Sunday, January 23, 2011


This is the front and inside cover for the book, My Wicked Marquess, by Gaelen Foley, published by Avon Books. From the beginning, I wanted this image to have a look of "dark passion", a kind of desperate intensity that sex can have. But how to get that across? The art director had requested they be in an interior, so I started playing with different interiors in my sketches. I decided an empty mansion or chateau would be better that a furnished room, hinting that they are there illicitly, but also that for them, only they exist. I liked the curving stair and it gave me the idea to have the models form a similar twist, at least on the front cover. The models, Harmon and Suzanne Fogarty, caught the concept perfectly during the shoot. By happy accident , on some of the shots, Harmons face was slightly shadowed and I decided to go with that and really make his face in shadow, bringing out the girl in light. I think there is something in the finished image, the spooky stair, the desperate intensity of their bodies, that successfully expresses my original concept.
For the inside cover, I had to invent a bed for them, not a real bed, but more a pile of blankets and stuff the threw together in the empty mansion. Again, I played with shadows, bringing darkness over their legs, to emphasize their faces and upper bodies. Suzanne and Harmon made this one sexy and graceful at the same time. Thanks to them and to Shirley Green, photographer and Sharon Spiak, costumer.
Please leave your comments!


Noelle Pierce said...

Once again, I'm blown away by your talent. That image definitely makes me want to read the book. And I love hearing the background behind the creation of the image--it reminds me how much goes into these covers and I respect them all that much more.

James Griffin said...

Hi Noelle, Thanks for the compliment. It's great to hear you say the cover makes you want to read the book. That's what I hope for. I try to get someone to pick up the book and catch a glimpse of the mood of the story. I'm very appreciative of your comments!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful work as always, Mr. Griffin! I absolutely love these. They look stunning on the book in person, as well.


Earthy Reporter said...

Wow..These illustrations certainly do lead one to indulge in fantasies. I now want to become the wicked marquess.

James Griffin said...

Thanks Barbara and Carol (earthy Reporter), Your comments are much appreciated. Barbara's interview with me is on her blog at: , and you can read Carol's excellent reportage about her wanderings through the world at: . The marquess gets to wear ( sort of!), all the pretty dresses. It's much more fun to be a wicked character in romance novels than nice, wholesome ones, don't you think?

Carrie at In the Hammock Blog said...

These are both gorgeous! Just finished reading your awesome interview over at Barbara's blog! Thanks so much for sharing the process for your covers!