BACKGROUND: The story and feel of the book is a mix of slow, deeply affecting, complex real life scenes with nuanced characters punctuated by intensely dramatic martial arts training and fantasy (inner world of main character). Jacob draws a lot and imagines or dreams about himself as a lone boy ninja often on the run, with a Red Samurai and his army as his nemesis (bully in the story), his only friend Harold the gutsy nerd as a ronin (lone samurai without a clan) and hordes of zombies at their heels trying to eat their brains!
The book is meant to be a read by both parents and kids who're different, affected by bullying, ADHD, learning disabilities, and just paralyzed by anxiety. The cover needs to appeal to the boy tween, however. In a stark and captivating way, like the program it is based on. (http://www.youngwarriors.com)
The YW symbol (see attached) should help in choosing or creating the hand written brush font for YOUNG WARRIORS. We see this as black on white or white on black. We're torn about the background being stark white or black or orange (sunrise, sunset, fire). Maybe white like the pages he draws on.
The theme of finding courage is the strongest emotional element and expressed through also tapping into his anger... both of which speak to the FIRE motif in the title JACOB's FIRE.
One possibility I see vividly is a white background with the silhoutte of Jacob (wild wavy haired dreamer) in the center (or centre bottom) of the cover, drawing, or brooding in fear/contemplation. A silhouette of the red Samurai Lord with sword raised to cut him up on the right (part off page) and a black silhoute of the ninja boy hanging off a bamboo tree top watching and hiding on the left... The fire theme... could be a small burning fire inside his belly/chest area or all of his silhouette... The sparks of courage come from within.
I don't see the images as too realistic but also not too kid-like... realistic detailed silhouttes or something else striking and vivid (like his drawings). Also the style is in line with being a tween -- twix inbetween childhood innocence and playfulness and brutalities of teen and adulthood.
As one of the authors and lead on the final decisions, I am super excited and nervous to see whether you can create something bold and striking yet also capturing the feel of the heart of our quiet introverted reluctant hero... If you can make it appealing to tweens but also clean and stark and true to an Aikido (considered the peaceful martial art) aesthetic that would be awesome! But, in the end, I will let go of it being accurate and take more that it is evocative and connects to sensitive boys this age.