Even before a children's book is placed into the hands of a designer, there are many working pieces that have to be juggled by several different people. It can take several months to years for a writer/illustrator to develop a story for children. Often times, the writer and illustrator are separate people; paired together only after the manuscript is completed and taken on by a publisher. The writing alone, can take many passes by a variety of editors (developmental, copyeditors and proofreaders) to have it developed into a workable story.
THE DESIGN PROCESS
Below is list of several of the steps I went through to create the cover design of MotoMice, by Paul Owen Lewis. This book is being published by Beyond Words. Customarily, the author/illustrator doesn't have much say in the final design, but in this case I had to bend some of my conceptual input to his original vision. Also note that this whole process was done with several rounds of comps revised with copy and design edits from the author/illustrator and managing editor.
Step 1: I took professionally photographed artwork into Photoshop and removed the paper background, cleaned up any scruffy edges and deleted areas of the bikes that you would be able to see through. There's an art to this because at times you have to interpret the intention of the artist when erasing visual content.
Step 2: Colors of the cover artwork were adjusted in Photoshop to match the illustrations used in the interior, which were slightly more saturated. This artwork was then exported from Photoshop and used in Illustrator.