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 Home   Cover Art by Honi Werner

COVER ART by Mel odom


Mystery Book Cover Art:  
The Evolution of a Mystery Book Jacket

Mel Odom and Ruth Rendell's Keys to the Street

The following series of drawings illustrates the way an artist works collaboratively with a publisher to create the art we see on book covers. The artist reads the manuscript, usually in a preliminary form, and prepares a drawing or painting for submission to the publisher.  This series of drawings by renowned artist Mel Odom is especially illustrative of the process because it involved a number of different concepts.  The book is Ruth Rendell's Keys to the Street, a psychological portrait by a grand master of the crime novel.  The art is for the Canadian edition, published by Doubleday Canada Limited. Mel Odom describes the work:

"Two versions of the same theme. The more complicated one is the heroine's face, veiled with spiked fencing. The man's face is the edge of a large key. On the left side of the key is a front door with steps leading to the street."

Version 1

"The other much simpler version is the heroine's face hidden on the left by a large key forming a man's profile."

Version 2

"We could even do the more complex version without the spiked veil. Think about it, talk about it. This is my best effort at depicting this complex group of elements..."

Version 3

The publisher preferred a simplified "complex" version and asked Mel to produce a finished colour drawing.

The Publisher's Choice

The Finished Product



Copyright 1996-2010
by Partners & Crime, Inc. 
All rights reserved.

Revised: April 2010