The making of our Captain – TFTV 7 front cover story

One of the most important elements of any book is its cover. It tells so much about the title overall and needs to represent what’s inside and let potential readers know what to expect.

For Tales from the Vicarage volume 7 the task was a tough one – how to depict 11 tales covering many different eras at Watford Football Club on one front cover?

We drew on the expertise of the team at Stone Creative Design to come up with a solution. Taking an illustrative approach to proceedings, it was decided that the front cover would consist of a player, wearing a captain’s armband. As simple as that you may think, but the process involved quite some planning.

Firstly, a number of photos were taken of Stone Creative team member Rob Pape – an Arsenal fan who was only too happy to wear a Watford shirt for the occasion.


This helped decide the angle of the illustration; shooting the image from below, looking upwards gives the figure a sense of stature and importance, making him worthy of the captain’s armband. Things got technical at this point too, with the armband itself being a folded piece of paper, held in place with sticky tape.

With the correct image captured, the design team had the right depth and perspective to build the illustration, created by laying shapes on the photo to produce the different elements of the character. Clever stuff.


From there it was down to the finer details – adding the collar, badge, fingers and all-important armband. You’ll notice that our front cover captain wears a generic Watford shirt, rather than being tied into a particular era of the club’s history.


The same can be said of the head and the face, he doesn’t look like a particular player and the hairstyle is not too classic, yet not too modern.

With all the elements in place, shading was added to certain areas to help give subtle definition to the flat colour illustrative style.

All approved, the final illustration was then placed on the book cover artwork, together with the title, created in the style of a captain’s armband.


The final result is, we hope, one that will look striking on your bookshelf and be a quality addition to your Tales from the Vicarage collection – who said we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover?


You can pre-order Captains here.