Creating the Once We Were Witches cover with Fabi Santiago

This week we revealed the magical cover for Once We Were Witches – the brand new fantasy series from author of The Huntress trilogy, Sarah Driver.

Once We Were Witches hits bookshelves on 02 April 2020, and is available to pre-order now.

The stunning cover is illustrated by Fabianna Santiago, who also provides the incredible inside illustrations for this spellbinding new book, truly bringing the story to life. To celebrate her cover, she has given us an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the creation of the screen printed Once We Were Witches cover in a very special Egmont feature.

Screen printing process step 1 and 2

After I inked, scanned and printed all the separate layers for the cover illustration, I exposed them onto the screen.

The green-teal blend was the first layer I printed and it was also one of the trickiest. The split fountain effect was hard to achieve. This was my second attempt after re-exposing that design.

I used my first batch of mistakes for colour tests. There were 12 layers altogether and some of them overlay other layers, creating new colours.

Screen printing process step 3

Next I screen printed the shading layer. If I use colours that have white in them, such as the light grey in the picture, I them first, so it adds depth when I print the other colours on top.

I build the illustration by printing each colour at a time. The girls have light brown skin and one of them has dark brown hair. Those are different hues and tones, so I printed them separately.

Screen printing process step 4 to 6

Yellow was one of the last layers, as it’s a very transparent ink, it was nice to add on top to get that glow effect when it overlays the teal background.

Nearly done here!

Screen printing process step 7

Screen printing process step 8

The more layers I work with, the easier it is to make mistakes. I always print a few illustrations to make sure I’ll have at least one very good one.

Here they are on the drying rack.

Screen printing process step 9

The black outline and extra shade was the last one down. I didn’t want pure black, it looked too heavy. I mixed two different blacks and did a print test first, before committing to printing the real thing on top of those finished pieces.

On the left is an ultramarine shade black, on the right is a green shade black. Can you tell the difference?


Head over to our cover reveal feature to see Fabi’s beautiful work come to life in our exclusive grand reveal!

Once We Were Witches

To discover more of Fabi’s work, visit her website or follow her on Instagram and Tumblr.

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