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A Reader of Fictions: Sidekicked Blog Tour: Cover Artist Interview & Giveaway

A Reader of Fictions

Book Reviews for Just About Every Kind of Book

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Sidekicked Blog Tour: Cover Artist Interview & Giveaway


Author: John David Anderson
Pages: 384
Publisher: Walden Pond Press
Publication Date: June 25, 2013
Read: June 22
Source: Won from Walden Pond Press

Description from Goodreads:
With not nearly enough power comes way too much responsibility.

Andrew Bean might be a part of H.E.R.O., a secret organization for the training of superhero sidekicks, but that doesn’t mean that life is all leaping tall buildings in single bounds. First, there’s Drew’s power: Possessed of super senses – his hearing, sight, taste, touch, and smell are the most powerful on the planet – he’s literally the most sensitive kid in school. There’s his superhero mentor, a former legend who now spends more time straddling barstools than he does fighting crime. And then there’s his best friend, Jenna – their friendship would be complicated enough if she weren’t able to throw a Volkswagen the length of a city block. Add in trying to keep his sidekick life a secret from everyone, including his parents, and the truth is clear: Middle school is a drag even with superpowers.

But this was all before a supervillain long thought dead returned to Justicia, superheroes began disappearing at an alarming rate, and Drew’s two identities threatened to crash head-on into each other. Drew has always found it pretty easy to separate right from wrong, good from evil. It’s what a superhero does. But what happens when that line starts to break down?


Today I'm thrilled to be a stop on the blog tour for the adorable, funny middle grade novel Sidekicked by John David Anderson. I've got an interview for you with the cover artist, who dared to enter the realm of Cover Snark. Meet Shannon!

C: I love the cover for Sidekicked. It's adorable and bright. Did Andrew Bean always have blue skin on the cover?

S: I'm so glad you like the cover illustration! I should probably clarify that his skin is only blue on the cover.

Since Andrew is a rather sensitive kid (it's part of his power!), I wanted to highlight that by choosing colors that would express his nature. So, I submitted several color sketches to illustrate that concept to the folks at HarperCollins. We bounced ideas back and forth for a bit and ultimately chose blue, because cooler colors tend to be more passive, illustratively speaking. I also wanted to suggest the classic hero trait of an anonymous altar ego. So, I made both Andrew's skin and the background shades of blue, so he could blend in.

C: Did you have the basic cover concept from the beginning or were other possibilities considered?

Cover designed by Alvin Lustig
S: In the development phase of any project, concepts come and go. However, I had two ideas from the start-draw inspiration from the bold, simple graphics of Alvin Lustig and Saul Bass and reference an iconic superhero image (Clark Kent's transformation into Superman).

Hopefully, you can see both influences in the final cover.

C: Any other good stories about the evolution of the final cover?

This was actually my first book cover, so the whole process was a big adventure. My day job is slightly different as I'm a director for Laika Animation, so I have to switch gears AND styles at the end of the day when I'm doing illustration work. It can get quite schizophrenic at times!

C: I've always wondered: as the designer, do you read the book before you do the cover design or are you given a brief run-down of the main points?

S: It depends on how much time I have. For SIDEKICKED, I read the synopsis and brief excerpts from the book and then got right into it.

C: The illustrated covers on middle grade books are absolutely charming. Why do you think they're not as popular on adult or teen novels?

S: I don't know. I think because the tone tends to be lighter in middle grade books, it allows for a bit more "charm" or whimsy.

C: Are you a superhero fan yourself? Have a preference between Marvel and DC? Favorite comic?

S: I've been a HUGE comic fan since I was three (yes, that young). The first comic I ever owned was an early Walt Simonson THOR, which made me, forever and always, a mighty Marvel fan! However, I also love manga and would have to say my favorite comic ever is Kazuo Koike and Goseki Kojima's masterpiece, LONE WOLF AND CUB.

C: Would you be a superhero, a sidekick or a villain? Any ideas what your name would be?

S: I'd definitely be a super hero. I might be called The Multi Tasker, because I'm always juggling so many things at once! lol

C: Would you mind sharing some of the other covers you've designed or other work you've done, so that we can admire it?

S: The other covers I'm working on are under wraps right now, but I'd be happy to share some of my work outside of publishing!

C: Thanks so much! They're gorgeous. Make sure you click on them to see the larger image. Totally worth it for the detail.

Shannon's Bio:
Emmy® award-winning artist and 4 time Annie Award nominee, Shannon Tindle, began working in the film industry in 2000. Since then he has established himself as a highly sought after designer, story artist and director for both television and feature films. Shannon has worked at Dreamworks, Disney, Cartoon Network, and Universal Studios collaborating on a wide range of projects including FOSTER'S HOME FOR IMAGINARY FRIENDS, THE CROODS and the upcoming TURBO.

After creating character designs for the Oscar nominated CORALINE, Shannon returns for his second tour of duty at Laika to direct an original film.

For US readers only (sorry!), the publisher is offering a giveaway of a signed hardcover of Sidekicked. Just fill out the Rafflecopter to enter, but, remember, you can check out the other stops on the tour for more chances to win! 
  a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Blogger Sam Marchello said...

This book sounds absolutely adorable. I love the range of influences as well. Definitely going to check this out! :)

July 13, 2013 at 8:43 AM  
Blogger traveler said...

I am captivated with this wonderful book. A villain would be Basil. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

July 13, 2013 at 10:23 AM  
Blogger Shelver506 said...

I have no idea what my superhero/villain name would be, but I LOVE all the illustrations!

July 13, 2013 at 12:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This sounds super cute, and the cover really is great. Love the glasses.

I have no idea what my superhero name would be, seeing as I have no idea what my powers would be. Maybe the power to remember totally useless factoids of Harry Potter trivia? SuperHPFactBoy. No, that's stupid.

July 13, 2013 at 12:24 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

My superhero name, or perhaps my villain name, would be ShatterStar. My power would be the ability to create and control very powerful sonic waves and blasts. Thanks!

July 13, 2013 at 12:43 PM  
Blogger Tammy said...

Seriously, Shannon is an awesome artist! I lack having an artist touch at all. My superpower name, Super Tamz :)

July 13, 2013 at 1:38 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

What a great post!! I love the interview and this book sounds so fun!! I love the illustrations. I am totally not artistic at all. I don't know what my superhero name would be, maybe ditz girl. My tagline could be kicking ass, by clumsiness!! Haha!!

July 13, 2013 at 1:51 PM  
Blogger Hell-Bent to Read said...

I love this cover so much. I especially love that it's just very simple. I have no idea what my superhero name would be...The Procrastinator? Hahaha.

July 13, 2013 at 4:47 PM  
Blogger Carl Scott said...

This looks great, thanks for the giveaway. As a superhero I'm Bookman. I overwhelm villains with my knowledge and render them speechless with my witty insults.

July 13, 2013 at 7:57 PM  
Blogger Experiment BL626 said...

Thanks for the giveaway. My supervillain's name would be Dusk. :p

July 13, 2013 at 10:25 PM  
Blogger Tandi Cortez-Rios said...

Great giveaway! I'm loving the illustrations. I'm not sure of a super villain name. I'll have to think about that, in case I'm ever asked that question again. lol ;)

July 14, 2013 at 5:25 AM  
Blogger fakesteph said...

I love this cover! And really enjoyed reading about the design process for it!

July 14, 2013 at 1:07 PM  
Blogger Dizneeee said...

I'm not sure what my superhero name would be. It'd probably be something like Anxiety Girl...or something like that. LOL!!!

July 14, 2013 at 6:34 PM  
Blogger Dana said...

My superhero name would be something lame probably. I'm just not creative. Interesting look at the cover art design. Loved this!

July 14, 2013 at 6:55 PM  
Blogger Steena said...

SO excited for this book! Superheroes are the best! I already am a superhero, you might know me as Cold As Ice Woman. My powers consist of sarcasm and condescension.

July 14, 2013 at 7:29 PM  
Blogger Danielle Schneider said...

Run Away Screaming Girl! I'd be a very effective superhero, right? :)

July 14, 2013 at 10:20 PM  
Blogger Dorky Girl said...

my name would be Death Sight

July 15, 2013 at 1:15 AM  
Blogger Batch of Books said...

My name would be The Sleeper.

July 16, 2013 at 4:52 PM  

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