Isabella Biedenharn
November 29, 2016 AT 06:06 PM EST

Middle grade author Cassie Beasley scored a hit with her 2015 novel, Circus Mirandus, which currently sits at No. 6 on the New York Times Middle Grade Paperback best-seller list. For her next book, Tumble & Blue, Penguin Young Readers tapped artists Hari & Deepti to create the jacket art, using their intricate technique of paper-cutting and lighting to create the stunning final image. Check out EW’s exclusive behind-the-scenes video of Hari & Deepti’s process above, and get all your questions answered in the Q&A below.

Tumble & Blue hits shelves in August 2017.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How did you reach this design for the cover?

HARI & DEEPTI: The design process involved reading the manuscript for the book and getting inspired by what the story conveys to the reader. We really wanted to capture the fantastical aspect of the story and we had great direction from the team at Penguin. 

Can you walk us through the parts of your process that we see in the video? Which steps are the crucial ones not to skip? 

Our process starts with a dialogue with the team to understand what is expected. 

We then work on some sketches, which is the most important step in the process. Over time, we have learned to visualize the artwork in layers and keep in mind how we want the light to interact with the paper. Once the sketch is approved, we move on to the paper cut phase where each layer is meticulously hand drawn on sheets of acid free paper and cut out using a knife and assembled in layers. 

We then light the piece depending on how we want the artwork to look and we tweak the light position and intensity based on how the paper reacts with light till we get it right.

Why choose such an intricate method, as opposed to creating the image digitally?

We love the process and we think anything hand crafted has so much soul. It’s become second nature for us to cut paper, understanding how much pressure to use for a clean cut and how every cut adds to the artwork in both positive and negative space. We find it therapeutic and the end product is always a good surprise. It’s a labor of love! 

What was the most challenging aspect of the piece?

Every piece has its own challenge. Here we had to get the characters right. Capturing the characters in silhouette form is always a challenge. 

Color was another important aspect so we had to push ourselves. We usually work with white paper and a single light source and we love the yellow hues which is naturally how the paper reacts with the light. But the art direction team wanted a green hue to reflect the swamp and a reddish hue around the blood moon. We did not want to move away from the white paper so we had to experiment with some workarounds to manipulate the light and we are glad we experimented with color for this project. The results are more than what we expected.

What was the most satisfying part of the process for you?

We like to build on our skills as artists with each project and that is imperative to how we grow as artists. For us getting the colors right was a break through. We started ideating for the cover in India and worked on most parts of the illustration in Taiwan and Japan during our travels, so that was a lot of fun.

The most satisfying part is always lighting up the piece and then taking a step back and soaking it all in, and this usually happens in wee hours of the night, so it’s the last thing we see before we hit the bed!

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