As is usually the case when I get an assignment or have something I want to do just for the fun of it, I start doing thumbnails in a sketchbook. This is a necessary step that helps the artist figure out what can work and what will not. Also, it helps the intuition kick in and you can end up doing some really nice line work that captures the feeling or mood that you were going for. The trick will be to later recapture that when you start to build up that particular thumbnail into a bigger and more evolved layout. Very soon after I started doodling out ideas for the cover layout I started thinking it would be cool to do a wrap around cover. With this kind of layout I could showcase all the characters in the story and get a few more dinos in to boot. Also, if the interest was there after the book came out, it could also be a nice poster or print. I wanted a T-Rex to be the predominate figure on the front cover. He had to be in some sort of action pose that would hopefully get potential buyer's attention. He would be a real ramrod smashing through anything that would get in his way. His quarry would also have to be in some interesting pose to convey the urgency of his or her situation. On top of all that I would also have to come up with a way to show the rest of the cast in a way that would be visually clean and not hinder the viewer's eye in moving around the entire composition.
I went through about four pages in the sketchbook until I got something I thought I could work with and build up into something. The two images in the lower half are what I ended up with. At this time I thought I would have some extra bleed on the right that the viewer would never see in the printed cover form. Once it became a poster then that extra stuff would be seen. I had designed it to be in a widescreen format, which for whatever reason appeals to me. Jack (the lead character) and one of the ladies would be on the cover attempting to keep their cold blooded hunters at bay. What would be the back cover also shows the rest of the cast doing their best to keep alive as well. Well, this was a start anyway, so now it was time to move on to the next stage.
At this point I did an accurate layout of the cover's dimensions and made several copies of it. One of which I sketched out loose concept on based on the final sketchbook thumbnails I did. I sent it to Mark to give him an idea of what I was thinking of. Nothing in this was set in stone. There was much more work still needed in getting to a good, workable composition. After sending him the above sketch I began to work all that out.