The battle room is such an integral part of Ender's young life. His actions in that room shape the man he is destined to become, so in all the sketches I thought why not hint at what the room looks like or at least the entry corridor.
I went through numerous roughs while listening to the audiobooks of both stories. I did a few throw away ideas of Ender floating in front of the battle room door but since this is an Omnibus I had to find a way to represent both stories with one cover. The challenge here is that Ender is an adult in the second book. Here are two of the 3 sketches I sent off for approval.
Sketch 2 – this wraparound pitch is a conceptual approach that encompasses both stories. The somber contemplative young Ender in front of the bleak dimly lit battle room, the weight of the world on him. He's standing back to back with his older self. A stronger more confident pose, holding the last of an alien species he completely destroyed. The palette would intentionally move from dark to light. From the cool sadness and misery of battle school to the warm hope of a fresh start on a new world.
Sketch 3 - In the first book there is a scene where Ender is playing a game and looking into a mirror only to see his older brother Peter gazing back at him. I thought that might be an interesting way of introducing the Speaker for the Dead into the composition, except with holographic displays surrounding a huge gaming console. This ended up being the approved sketch with 2 minor adjustments. I was asked to put Ender in the flash suit from sketch 2 and get rid of the frame around the hologram of the Speaker.
The book really didn't portray the battle school as a positive place to be so in both sketches shown here I felt the corridor should lean more cold gritty gunmetal than porcelain white with lens flares. Knowing that some of the same designers from Avatar worked on the upcoming movie it's my guess that they'll take the same approach.