Captain Seadog – Blog #001 of the 160 “Pretty faces” book cover Challenge

I have challenged myself to create 160 book cover designs for
The Gardner Francis Fox Library . The cover designs include a 6×6 scratchboard illustration. The theme for all 160 book covers will be: “Pretty Faces”.

This is book #011 on the list of 160 books that Gardner Francis Fox wrote from 1953 to 1986. I will not be working on books in the order as Mr. Fox wrote them. I am doing the book cover designs based on when the transcribers who are assisting me, finish one. As they complete a book, it will be the newest release, so it will get a new book cover design. I also have to go back and replace the photo-bashed covers I made when I first started The Gardner Francis Fox Library in 2017.

Jefferson Cooper is one of many (over 13) pseudonyms Mr. Fox wrote under. He wrote 11 books as Jefferson Cooper. My suspicion is that his literary agent: August Lenniger would be able to sell more books to publishers who didn’t want to saturate the market with one author’s name, so they often insisted on pseudonyms.

Captain Seadog Gardner F Fox scratchboard cover art Kurt Brugel historical fiction England and Spain sea battles with pirates

Originally published in 1959 by Pocket Books

The cover Artist: Unknown

“He fought for queen, for country and for the love of the passionate woman he was forbidden to marry.”

The story is historical fiction/romance. Here’s how the original back cover was selling Captain Seadog in 1959:


These were the rewards Michael Goddard dreamed of when he returned to England with a treasure taken at sword’s point from the proud galleons of the Spanish Main.

But instead, Goddard was falsely accused of treachery to Queen Elizabeth. He was left to rot in a dungeon.

Then, suddenly and mysteriously, he was helped to escape. His rescuer was a ravishingly beautiful woman he had never even seen before. And the mystery deepened when Good Queen Bess herself ordered him to perform a service upon which hung the fate of all England.

Was this just another trap baited by an English beauty? Or was it the way for this lusty swordsman to regain his honor and his glittering fortune? What was Goddard to believe?

The historical fiction/romance novels that Mr. Fox wrote all pretty much read like a movie script from that same time. The pacing is steady. The action is urgent and the boys and girls like to get frisky.

Of course, these books all end the same way. The hero wins, gets the girl, and then rides off into the sunset. There are a few twists here and there to keep the story rolling and fresh. These stories never go that deep, but they sure are entertaining!

Here’s what one Amazon reviewer had to say: “Leave your critiques at the door, this is purely escapism fiction. Read one, you’ve read them all.” – Richard Fisher

painting by an Unknown painter in the 16th century of Ana de Mendoza, Princess of Eboli in Spain

The cover image I used as the reference is from a painting by an Unknown painter in the 16th century of Ana de Mendoza, Princess of Eboli (Spain).

“Although she may have been blind in one eye, the Princess of Éboli was considered very attractive. She was an energetic person, and prominent in court life. One of her friends was the queen, Isabel de Valois.”Wikipedia

Now Princess Mendoza does not appear in Captain Seadog, but I was looking for an image that would speak from the time period. The eye-patch is what sold me. Since a seadog is a sailor/pirate reference I took this image and ran with it.

captain seadog gardner francis fox library kurt brugel book cover scratchboard illustrator

I create the cover illustrations to size. I work on 6 x 6 black Ampersand Scratchboard. The book covers are 6 x 9, which leaves 3 inches for text. I want a clean, “Penguin Books” look and feel to the covers. The back cover has an image of the original cover, the date it was originally printed, and the original story description.

Here’s a video I put together of me working on the scratchboard process.

I have had many positive comments about the “new” covers. I feel pretty positive I will be able to do all 160 book covers.

Stay tuned and find out. Join my Newsletter to get notifications of when I’ve posted a new blog entry.

The original framed scratchboard art is for sale.

Thank you for stopping by and finding out more about what I’m doing. If you are interested in reading Captain Seadog, please click over to The Gardner Francis Fox Library to read Chapter One.

Order eBooks Here and Reprints Here


Kurt Brugel
Custodian & Illustrator

This is the second book cover I scratched.