These illustrations are painted by Richard Eijkenbroek. Richard lives in Delft in The Netherlands. The Case of the Screaming Beauty was our first collaboration. I wanted to include the bed and breakfast featured in the story and, of course, highlight our protagonist's love of tea. If you click once on the illustrations, you can zoom in to see larger versions.
The Case of the Hidden Flame marks the arrival of Inspector Graham on Jersey. For this cover I wanted to mark that fact. I asked Richard to illustrate the view over a clifftop as though taking tea from the lawns of the White House Inn.
Click on the illustration twice to zoom in to see the details.
The Case of the Fallen Hero is set at the castle so that provides the backdrop to the tea tableau along with details that relate to the story. I typically send Richard photographs of the various elements that I am looking for. He incorporates them all into to one illustration.
Each illustration gets better and better and Richard surpassed himself with this one. I think it is a masterpiece. So many small details are present. The Case of the Broken Doll is set in November. Like all the covers, the colors are chosen to reflect the season. The details in the backdrop, sky and harbor are stunning. It tells its own story.
For The Case of the Missing Letter, I wanted to have an indoor scene for the first time. Getting the desk right took time and many revisions. As usual, we added details that related to story and Richard added a little whimsy. Can you spot it?
For The Case of the Pretty Lady, I wanted to have an stormy, brooding look. Richard suggested a beach which gave him a fantastic opportunity to produce one of his lovely skies. We added details pertinent to the book and as usual Richard went off-brief with his addition of the seagulls.
The setting for The Case of the Forsaken Child is a police conference that is taking place in Gorey. The cover, therefore, reflects that. I have swapped tea for water, but otherwise the cover follows the same format as others in the series – chairs, table, elements of the story.
We went back to a beach theme for the latest book with the looming cliff providing the backdrop to The Case of Sampson's Leap. Richard once more outdid himself with his illustration and especially the sky. In the foreground we have details relevant to the story along with the little bird that features in many of Richard's art. Perhaps you can see them in earlier illustrations?
“I feel like I have come to know the characters you have created as if they are personal friends, and I look forward to each new adventure.”
Richard Eijkenbroek is from Delft, near Rotterdam, in the Netherlands. By day, he works as a team manager for the biggest flower auction in the world. Richard says, “I, and my team, are responsible for making sure every customer gets their flowers on time following the auction. We start at 5AM so I have a lot of free time in the afternoon and evening. Almost three years ago, I started picking up my digital pencil to give my creativity some expression.
First, I started working just for myself, making portraits of famous actors. One thing that interested me was speed painting. It's a good way to practice painting realistic scenes in a short amount of time. I learned a lot doing that and had a lot of fun. I started taking client commissions. I never thought it would pick up so well and now I’m creating so many lovely things for people all over the world.
I think what inspires me most is to make worlds come alive from the ideas and words of another. If Alison describes one of the scenes from her book, I vision it, and it inspires me to make it come alive.
I use a few tools for my illustrations, mostly Adobe Photoshop, but also Artrage. It is a great program that simulates authentic materials like oils very realistically. For cartoon illustrations, I like to use Mischief. I use a Wacom Cintiq 24HD as my digital canvas. Creating art clears my head after a busy day.
I like to take someone's idea and make something tangible from it. Creating the illustrations for Alison’s book covers, for example, give me so much pleasure. I love to think about the scenes, where to place things, and how to create the right ‘mood'.
In the end, the book cover should attract the reader’s attention, but it should also be fun to look at once you have bought the book. I think it should help the reader get into the atmosphere of the book and help envision the scene(s) he or she comes across.