These 3 images on the left were my sketches for Family All Right.
One thing you have to keep in mind when doing a cover illustration (in Japan) is to make room for an obi to be looped around the bottom part of a book. It means that you are not supposed to put important elements on the bottom part of your illustration as the area will be covered. Sometimes it makes the image look awkward and empty in terms of composition but at the same time it could be challenging to illustrators. Occasionally, I think you can take advantage of this fact by intentionally placing some interesting components under an obi for a surprise. In case you might not familiar with 'obi', here is the description on Wikipedia.
An by Durian Sukegawa
Here I depicted a junior high school girl in front of a dorayaki shop. The novel is about the dorayaki shop in a small town. The title An means red bean jam. Here is the dorayaki on Wikipedia.
The Dog Who Couldn't Stop Loving by Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson
The editor requested me to do a cover that showed relation between a modern man and a primitive man with their dogs. So among other ideas, I included sketches of a cave painting depicting a modern man holding a cell phone with his dog. I liked the idea but it was not used. I think it might have been difficult to illustrate a cave painting in my style in a convincing way.
After all, the publisher chose the reflection idea but then obi got in the way. The problem had been resolved by printing obi in full color so that the bottom half of the cover image could go on to the obi itself. This is kind of luxury as obi are usually printed in 2 colors.
Going to the island to get a driver's license. by Hiromi Hoshino
The first batch of my sketches weren't well received by the book designer and author. They thought the comical feel of my ideas were not something the author wanted to stress in this book.
This book is an essey, and the author talks about her episode where she went to an island to get her driver's license. What's the big deal about getting a driver's license? You have to get driving lessons at least 34 hours with an instructor sitting next to you in a school's car, in a driving school and on public road. In addition to that, you have to take at lease 26 hours of traffic rules class. So it's sort of a big deal in Japan.
So, when you have to commute to a driving school to get a license, it takes quite long to complete the process. For those who want to do it more quickly, some school offers a training camp. The author, departing from everyday life, went to participate in a camp run by a driving school in an island in Kyushu.