THE YEAR OF SHADOWS Cover Reveal Week – Day 1– Exclusive Early Sketches and the Illustrator Reveal

Today, I have a special treat for you—Day 1 of Claire Legrand’s The Year of Shadows cover reveal! Be sure to check out The Book Smugglers tomorrow for Day 2—interviews with the illustrator and Simon & Schuster art director, as well as a peek at the interior illustrations—and Mundie Moms/Mundie Kids on Day 3, Thursday, to see the final cover and the first page of the book!

Here at IceyBooks, I’m thrilled to reveal the illustrator for The Year of Shadows and share his initial sketch of the main character, Olivia!

And the illustrator is . . .

Karl Kwasny!

For those unfamiliar with the wildly talented Mr. Kwasny, be sure to check out his Tumblr, where he regularly posts sketches, finished pieces, and stunning original lettering. You can also visit him on Twitter and at his official website.

Check out a few of Claire’s favorite Karl Kwasny pieces:

And here’s a note from Claire:

Hi, y’all! I am THRILLED to reveal Karl as the illustrator for The Year of Shadows. As you can see, he is one crazy talented artist, with an impeccable eye for whimsy, beauty, and darkness. I knew right away when I first saw his work that he would be the perfect illustrator for Olivia’s story, and when I started seeing his initial cover and character sketches, I was completely blown away.

For example, take a look at his initial sketch of Olivia, the main character of The Year of Shadows:

Isn’t she WONDERFUL? Karl perfectly captured so much of Olivia here—her look, her attitude, even her vulnerability. Don’t you just want to hug her and say, “It’ll be all right, sweetie. Don’t frown so much. Also, can I have your jacket?”

Thank you so much for celebrating cover reveal week with me—and thank you, Hafsah, for hosting!

Be sure to fill out the Rafflecopter form below for a chance to win one of SEVEN prizes Claire’s giving away to celebrate the cover reveal, including

Seven prizes, seven winners . . . and one winner gets an ARC!

You can comment on each day’s post—today, tomorrow, and Thursday—for a chance to win, but each entrant is only eligible to win one prize each. This contest is U.S./Canada only, begins TODAY, and ends next Thursday, February 7th. Winners will be announced later that day (and winners of the film scores will get to choose which score they want from a list!).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

For more on Claire and The Year of Shadows:


Hafsah Faizal is a YA author, designer, and blogger. Her designs have graced the sites of New York Times bestselling authors, bloggers, and more. She resides in Texas, with her family.



  1. Reply


    January 29, 2013

    I play the violin and the piano!

    I love everything I've heard about the Year of Shadows so far.

  2. Reply


    January 29, 2013

    She looks awesome! I love the illustration on this, fantastic job. Kudos to you and Karl :-)

  3. Reply

    Mrs. Silverstein

    January 29, 2013

    Oh man…awesome, awesome artwork, and I can totally see how the Kwasny and Legrand aesthetics seem to be made for each other. Love it!

    I play(ed) the clarinet…I got pretty ok at it pretty fast, but I only played for three or four years so I never got great at it. I wish I hadn't had to choose between band, singing in the school madrigal group (nerdalert) and acting classes (but what a wonderful problem to have, especially at a poor urban HS.) But my real wish is that I could play the piano or guitar–something a little more social, something that people could sing along to.

  4. Reply


    January 29, 2013

    Amazing giveaway!

  5. Reply


    January 29, 2013

    I don't play an instrument any more. But I used to play the piano!!

  6. Reply


    January 29, 2013

    I play the piano!

    That artwork is gorgeous. Thanks for the great giveaway! :)

  7. Reply


    January 29, 2013

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. Reply

    Marie-Claire Chelini

    January 29, 2013

    I played the violin!

    Kwasny is the perfect illustrator for Claire's books, his artwork is amazing! Congratulations to all!

  9. Reply

    Lauren Garafalo

    January 29, 2013

    Olivia is so adorable!! I really like Kwasny's work. I think it's great that your cover reveal actually features the illustrator instead of just the cover <3 I taught myself to play piano..not very well, mind you, but I loved it!

  10. Reply

    Gabrielle Carolina

    January 29, 2013

    I'm an opera singer, so I work with my voice box… does that count?

    I'm also desperate for The Year of Shadows, and LOVE the Olivia print. You know, Claire, that's EXACTLY what I wanted to say to her. Took the words right out of my mouth.

  11. Reply


    January 29, 2013

    I play a little bit of everything. This book will look amazing; I just know it.

  12. Reply

    Jessica Piazza

    January 29, 2013

    I don't play an instrument, but if I did, it would be guitar! Or maybe the fiddle, since I love country music!

  13. Reply


    January 29, 2013

    I've played a few instruments–I was really good at flute, for awhile, and picked up the melaphone (the marching band version of the french horn) for marching band in high school. The only one I've kept up with though, is viola. I love chamber string music!

  14. Reply

    Alison Cherry

    January 29, 2013

    I used to play the piano, once upon a time… and I wish I played the ukulele. :)

    Olivia is PERFECT. Can't wait to see more, Claire!

  15. Reply


    January 29, 2013

    I've always wanted to learn to play an instrument but never did. I'd love to play piano (it's so versatile!) but I'd really, really love to be able to play the cello. It's my fave.

  16. Reply


    January 29, 2013

    ove to play some exotic instrument that would ate my breath away.

  17. Reply


    January 29, 2013

    A story about ghosts in an old theater? I am all about it. I can't wait to read it!

  18. Reply


    January 29, 2013

    I play the recorder…does that count? Or at least I used to in fifth grade…

  19. Reply


    January 29, 2013

    I don't play an musical instrument, but if i could ( which means if i had the patience) then i would play the violin or the piano :D
    And i cannot wait to read this book!!

  20. Reply


    January 29, 2013

    I played the flute. Sometimes I want to give it a go again.

    Oh, good. Olivia looks amazing.

  21. Reply

    Ashley C,

    January 29, 2013

    Oh man, the illustration with the lil lady feeding the birds… may have something in my eye, this silly dusty office!

    Olivia looks amazing. I love her knees (weird, i know) and wary facial expression!

    So excited to read it!

  22. Reply


    January 29, 2013

    Wow, he did awesome! I love Olivia! There are just some artists who really get a character!

  23. Reply


    January 29, 2013

    Um, I would love to play ALL THE INSTRUMENTS!! Unfortunately, I am pretty sure I am tone deaf and do not have a musical bone in my body. Luckily, I can live vicariously through books! Love the illustrations for THE YEAR OF THE SHADOWS. You're right, Claire, I do want her jacket.

  24. Reply


    January 29, 2013


    Also, I used to play the clarinet/bass clarinet. And I can pretend my way through some songs on the guitar.

  25. Reply


    January 29, 2013

    I love the illustrations! This makes me so excited to see the cover! As for musical instruments, I play the flute and the Chinese zither. Unfortunately, I don't play either of them particularly well. Haha.

  26. Reply


    January 29, 2013

    I wish I played the piano.

  27. Reply

    Claire M. Caterer

    January 29, 2013

    I took piano lessons for 8 years and still love to play, though I'm not terribly good! Also, I'm super excited that Karl Kwasny is the illustrator for THE YEAR OF SHADOWS. He created my cover too, as well as GENIE WISHES by Elisabeth Dahl. SO talented!

  28. Reply


    January 29, 2013

    I tried playing the guitar and had no hand-eye coordination – it was awful!

    I wished I could play the piano – maybe I'll try that next!


  29. Reply

    Sister Kim

    January 29, 2013

    Actually I played the violin for three years but if I had my choice I would play the piano.

  30. Reply


    January 29, 2013

    I don't play any music instrument, but if I could I'd want to play the violin or the piano.

  31. Reply

    Kit Grindstaff

    January 29, 2013

    How can I not be longing for this? I only recently finished Cavendish, which I loved – Plus I do play an instrument. Or 2. (Piano/gtr.).

    As to Olivia, it always amazes me how an artist like this can capture so much in so few strokes. And that pram!

    • Reply

      Claire M. Caterer

      January 30, 2013

      I know, Kit, the pram … I noticed that on Karl's Tumblr and loved it too.

  32. Reply


    January 29, 2013

    I played the violin once upon a time, though I wasn't particularly good at it.

    That art is absolutely gorgeous – and Olivia looks amazing. Oh, I cannot WAIT.

  33. Reply


    January 29, 2013

    I don't play an instrument, though I wished I was able to play the piano! It would be so amazing!

  34. Reply

    Juju at Tales of

    January 29, 2013

    We could win prints? AWESOMEEE!
    Love this contest.

    I don't play an instrument but I wish I played the piano.

  35. Reply


    January 29, 2013

    Can't wait to see what Claire does with a ghost story and it looks like the illustrator is a perfect match!

    I don't play an instrument but I've been listening to Basia Bulat and I think the autoharp would be about my speed if I played an instrument. I tried playing trumpet in elementary school but I failed…brrrruuuppttthh!

  36. Reply

    Aspen Firefly

    January 29, 2013

    I would love to play the piano or violin. I have been kind of trying to learn how to play the keyboard and I can sort of play a couple easy things XD Maybe one day!

  37. Reply

    Michelle Schusterman

    January 30, 2013

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  38. Reply

    Michelle Schusterman

    January 30, 2013

    That sketch of Olivia is SO awesome!

    I'm a percussionist, with a music ed degree. So technically I can play all brass, woodwind, and string instruments. But that does not mean you want me to.

  39. Reply

    Deniz Bevan

    January 30, 2013

    I'm in love already. Look at that buggy! the little old woman! I love illustrations like these.

  40. Reply

    Amy Hayes

    January 30, 2013

    I play piano but would love to learn flute and guitar too.

  41. Reply


    January 30, 2013

    I played French horn from the time I was 9 through college. Now I do more singing than anything.

  42. Reply

    Julianna Helms

    January 30, 2013

    I play the piano, guitar, violin, clarinet, zither, and bagpipes. ^.^ I'd like to learn the erhu, though. Thanks for the giveaway!

  43. Reply


    January 30, 2013

    I play guitar. Thanks for the chance to win!

  44. Reply

    Jenea Whittington

    January 30, 2013

    The artwork is great. Thanks for the giveaway and sharing this.

    Jenea @ Books Live Forever

  45. Reply


    January 30, 2013

    I played the baritone for 5 years. :) I enjoyed it! But i whish I could play the violin! Anyways i LOVE the artwork! XD

  46. Reply


    January 30, 2013

    I…played the recorder in elementary school? My brother was the one who received piano lessons. I painstakingly taught myself the right hand part of Greensleeves by dedicatedly watching him before he gave it up.

    I want Victoria and Olivia crossover fanart to exist. They're so different from each other.

  47. Reply

    Ashley Stein

    January 30, 2013

    Sweet! This book is going to be epic. Thanks for the contest!

  48. Reply

    Kristen Evey

    January 30, 2013

    Eeek! I LOVE these illustrations. Going to stalk Karl's tumblr after I get done here. I play the piano and the guitar a little. REALLY want to get back into playing piano. Also, forget her jacket Claire, I want HER SOCKS! :p

  49. Reply


    January 30, 2013

    I play the piano! Although I don't play much anymore, even though I have TWO pianos at home. I really need to get back to it.

    Love the illustrations, and thanks for the giveaway! :)

  50. Reply


    January 31, 2013

    This looks beautiful, and I cannot wait for this book! I play the violin. I'm moderately competent, but haven't played for a while. Still, I can read music and play by ear a bit. I love classical music, but my favorite thing to play has got to be celtic folksongs.

  51. Reply

    Grace Lo

    January 31, 2013

    Karl Kwasny is a wonderful artist! I'm dying to read this! I actually play several instruments, but not overwhelmingly well. There's the piano, violin, saxophone, clarinet, and trombone. To be honest, I'd love to be able to sing.

  52. Reply

    Cassie Frye

    January 31, 2013

    I play the piano. Took lessons for 9 years. :D SO EXCITED for this book, Claire!

  53. Reply

    Jasmine Rose

    January 31, 2013

    I don't play anything and I don't much care to play anything, but when I almost joined band in 5th grade I was rather fond of the flute.

  54. Reply

    A. B. Harms

    January 31, 2013

    I played the flute, tried the guitar, but always wanted to play the violin or the harp. The art is wonderful, can't wait to see it on my shelf. :)

  55. Reply


    January 31, 2013

    I play viola, and I sing as well (sometimes I do both at once ;-D). I took piano as a child, but I never learned to play it really well — maybe I will someday (I hope!)

    I LOVE that illustration, and I can't wait to read the book!

  56. Reply

    Christina K.

    February 1, 2013

    I don't but my great aunt was a concert pianist!! I LOVE music:) Especially classical music.

    These are absolutely beautiful drawings:)

    Thank you:)

  57. Reply

    alicia marie

    February 2, 2013

    I played the piano growing up, but now not so much : )

  58. Reply

    Kassidy Voinche

    February 2, 2013

    Sadly I do not play an instrument, but I did sing in my school choir for a very long time!! Thanks for the giveaway!

  59. Reply

    Holly Letson

    February 4, 2013

    I do not play any instruments, but I love to sing.

    If I learned to play an instrument, I'd love to learn the guitar.

  60. Reply

    Kayla Beck

    February 5, 2013

    In the days before American Pie, I always wanted to learn how to play the flute. I even refused to take music classes because my mom wanted me to play something else (no way), and she wouldn't budge from it. I generally tell people something generic like the piano or guitar, but it's always been the flute. *sigh*

  61. Reply


    February 7, 2013

    I don't play an instrument. I used to play piano, but I went on strike until my parents let me quit. Now I wish I could play the guitar or the violin. I love the violin.

  62. Reply

    Kristie Matheson

    February 7, 2013

    I'd love to get back into the piano. Or maybe play the guitar.

  63. Reply

    The Bumble Girl

    February 7, 2013

    I have ALWAYS wanted to learn how to play the violin! I have owned one for 15 years and it has never been touched :(