I’ve just finished a (perhaps still slightly rough) copy of the cover for The House of Snow and Apples. This will now be Book Two of The Winter King. Book Three will be Fair Upon the Tor (incomplete). Book Four will be A Charm for the Nameless Child (complete, 100,000 words).
I didn’t really do a lot to the tree that forms the core of the picture. After photographing and importing into Photoshop, I erased all the white background, but found I was left with a reasonably nice looking pencil grey sketchy tree. I opened this in Corel Paint and added some touches of grey, streaking in some black and greenish colours, mostly using gouache brushes at about 50% transparency on the layer. Because apple tree bark is more grey than brown, I didn’t want to add too much brown. This might be confusing, maybe, for readers later on as a grey tree on a white background appears as a heraldic symbol in A Charm for the Nameless Child. Maybe I can come up with some in-universe excuse. Maybe the family who inhabit the House of Snow and Apples are a long sundered and lost minor scion of the Grey Tree? It would sort of make some sense, so, yes, perhaps I’ll go with that (if anyone should ask).