Cover sketch/concept #1
Cover sketch/concept #2
Editors wanted to show a little more of the action of the rescue, so I did another version with the Matt struggling to get his uncle into he cabin. This version, although very dramatic, seemed too graphic as the figure of the uncle was a bit lifeless.
Cover sketch/concept #3
I did another version, this time showing the rescue of the Matt's aunt. I usually prefer to show faces in my compositions since it seems to engage viewers easier, but this one seems to work. Editors decided maybe it showed too much of the story's conflict resolution, so I went back to the drawing board.
Cover concept/sketch #4
In this version, I show Matt as he struggles to pull the sled holding his uncle across the farmyard to the cabin. It seems like this composition is closer to what the editors were hoping for, so I think this one may end up being selected. I will have to make some compositional adjustments to allow for things like the bar code/address box in the lower left corner, but I am looking forward to painting this one. If not, I'll just figure out the next possible solution. That's just how it goes sometimes.
Opening spread sketch can be seen here