No, that first picture is not a child’s drawing. It’s my attempt at sketching an idea for the cover of The First Kingdom. See, my friend was willing to draw the cover, but she wasn’t about to read the novel. So I had to come up with the idea. I knew I wanted Aros, Rikki, and Doren on the cover, along with their weapons. But what could the context be? Initially, it was around a pillar of smoke, which is inspired by an event near the end of the story. And then I put shapes in the smoke, and I had the protagonists standing on the castle ramparts. Clearly, that evolved.
My friend took my idea and refined it into what you see in the second image. The pillar of smoke is gone, replaced by The Door. And RAD are beneath the castle, not on top of it. There were a couple of similar sketches she did, but this was the one that we settled on. That, in turn, led to the third image.
You can watch my friend finalize the cover on Youtube by clicking here. I suggest you check it out. By the end of it, you get to the third image, which is what ended up on the cover.