Teaming Up with Family

Sometimes teaming up with a family member to do something can be a really fun thing to do. My mother Karen is exceptionally proud of her grandchildren and one day she spoke so highly of my niece and her writing which I thought was just so great.

During lockdown, my thirteen year old niece Sophie Cote busied herself finishing a book. Through connections, this time it was going to be sent to a publisher. Louise Sproule, the publisher who guided Sophie throughout the project was so very helpful. Her parents, my brother Phill and sister-in-law Irene, were also very proud and encouraging with Sophie’s ideas.

It was a no-brainer that when my niece asked me to do the cover that I would do it! I made a number of quick sketches in coloured pencil and tried creating an image with gouache. Normally this works for me when I make paintings but I wasn’t satisfied with the overall appearance. It was back to the drawing board keeping in mind some of the great suggestions my niece had in mind. It occured to me that I did have Corel Painter on my touch screen laptop and luckily a scanner. I scanned one of my images and decided to block in the colours in solid forms. It was time consuming because at this point I didn’t have one of those Stylus “thingies”. I laugh because I am not at all inclined with technology prefering learning through trial and error. I decided it was time to look at a few book covers I liked to draw inspiration from and to finally purchase a stylus. Simplifiying the image and using colour suiting the narrative of the teen novel was the way to go. Now I was getting somewhere! I even decided to try my hand at a cartoon Sophie portrait. Unsure about how smooth the pixels had to be, I was quite hesitant to reach out to Louise. However, once she reached out to me, I knew it was time to let go and send it to her. Luckily, they had photoshop and as long as the title that I drew would not be cut off they could play around with the lay out. When I saw the finished jacket I was just so excited for her!

Today is the day that I received my first few copies in the mail. Here they are:

If you wish to get a copy of this teen fiction (ages 12-14) here is her website for Ottawa area people

The book can also be purchased through