Well, when I have enough time, I try to illustrate important characters that we don't see on other covers. On the first or on the backcover.
There is a lot of character that I would like to draw : St Just, Robert. S Pierre, Cromartry, the brother of hamish, Honor's parents, The protector of Grayson and his admiral, Theisman, tourville, Sharon, Giscard, Harkness+Tremaine, Mc Queen, ... And more...
It would be cool if I could draw all important characters...
This cover does a particularly good job of evoking the complicated emotional undercurrents between Honor and Hamish at this point in the saga, as well as hinting at the political turmoil in Manticore with which their relationship has gotten mixed up. The shadowy figures in the background watching the two main characters look somewhat sinister, but that's to be expected given that there were a lot of people who would have loved to see them fall flat on their faces - after all, the High Ridge government was in power at that time. Nice touch too with the "talking heads" in the background nattering on about Honor and Haven (I think that's the Havenite symbol there, isn't it?), reflecting the media uproar that provides a subplot of the book. I do wish you had been able to fit Emily in there somewhere, though, unless she *is* in there, in one of the TV/HD screens in the background and I didn't catch it...
No it's not the heavenite symbol but a salamander in a burning sun. Because a lot of people call Honor "the salamander" (especially her enemies).
And I couldn't draw Emily or something else because the size for French edition of Honor Harrington books is small. So I can't draw a lot of elements. It's easy to make too many characters, too many details and then you can't see the cover in a bookstore. To be efficient I have to put 1,2 or 3 important things max and that's all. All the rest must stay discreet. Like that the most important element can catch the eyes of the buyer
Very often I have to simplify my first idea/sketch. I must delete a ship, a planet, a character... sigh...
We have yet to see a Treecat as David Weber has described them. This cover has FAT house cats, but your cover of In Enemy Hands 1 comes closest IMO. Try this:
Clear your mind of the image 'cat' and think 'weasel' now in the middle of that long skinny body imagine another pair of limbs, got the image?
The head and ears are cat like.
The tail is long and flat imagine an elongated beaver tail, but with fur on the top, and bare skin on the bottom. Unless curled into a tube in cold winter conditions it should be flat. It's prehensile used for grasping like a new world monkey, but also with the curling ability can grasp also in the longitudinal direction not just the horizontal.
The hands have longer fingers than the human hand with three fingers and a thumb IE only four digits not five. The claws, 1.25 cm long, are usually retracted into a sheath but can spring open like a folding knife.
Color Gray with darker stripes for the male with cream colored belly fur, and light brown or tan and spotted for the female with cream colored belly.
Would that I had your ability, but perhaps this can help get an image closer to written descriptions, and we can leave the fat house cats and garden gnome looking treecats behind. Poor David Mattingly was told his treecats looked like Mr. Chaney's Wolfman from the old horror movies, and garden gnome by me. Enough with the Fat Cats!