Posted: November 11, 2009
Ever heard of Platinum? Neither had I before I started to look into who was behind the cover for King’s new book Under the Dome. Platinum is an Image Concept Studio which uses all available artistic means in order to find the best solution to construct images. And that is exactly what they have done with King’s latest cover. I got to talk to the people involved in the cover and they also showed me some images that illustrate how the cover evolved from King’s first sketch to the finished cover.

Lilja: How did Platinum get involved with the cover for Under the Dome?

Platinum team: We received an email from our agent in NY saying that Mr. King himself wanted us to create the cover for Under the Dome. As it turns out he is a fan of Platinum. We could hardly believe it, especially because some of us are huge fans of him.

Lilja: Judging from King’s sketch the basic idea for the cover came directly from him?

Platinum team: Yes, he drew a rough sketch of what was on his mind. It’s never an easy job to interpret someone else’s drawings but Mr. King’s was a bit more challenging. When we first got the image we all thought there was a man in front of the dome, later we found out it was a dog. It was funny but I think that in the end we got the idea.

Lilja: Did you get to read the book before designing the cover or did you just know the basics of what should be included on the cover itself?

Platinum team: We got his manuscripts without the ending. We read it and discussed how to enrich the basic idea. Platinum images are always filled with details. It’s kind of our trademark. And because it was Mr. King’s book, we tried to use key elements about the story without revealing it, to keep the mystery and entice the readers.

Lilja: Can you take me through the process that followed on King’s first sketch and eventually to the finished cover?

Platinum team: We received the first sketch and sat down with our illustrator to come up with a few drawings as options. We sent them back and they chose one. Then we started working on the concept itself, which is not the cover yet, it’s just a drawing with all the elements. Then it went back to the client and once it was approved we started working on the final cover. It changed a lot in this process. At first the dome would fit just in the front cover but our illustrator had the idea to use only half of the dome, they loved it so much that they decided to do the dome from flap to flap.

Lilja: Where King involved all throughout the process or did you just show him the final art for approval?

Platinum team: He was very involved. He asked for a few changes and was opened to our suggestions. It was easy working with him. He knew what he wanted and I think there was chemistry through out this process. We captured his vision but as our agent likes to say, we “platinumized it”.

Lilja: The different stages of the cover look quite different even though the basic idea is there in all of them. How did the discussions go that made you make the changes that lead up to the finished version?

Platinum team: We have ideas all the time, even after we have a final concept, and we are always trying to improve what we have. Why not?

Lilja: Especially image five and six are very much alike but at the same time not. What convinced you those changes where the right once?

Platinum team: The difference in these two happened when one of us say that the front cover could look like an ordinary day but when you turn to the back cover you would see a lot going on. It was just an idea but we decided to go for it and see how it would work. We liked it so we suggested it to the client. They liked it as well. This is how the process goes. We have ideas and we try them, some work, others don’t. It’s always a work in progress until the end.

Lilja: There was a lot of secrecy surrounding the revealing of the cover. Did you feel anything of that? Did people try to get you to reveal it ahead of time?

Platinum team: The publisher was careful enough not to reveal our name before the final revealing. We know that the art director received emails from fans on his personal account but not us.

Lilja: Was working on a Stephen King (who is a big selling author) cover different from you other work?

Platinum team: Yes. We usually work with advertisement. We are used to working with big clients and big accounts all over the world but Stephen King was different because he is an icon. It was a mix of anxiety and excitement.

Lilja: What kind of response have you gotten from people about the cover?

Platinum team: Everyone loved it and the thing about this project is that it’s not an ad in a magazine or another outdoor. It’s Stephen King and he has a lot of diehard fans who will analyze and scrutinize this image. I read one of his fans commenting on his website something about the position of the stars. He had a very interesting theory about them. Unfortunately, the position was completely random. But this is just an idea of how much responsibility it is. And we are very proud of it.

Lilja: Is there anything about working on the cover or the cover itself that you would like to mention to all the King fans out there reading this? Will you read the book if you haven’t?

Platinum team: We still don’t know the end! Can you believe it? We are anxiously waiting for our copies. They are on their way here to Brazil. To the fans we would like to say that we were very honored to work with Mr. King. This was definitely not an ordinary project but we had good times doing it. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

Lilja: OK, thank you all for taking the time to answer my questions. It was a lot of fun! Here is a list of the whole team:

Leonardo Vilela: photograph supervision
Flavio Albino: Artistic and post production supervision and image research
Beto Campos: Image conception, post production and image research
Flavio Teixeira: post production
Milton Menezes: post production
Luciano Honorato: CGI supervision
Fabio Bispo: CGI Artist
Rafael Vallaperde: CGI Artist
Dempsey Gaspar: Project Coordinator

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