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A Picture Out of This World


As The Illuminated Forest begins to find its place out in the world, we here at Exit Studio are starting to reveal some behind-the-scenes aspects of the artistic process.

After the long and arduous process of writing and illustrating, one of the final steps to completing the book is to choose the cover art. Although this seems like it would be a natural part of the creative flow, it can be a tricky decision. For those who say “don’t judge a book by its cover,” I say get with it! People DO judge a book by their first impression of the cover art. It can be the difference between sparking curiosity (and an ensuing sale) or the gentle return of the book to its resting place on the shelf.

Such was the crucial decision I faced as I sketched out my ideas and concepts. But I still could still not find that Aha! moment. I decided to go outside my realm of familiarity, so I began to scan the internet for some inspiration and guidance. My Aha came when I followed the link of a stunning photo to a magical place called TWAN (The World At Night).

The magical image that made me stop in my tracks was titled “Starry Night in Brazil” by Babak A. Tafreshi. Its serene beauty perfectly captured the magic and mystery I tried to put in my book’s prose and feeling. My search was over!

Mr. Tafreshi is not only the founder of TWAN and an award-winning photographer who works with National Geographic, among other organizations, but he’s also a freelance science journalist, an astronomy communicator, and a seasoned world traveler. In 2009, he received the Lennart Nilsson Award, the world’s most recognized award for scientific photography. The incredible achievements of this young photographer are way too numerous to mention here but you’ll be awed by his work if you visit his site. You can find “Starry Night in Brazil” and other beauties at twanight.org/Tafreshi. Only one term can describe them: mind-blowing!

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