A little while ago got a chance to work on a book cover featuring a grackle for a new Austin, Texas based romantic drama. To give it a bit of a romantic edge, I staged it right before twilight when the whole sky turns and paints everything pink. I think it will look lovely with a dark swirly font and should stand out a little amidst the competition.
I always try to capture the feel of the final in the sketches. They are not super tightly rendered, but they show me where the values go and work out most of the composition kinks. The final results are usually smoother. You can follow the progress of this piece on my Instagram page.