Category Archives: Publishing

The Stephen King Book Covers That Might Have Been

One of my favorite jobs at Cemetery Dance Publications is the day-to-day book production work.

We published two new Stephen King books in 2010: the World’s First Edition of Blockade Billy and the Deluxe Limited Edition of Full Dark, No Stars. Most collectors never get to see “behind the scenes” of the creation of a Limited Edition book, so I thought it would be fun to discuss how the cover artwork and design for Full Dark, No Stars came to be.

If you’ve read Full Dark, No Stars, you know this book has a really dark heart, which made deciding on a cover image and designing that cover a serious challenge.  Plus, we were publishing three editions of the book (Slipcased Gift Edition, Signed Limited Edition, Signed Lettered Edition), so this one book would actually have three different dust jackets.

First, we needed an artist. After much discussion, and once we rejected the idea of going with an AC/DC “Back in Black” style dust jacket, we hired Tomislav Tikulin to paint the cover. We had been impressed with his work on other projects and we felt he would bring a fresh perspective to this particular Limited Edition. We knew we wanted a wrap-around cover painting (artwork on the front cover and back cover) with the back cover somehow “showing the inner darkness” of the character on the front cover, but those were the only instructions we gave him so he wouldn’t be limited by our ideas.

Tomislav spent weeks on the painting, showing us each stage and discussing ideas and looking for feedback and suggestions to nail the tone, and he has very graciously allowed me to reprint those different drafts on this page, so you can get a better feel for the process of how the artwork was created.

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