After writing about Chinese/Japanese cover cliches, I was contacted by the extremely talented Alice Smith (about one of whose covers I wrote here). She has recently done a cover and internal illustrations for the about-to-be-published Revenge of the Mooncake Vixen, a Chinese-American novel by Marilyn Chin.
Said Alice, "I too, went profusely through all the cliches over and over... from samurai swords (so brilliantly NOT RELEVANT to this book), to moons, dragons, meat cleavers, pretty ladies, not-so-pretty ladies, birds, sea waves, geishas, kimonos, shadows, Chinese menus, noodles... And on the final design - I fandango'd: blossoms, peonies, a panda, and all the animals of the Chinese calendar - how many points do you get for all those cliches? And how many points do I lose for a German typeface (Weiss) on the cover?"
Ms Smith was kind enough to let me repost some of her internal illustrations for the book: see more of her amazing work at her blog, and I hope to have proper interview with her here soon.