I needed some more cover art in my portfolio, and as I was listening to Heyer's The Masqueraders when I decided this, I thought I'd see if I could create a YA-style cover for that story. I first read it when I was about 13, and the plot of a brother and sister switching places amongst political intrigue and romance was a fun theme that could conceivably belong to YA lit.
Here's a progress animation of the main steps I took in creating this piece. There are hints in the earliest stages of a more complicated background, with silhouetted vignettes, but I eventually discarded that idea and stuck with something a bit simpler.
This was a good exercise in drawing characters, as each character I had to draw twice, and they each had to pass as both a man and a woman. I couldn't just copy the faces 100%, but I tried my best to maintain all of their features. It's tricky when you don't have hair and clothes to fall back on!
For those unacquainted with the book, the bottom half of the picture has the characters the right way round, with the girl in the red dress and the boy in blue (They spend most of the book playing their opposite gender). Here's an inverted version so you can better see them:
I don't really have any idea how long this took, as I worked on it in small bursts of free time over the past year. It definitely didn't take long enough to warrant the whole year though!
Adobe Photoshop CC with a Wacom Intuos Pro 5 and a Wacom Cintiq Companion 2
I looked up period references for the clothes and took my own references for help with the (always tricky) hands, but otherwise, no direct reference.