It's been a real pleasure working with author Stephen Jared again on the cover art for his next Jack Hunter novel The Elephants of Shanghai
The illustration has been hand rendered using Prismacolor pencils and acrylic airbrush inks on gessoed Illustration board.
Here are some shots taken during the process of creating the art.
“When Star Wars came out I was nine. In Midwest America, you walk out of movies and see nothing but open land and empty highways. There’s no place to channel the excitements just encountered, so they linger. They inspire you, but there’s nothing you can do with the inspiration, so you dream. Back then we couldn’t pick up DVDs and watch films over and over, and so the films tended to expand in scope, imagination taking them further. After Star Wars, we were hammered with stories of far away places and exciting adventures. By the time Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom came out, I was in big trouble—I could do nothing but think about movies. I can vividly recall staring at the painted posters by Drew Struzan and experiencing the same feelings I had watching the films. They were so full of adventure and romance; I wanted to live inside them. Like magic, they seemed beyond two-dimensional pictures, but instead were living, breathing worlds you wished you could enter.
I’ve written two stories in what I hope will be a series of adventures that pay tribute to the works that inspired me in my youth. The first, Jack and the Jungle Lion, received much critical praise, including an Honorable Mention in the Hollywood Book Festival. The next one, The Elephants of Shanghai, is coming soon. Paul Shipper’s work on the cover illustrations has taken me right back to those same feelings I had as a kid. I stare at them—and I can’t stop staring at them. With Struzan’s retirement, it seemed a visual language, spoken only by one, had been lost. But, thankfully, it has not been lost. Paul has mastered that language of romance and adventure, of storytelling within a picture. It has been a huge honor to partner with him for this ongoing project. I continue to be amazed by him." – Stephen Jared