Sep 17 2013 12:30pm

Cover reveal for Patricia Briggs’ Night Broken

Patricia Briggs’ Night Broken

We’re very excited to share this first look at the cover for Patricia Briggs’ latest Mercy Thomson novel, Night Broken! This the 8th volume in popular series from Ace books. Each of which has sported a stunning cover from signature artist Dan Dos Santos. Dan was  kind enough to share some preliminary sketches and his thought process. 

Patricia Briggs’ Night Broken sketch

Dan: “The Art Director and Editor felt the image looked too much like a classic ‘Fantasy’ novel.”

Patricia Briggs’ Night Broken sketch.

“The image was far too New Age,  and also posed the marketing problem of nudity.”

Patricia Briggs’ Night Broken sketch.

“I quickly worked up an alternate version of the first sketch, without the coat and a slightly different pose. This received approval, and so I went about booking my usual model.” [Interview with the real-life Mercy.]

“Despite it’s initial rejection, I still liked the trenchcoat, and was convinced I could portray it in a way that looked more Urban than Fantasy. So I decided to give it another try. After the photoshoot, I created a few additional comps for the ADs consideration. Ultimately, the coat was rejected again. Everyone felt that the look was too much of a departure from how we typically depict Mercy, and also covered so many of the tattoos that the covers have become known for.”

Night Broken sketch

“With the final comp completed and approved, I went about my usual process of painting the image.”

The original art is oils on board, 16x26 inches.

Chris Nelly
1. Aeryl
I love the artwork as always, but goodness people, can we get some consistency on the tattoos? The only one that's ever the same is the paw print on her stomach, but I guess since that's the ONLY one in canon, that's all that matters.

It just bugs that every cover features different tattoos. Especially since the first ones definitely had this Native American feel to the art, but now they're just getting girly.
Chris Nelly
2. Aeryl
And dammit I need to read Frost Burned, because now I need to know where she got the spear!
3. kfsooner
Thank you so much for sharing both the cover and the process from the artist!
4. Dale Dreessen
Went to a Book Signing with Patrica Briggs. There is a consistency to the tattoos. The tattoos will have imagry consitant to the contents of the story. I thought that was pretty cool, myself.
5. Sunidesus
Oohh! I like!

And that has to be the walking stick, which implies Coyote is involved in this one somehow (since he had it last). Can't wait to read it!
6. Mary Ann Creemer
I like the cover. The one with the coat just doesn't look like Mercy; too Harry Dresdenish. And Mercy is not an exhibitionist so I don't think she would approve of the bare-topped cover; it also is just not Mercy.

Now, I can't wait to read the story behind the backpack and the walking stick. And I know Mercy can hold her own with the first Mrs. Hauptman.
7. Tatiana2
I love Dan Dos Santo's work! And I always enjoy Patricia Brigg's stories about Mercy. Seeing the process and getting some insight into the inspiration behind the illustration is always of interest to me.

That being said, this is the first illustration of Mercy that I dislike -- because fake boobs. They look like they've been digitally enhanced with unnatural cleavage separation and pumped up like dirigibles a la Photoshop, since she's only wearing a tank top (even if it's spandex) and not a ren fair bustier or corset...cause you know they have a tumblr worth of examples: http://bustyrenladies.tumblr.com
I'm also reminded of when this "how to draw boobs naturally" got sent around, because so many don't:

Oh, well. It's most likely just the burnished dodge lighting and the low res jpg posted, right...not the model? Just like when Kiera Knightley was enhanced in the movie poster... :) In any case, I love the tattoos Dan designs and enjoy figuring out how they relate to the story.
8. Jodie B. Cooper
Love it!!

I agree with Sunidesus who said, "And that has to be the walking stick, which implies Coyote is involved in this one somehow (since he had it last). Can't wait to read it!"

I really enjoyed seeing the process. Thanks so much for sharing.
Chris Nelly
9. Aeryl
I don't think it looks anything like the walking stick, but YMMV.

And Mercy is not an exhibitionist so I don't think she would approve of the bare-topped cover; it also is just not Mercy.

She's not an exhibitionist, but at the same time, she's pretty comfortable with her body. Her shifting requires her to be nude, and it's something she has to do often. So what she's doing, is something I could see her doing. But it doesn't need to be the cover.

As far as tattoo art consistency goes, those tattoos look nothing like the tattoos she has on earlier covers. If they are establishing that NOW the covers will represent the rest of her tattoos, great, but my complaint is about how the tattoos have always varied a bit from cover to cover.
10. Dionus Jones
Stunning work, Mr. Dos Santos! I love ALL of your drawings/paintings. Very impressive work & imagination!
11. Lea Schepis
LOVE the cover art! I've been so excited waiting for this update! It looks fabulous each and every time!
I really enjoyed the trench coat idea, although I agree taking away from the tattoos on her arms would kinda take away a tradition that has sorta wormed its way into each cover if that makes any sense. Maybe he could have a trench coat with ripped sleeves or something next time :)
And the cover that was rejected for very obvious reasons where I agree I really wouldn't like that to have been the chosen art it does suit Mercy's character.
12. Dan DS
Re: The tattoos:

They ALWAYS change. They're SUPPOSED to change. It's part of the motiff. The tattoos are always indicative of that particular story, and since Mercy is a shape shifter, we feel it excuses their changing.
13. Melisaa
Amazing artwork! I love this new cover. I rather like the trenchcoat myself. Even though it covers so many of her tatoo's, you can still see a fair number of them.
Not a huge fan of the water one, but only because it feels too much like true fantasy rather than urban. I'm with the other poster who says even though Mercy isn't an exhibitionist, she is very comfortable in her skin, and if she found herself in the situation of being naked in the water, she'd be fine. Still, all VERY well done. Love the artwork.
14. puck
Too bad about the editorial decision as I definitely like the first image with the coat the best, and then the coat versions in the changed pose cover. I agree with Tatiana about her boobs looking fake and bouyant. Besides the shape, the highlight and the line of the moon brings a lot of attention to them. I guess I'm not the audience the cover is directed at?
15. Me4567
Fake huge boobs. Face not Native enough, and different from other covers. Pose good, but details not.
16. Cross777
"The tattoos will have imagry consitant to the contents of the story. I thought that was pretty cool, myself." - If that were true WHY are there differnt versions in the different cover submissions?

Since she only has the one tattoo, the covers, no matter how good they are (and I like them), they don't really represent the character.
17. Xlade
Whooo! Can't wait! I haven't looked around, but is there a way to get prints of the covers? I read on my Kindle and don't get to stare at the awesomeness of the cover art! So glad this series isn't using photomanip covers. Keeps them fresh and NOT looking like every other fantasy/scifi/urban fantasy book cover out there. Yay!
18. Betty Andersen
Love the art. I really do love the Mercy Thompson series & Alpha & Omega. I don't want either to end. When is Mercy going to have a cub or 2. That would be the top. Just imaginingwhat Adam would do.
19. Char
Mercy's ears look a little pointy here. Almost elfin. The walking stick? I think so. The tattoos are mostly roses. Hmm. What might we predict from that about the plot? Adam gives her roses and the ex-wife gets the thorns?

Is that a wolf in her cleavage? How risqué. She needs her lamb necklace.

Beautiful illustrations — all of them. Thanks for sharing!
20. Fan of Mercy
Far too Anglo featured and those boobs are ridiculous. The nude set was perfect.
Allana Schneidmuller
21. blutnocheinmal
I know they wouldn't be able to get away with the mostly-naked one, but I love that design. I like them all. Dos Santos does some great work.
Alan Brown
22. AlanBrown
I love these insights into how cover artists work, and while I understand the art direction that was given, I did very much like that first color sketch. Good stuff!
23. AmandaM
Oh man, this is an awesome article. I actually really love the trench, I get a little annoyed with all the skin on a lot of the UF covers. Especially for Mercy bc her whole MO is that she's a badass first and sexy second, at least to me. Also I don't always think that exposing more skin always means more alluring. Wish there was a special release with the middle trench art, I would totally buy that one.
24. Ell
Otherwise lovely, but those boobs are waaaaaaay too huge. Is it too late to bring them back to scale?
26. Bolverk
I have to say that this is the first Mercy book cover that I have disliked. For me it's her face. There's a hardness to this face that to me says she gets angry a lot, which doesn't suit Mercy or the way the previous covers have been done. Her eyeline is also unclear: is she glaring at the viewer, or at something just above the viewer? If I was browsing a bookshelf, I would go right past this, unless I caught the author's name.

As for that naked cover, frankly that looks like a porn spoof of Mercy. Sorry, but it's so ridiculous for this series that I crack up laughing whenever I look at it.

As for the ever-changing tattooes, I've quite enjoyed trying to guess what the tattooes say about the story whenever a new book comes out.
27. B Isis
This cover is fabulous artwork except for the huge boobs which look like implants, though I'm sure Mercy Thompson would never undergo plastic surgery. LOL
Chris Nelly
28. Aeryl
Plus, I don't think her coyote form would allow it. I mean the series is fairly straightforward that it's all magic, and that she has another 100+ pounds that magically disappears when she shifts. But I don't see silicone making that transition.
29. Sandra Campbell
Thanks for the insight into the art work. I've yet to read any of this noveleist's work; but this intrigues me.
30. Jan Jackson
Wow, beautiful artwork and I can't wait to read the book!
31. Patricia McGill
I love all the art that is on the books, it is always unique to the story. I can't wait for the book to come out. I have all books by Patricia Briggs.
32. Nicole S.
I do love the hooded one tho!
33. Shalon James
I NEED THIS BOOK!!! I have them all and I love them, so much. My copy of Rivermarked is even signed by Patty!
34. Rita Wnek
Absolutely stunning!
35. JustCookin
The artwork is AMAZING!! I have been a fan of Patty's for many many years and have all of her work. Have a lovely day!!
36. joenavy247
I feel that the first couple of originals werent really classic mercy thompson. Especially the one where she is stark naked in a pool of water yeah she doesnt mind being naked i just dont see her emphasizing it like the art did.

As far as the tattoos go, each tattoo is kind of a representation of whats going on in the book. (if somebody has made this point already sorry if you had to re-read it)
37. Helen VanZee
I love the cover art, and I can't wait to read Night Broken!
38. AmandaP
I love it!! Thank you for sharing your process! I have always been excited to see the new covers.
39. Wendy Beck
Love this! Dos Santos and Gene Mollica are my favorite cover artists. Thanks for including the interview with the model. (and for giving away since books!)
40. steph_patt
Wow, this is some beautiful artwork for Mercy's book. I think the one that was chosen is perfect!
41. Hannah Peterson
Love the artwork!
42. CJ B
great art work!! can't wait for the book that it belongs to comes out.
43. HeatherH
I like that she's standing like a normal person instead of the outthrust boob/butt thing that happens a lot with Urban Fantasy covers! Jim Hines would look a little weird in the tank top, he wouldn't hurt himself trying to spoof it.
44. Jessica McCormick
I love the artwork...it depicts Mercy very well. Looking at the pictures it is actually how I see her.
45. John WS Marvin
I love the coat, but oh well. Came out great as always.
46. Faythe Valentine
Beautiful artwork, though I do like the trench coat. I have to agree it's better without and suits more to Mercy's typical tattoo placements.
47. monique Yuzwak
Amazing cover design as always. Dan Dos Santos is trully an amazing artist.
48. Barbara W Campbell
I love the books, the artwork, everything but I have to agree, I wish the tattoos were more consistaint. The model used for Mercy is spot on perfect.
49. EmmyJ
I always enjoy the cover art, regardless if I agree with the details or not. I love the staff. This is wonderful. =) I also appreciate the sketches!
50. Marian Floyd
Love all of the Mercy covers. She always comes across as sexy in a confident and in charge sort of way. Mercy Rocks!
51. Kim H
The cover art never ceases to amaze me. The way that the ideas develop is an interesting process I appreciate being let into.

And I appreciate the ability to see all the tattoo work on her arms. Early books I used to try to guess something about the book because there was always something a little different in the tattoos - now I just want to read and look at them later.

But amazing work.
52. Kat Bailey
Dan is up there with my favorite cover artisit. His work is so rich and every cover is so unique yet coheasive with its counterparts, and shows the journey Mercy goes through.
53. tealtaylor
Wow, your sketches are amazing. Thanks for making the cover of the Mercy books as great as the content!
54. mariamichelle
Love the art work. Love the series. Talented artists all around. Looking forward to reading more about Mercy and Adam. Love your work.
55. Janine Pezzino
Sorry Dan, I agree with the powers that be, I like the final version the best. But the art is wonderful and something to look forward to.
56. Fae
Loved reading a bit about Dan's process. I still like the "far too new age" version but wonder where the weaponry would go? That would have it be added in :)
57. Beki
I never care for how the tattoos come out. Like on this one, somehow, 'going to church weekly Mercy' doesn't strike me as the type to have a demonic possibly wolf head right between her breasts. Could just be me.
That aside, I do like this cover.
58. Magen Hill
I love the cover, but I really love the two with Mercy wearing a jacket with her hood up. From the exerpt, I feel like Mercy is going to have to be extra sneaky in this one because so much is on the line with the Walking Stick and Adam's ex-wife Christy and the pack. She's going to have to be more subtle in this book, I think, and those particular covers would have really shown that.

That being said, I love the final cover too. The colors and the way Mercy looks and her tattoos look so detailed and real to me! I'm just so excited.
59. Marie H
The art is awesome as always! Can't wait til the whole book is released!!
60. VeryZealousReader
I love these books and I love the artwork. I enjoyed reading about the process and the editing involved with the artwork. I love this cover - Mercy is beautiful and determined looking.

I'm SO looking forward to getting my hands on this book!
61. Renee Taylor-Himelick
You always manage to make Mercy look bad ass . You can just look at her and know that if you mess with her or anyone she cares for that you had better be ready for some pain!
62. teri c
Great reads, the covers are good I am soo exited to see what happens to all the charactes in this upcoming release!
63. Lykaios
Love it! I cannot wait to read it! Patricia Briggs, I thank you from the bottom of my heart and more, for your masterpieces were what got me to read once again after so many years.
64. Noni Cole-Schaumburg
I could happily hang any one of your ideas on my wall. Images that bring Mercy to life are nearly as looked forward to as the story itself.

65. Liz Mc
Love it! Thanks for sharing your process. I am so looking forward to more Mercy!!
66. Helen Chan
I like the look of this cover.
67. Pam Armstrong
Awesome!!! I love the art and the books are one of my all time favorites.
68. Holly Westendorf
I can't wait to read the rest!!!
69. MaggieWoods
I absolutely love the artwork. the colors all blend togeather and... it's just amazing, and I absolutely can't wait to read the book when it comes out. I'm so excited
70. Jennifer Johnston
The artwork is always so amazing! Strong and powerful; exactly what Mercy portrays.
71. Hanna Elledge
One day, I will own a print of all the covers. Just adore them all.
72. Jeri
This cover has a more Native American feel to it than the others to my mind. I like it.
74. Ruth DJ
Fabulous art. A hair too much highlight on the top of her breasts, but still lovely and it definitely brings out Mercy's Native American half.
75. Laurie Slocum
I love the cover, but I don't need the pictures to see the characters, the description that Patricia gives me while I am introduced to each new person in the series is so detailed that once I know them all it is like Im watching a movie while I read it, I laugh, cry, feel relieved and get angry. I have a difficult time putting the books down but I have to sleep sometime. lol My anticipation for the March 11th release is beyond words. Thank you for the excerpt :-)
77. Debbie Knapp
Love the cover art! I feel that Mercy striding along with the walking stick is very "kickass!". I do think Mercy's breasts are a bit much but I understand it's marketing. I'm very excited as I will be able to attend the book signing in Richland,WA in March when the book is released. :-)
78. Leann Wilson
More often than not, cover art leaves me feeling torn between what I see as I read the character descriptions and what I see on the cover. In the case of each and every cover from Patty's books? Perfect is not a word that has enough absoluteness to it!
79. taina pfenninger
LOVE LOVE LOVE your cover art!!!
80. Ellexus
I really love all of the cover arts.
I think the official art and the one that is considered to be far too new age. I think those two would have to be my favorites!
81. Hanna P
Yet another awesome cover although it would be amazing if we could buy prints of all the covers. Can not wait for the book!

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