Evolution of Cover Design

Designing this book cover was a passion project.

I had a clear image in my mind of a fierce woman, with short spikey hair, wearing a red bandana with big black sunglasses. She was riding off on a motorcycle to get her nipple tattoos. It is based on one of my favorite chapters of the book, “Road Trip.”

First step, I needed an illustrator. Where does one find such a person? I didn’t want it to look too cartoonish. I googled fashion illustrators and found amazing artists, but most of them worked exclusively for large fashion houses and were out of my price range. Then, on Etsy, I found this adorable shop, Reani Designs. I was excited. After purchasing the item “Custom Illustration and Book Design,” I emailed the illustrator to arrange a time to talk. I could describe my vision perfectly!

Slight problem… turns out that Rhian, the illustrator, was hard of hearing and only comfortable communicating in writing. Didn’t read the fine print, AT ALL. Ironic for an ENT doc, I know. What now? How to convey my image? What about a Pintrest page?


After some back and forth, she emailed me this initial sketch.

Ok, but I want skinnier, cooler. I want an idealized version of myself.

Here are my notes back to her.

This finalized sketch is more like it.

What about the background?

This was her illustration. Beautiful, elegant. I love it.

The night before finalizing the design, my husband was coaching the playoffs at my daughter’s school.

The goalie’s mom, Amy, was in the bleachers. She is super plugged-in, works in commercial production in NYC.

“Do you mind looking at this?”

I showed her the image on my phone.

Long silence. Uh oh.


“What do you mean ‘no’?”

“Too pretty. This needs to be stripped down, cleaner, edgier.”

With her help and that of Amanda Muldoon, my ex-artist/ audiologist, I sent Rhian the new concept.

And THIS is the kick-ass result.

Awesome! Done!!!!