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Hi Everyone!

Today I'm super excited to celebrate the cover reveal for EARTH'S END by Elise Kova, releasing February 11, 2016.

Ready to see?

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 A woman awoken in air, a soldier forged by fire, a weapon risen from blood.
Vhalla Yarl has made it to the warfront in the North. Forged by blood and fire, she has steeled her heart for the final battle of the Solaris Empire’s conquest. The choices before Vhalla are no longer servitude or freedom, they are servitude or death. The stakes have never been higher as the Emperor maintains his iron grip on her fate, holding everything Vhalla still has left to lose in the balance.

Earth’s End Release Date: February 11, 2016

Earth’s End Book Illustration: An In-depth Process
by Merilliza Chan

Hello reader! Welcome to my first blog post.

On today’s topic, I’ll be showing you my journey on how I made the illustration for Elise Kova’s 3rdinstallment of the Air Awakens series; Earth’s End.

I’ll be covering the initial stages in depth, from thumbnails, artistic insights to design problems and finally to the finished painting.

Are you excited? Me too! Let’s get to it!

Idea Generation

The one thing we all dread at times is how to come up with ideas. Where do we even begin? I suppose to most artists this part is usually not a problem since creativity tends to just start flowing once we start and get really into it. With Elise’s series it was much easier because the story was already laid out in the open for me to interpret (Elise sends initial manuscript and excerpts for me to read and interpret as I go). But for the most part, sometimes we just get stuck and don’t know what direction to go for. With that said, the initial problem I encountered with this project was proper visualization and relevance.

There are questions that roam my mind during idea generation stage. How do I make sure the cover stays relevant to the story without giving away too much content, along with random ones and others like; what easter eggs should I put in that the readers could go back to notice and enjoy in the cover? What is the mood I’m going to portray? Do I pick out specific scenes or do I go with the abstract route? Etc. These type of questions usually guide me into conceptual thinking.


Thumbnails in general is a fun part for me. It’s like juggling with the many possibilities and scenarios in the story and envisioning them through very simple drawings where I don’t need to worry too much about technicalities and problem solving.

(Earth’s End initial thumbnails. There’s usually huge blocks of texts below each thumbnail to help my client understand the idea, but for this post I removed it because they indicate a lot of spoilers for the book.)

My thumbnails are usually way messier than this. The type that only I could make sense of what’s actually going on. They normally involve a lot of circle and square shapes. I usually make plenty of the initial scribbles on a scratch of paper (ones that look quite disposable) and then choose the few ones that I liked and transfer them digitally, just to make them a little more readable. There are times I go straight digital when a pen and paper isn’t in sight.

So with every cover that I’ve done for Elise, as well as any illustration in general, I always start with thumbnails to get the initial ideas set out, while still trying to keep in mind the many questions I’ve mentioned above. It’s important to note that in this process I don’t really pay attention to how pretty and well done any of the elements are, just that thought of wanting to put everything down on paper before it gets lost in the abyss of my mind. Though I do make sure that the main elements are somewhat readable, since well, a client is going to look through them.

Preliminary Painting Studies and Reference Gathering

Before I go venturing into the unknown, I want to make sure I’m prepared for the journey. So I did some studies to warm up that artsy area of my brain in the hopes of increasing my chances of actually not screwing up. That, and basically trying to understand trees and forest scenery.

While I waited for Elise to choose a suitable idea, I went and gathered a lot of other forest references. As well as illustrations from various artists I deeply admire. Inspiring illustrations that I think will be relevant to how I’ll go about with this piece. I also have a reference board to help me organize and put everything in place. (I use the program refBoard sampled below).

Final Sketch

Unlike the previous 2 book covers…

Check out the first two books of the Air Awakens series!
About the Author

Elise Kova has always had a passion for storytelling. She wrote her first novella, a high-fantasy, in sixth grade. Over the years she’s honed her love of literature with everything from fantasy to romance, science fiction to mystery, and whatever else catches her eye.

Elise lives in Saint Petersburg, Florida, where she’s currently working on the next installment in her debut YA fantasy series: Air Awakens. She enjoys video games, anime, table-top role playing games, and many other forms of “geekdom.” She loves talking with fans on Twitter (@EliseKova) and Facebook. Visit her website, EliseKova.com, for news and extras about her books!

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Ayanami Faerudo


  1. As someone who has just discovered this series I am so so excited to read the first book. And because I am late to the game I wont have to wait for the other books when I am done the first. I guess there are up sides to discovering something later than most. I will pass on the word to all readers I know - and probobly annoy them with my enthusiasm. Lol

  2. Excellent article.I enjoyed a lot.I will share this article for my friends and colleagues because it is very helpful my writing.I got new writing format and ideas from this article.You can share any informative article.Waiting for new stuff.best writing service

  3. I absolutely LOVE the cover of Earth's End! Finding out how Merilliza Chan undertook the whole process of creating it has left me both speechless and full of appreciation (I had no idea what the process involved!). The entire Air Awakens series so far is not only an exhilarating and heart-stopping adventure, but the covers themselves make you want to display these books in all their glory. Bring on Feb 11!

  4. I am dying to know more about this series, I hear about it everywhere and through lots of trusted bloggers (like yourself! LOL). The first thing that draws me to them of course is the gorgeous covers. I love the illustrations!


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