I start a project by creating idea worksheets for myself, just quick scribbles exploring various ideas and concepts. However, when possible, I like to make these a little more finished, similar to those shown here, so I can present them to the publisher before we decide on a definite design.
1. One of my initial cover ideas worksheets.
2. One of my worksheets showing two slightly more finished cover designs.
3. Final cover design pencil, I worked up to be used to brief the illustrator.
4. Final printed cover.