The primary guide for the winning cover is the attached mock-up called "DFS - Cover mock-up". However, we're not looking for an exact replica. What follows is a list of elements that should be similar to, and different from, the mock up.
ELEMENTS WE WANT TO MATCH FROM THE MOCK-UP:
-We want to match the general concept of a colorful animated cover with a happy, bright-looking boy, placed foreground, somewhat above a medium-sized city shopping district. The boy should be in front of, and above, an empty city lot. Almost like a medium shot of the boy superimposed over a "crane shot" of a medium-sized city.
-We like the simple animation style of the boy.
-We'd like to keep the title "Daniel's First Stand" in the upper-third, over a sky with a sun breaking through scattered clouds.
-In the distance, we'd like to keep skyscrapers (a distant big city) on the left, and a park and church on the right.
-Overall, we'd also like to keep the mock-up's general feel of optimism, spring brightness, and youthful innocence.
CHANGES FROM MOCK-UP:
-Most importantly, we need to increase the level of detail in the environment behind Daniel, especially the buildings and shopping district immediately behind him. For example, those buildings could use detail like: windows, bricks, roof vents, fire escapes, or other touches you can come up with. The general environment could touches, like: perhaps a sidewalk next to the road, a public bench or two, fire hydrant, perhaps a few trees. Perhaps a couple cars and/or pedestrians as space allows. Or additional touches that you may be able to think of.
-The brown object in the lot behind Daniel needs to look more like a lemonade stand and less like a credenza.
-We'd like the Book Title and Fonts to look more fun and dynamic (as long as it is appropriate for readers aged 9-12, and not for 1st-time readers). For example, the words of the title could be arched somewhat (almost like a rainbow). Or perhaps the letters could be shaped like they are inflated. Anything to make them less rigid and straight.
-We'd like to add the author's name to the bottom right corner -- Written By Bob Allard -- in a font style that should match the new title font, but a much smaller font size.
-The sun can be a little bigger and its rays can stretch farther.
-The colors in the mock-up are generally acceptable, but we are open to changes.
Finally, we are open to any and all questions that you may have to help you understand what we're looking for.