Evolution of a Book Cover: ‘Jake Hawking & the Bounty Hunters’

J.M. Aucoin . Jake Hawking Adventures, Self-Publishing, Writing about writing 1555 No Comments

Totally meant to do this back in the spring when Jake Hawking & the Bounty Hunters got released, but it fell by the wayside. But better now than never, right? Folks seemed to enjoy this feature for the solo stories. So here we go.

Like the three Jake Hawking Short Adventures, Jake Hawking & the Bounty Hunters was designed by my good friend and fellow hockey enthusiast Pete Simeti of Alterna Comics. He’s got a great, fresh style, and I believe his comic book background is perfect for my action-adventure stories.

Brain Storming

What I love about working with Pete is that he comes into a project with his own ideas. I make sure I’m armed with my own, too, but as I describe a project he’s already thinking of visuals. It’s great.

For Jake Hawking & the Bounty Hunters the idea I came up with wasn’t too bad. It was Hawking and Little Queen, back-to-back, and surrounded by armed men (presumably, the bounty hunters). Pete drew two versions of that up. One where Jake and Queenie are defensive, and another where they’re on the offensive.


Cool ideas, but I was beginning to realize that it was maybe too similar to the cover of Little Queen’s Gambit. Thankfully, Pete drew up a third idea. It was less on the action, but it would show off Hawking and Queenie in a cool stationary pose.


I liked this idea the best. Sure, it’s less actiony, but it was visually different from Little Queen’s Gambit and A Pirate’s Honor, both of which had Hawking and Queenie in similar poses.

Sketching it Out

After deciding on Door Number Three, Pete went back to work on the cover, hammering out a quick pencil sketch of Hawking looking smug and Little Queen behind him.

Jake Hawking & the Bounty Hunters rough sketch

This original outline had Little Queen in a pose similar to that she had in Little Queen’s Gambit, so Pete reoutlined that and then sketched her facing the same direction as Hawking. He also added in the lightning outline.

Hawking Bounty Hunters Pencil 1

Little Queen got another change shortly after. She went from having one hand on the ax to two hands on it. She also hit the gym even harder between sketches. Holy smokes did she get ripped.

Hawking Bounty Hunters Pencil 2


Having finalized the pencils, it was on to the ink portion. I really love the pencil sketches, but it never stops amazing me when he adds the black ink to the page and see how everything just really starts to pop out.

Hawking Bounty Hunters Inks


After that, Pete colored in Hawking and Little Queen.


Hawking Bounty Hunters Colors 1

Hawking Bounty Hunters Colors 2


Then the titles were added on.
HawkingBounty Hunters FinalDraft v1

Just made a few minor tweaks: changed “and” to “&” and added “Collection” to the red bar line.  Also made the headline a smidge bigger so the words were more legible.

Final Product

Voila! A book cover is born. 🙂

Jake Hawking & the Bounty Hunters cover

Jake Hawking & the Bounty Hunters is available on Amazon for $2.99 as an ebook for Kindle or $6.29 as a paperback.


J.M. Aucoin

Author. Fencer. Sometimes actor. Full-time nerd. I write swashbucklers & historical adventure novels.

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