning, I can remember playing with a number of photos to try and make them feel more abstract, however, things just weren’t quite working. Things were feeling much too bold and hard. I it was clear to me that there was a subtlety missing. I began with the idea of the heart-shaped leaf, created a graphic interpretation of it, and from there, things really began to grow. In order to achieve a sense of depth, I played with the color values of the branches, and felt pretty happy with the outcome. By keeping things a bit stark, I figured it could help set this title apart from others on the bookshelf.
PW: Since this is the third and final book in this trilogy, did that present any particular design challenges? Did you approach this cover with any specific goals?
CS: I definitely knew that I wanted to make the third book red. It seemed logical to me to follow the progression of the seasons. At first, I wasn’t sure how close to Shiver the sequels should be, but once the artwork came together, it felt right to create a variation on the theme. The reversal of positions for the girl, boy, and the wolves relates to the plots of the books.
PW: David Levithan bought four more books from Maggie Stiefvater back in March—Forever, plus three other novels. Will you be working on the covers for any of those? Anything you can say about any of them?
CS: Funny that you should ask, because I’m actually in the middle of concepting the design for a new book by Maggie right now! It’s been challenging to try and emulate the same subtlety that exists on Shiver, Linger and Forever, but I’m sure something will come together soon. Over the weekend, I was able to begin fleshing things out a bit. Hopefully everyone will like the direction!
PW: Any other covers you’ve been working on that we should keep an eye out for?
CS: Half Brother by Ken Oppel (September 2010) hit the shelves recently and I’m pretty happy with the way it turned out. Three others I enjoyed working on should also be released pretty soon: Gemini Bites by Patrick Ryan (March 2011), The Big Crunch by Pete Hautman (January 2011), and the sequel to Numbers by Rachel Ward called The Chaos (March 2011). I can’t wait to see how they’re received!