This time I'm painting the font separately but for all my other books I’ve painted it on the artwork. This is a risky thing for a lot of reasons. Suppose the publisher doesn't like the font? Then what? Suppose I screw it up? Then I have to repaint the whole cover! It's a lot of pressure but the reason I do it is because i like the font to blend. I want it to be part of the art, not just sitting on it. For Astronauts there's a chance the font won't be the color that I would have painted it (I'd paint it white if I had to pick a color) so that's why it's not a big deal to letter it separately. Of course I need to make sure it'll work, though... so while working on it I placed it over the artwork.
I think the point of me sharing this is (although I admit I’m not always sure what my point is!) that when I do a book the entire design is important to me. A lot of illustrators leave aspects up to the designer but not me. The great thing about working with certain publishers/designers is that the process can be collaborative. We will talk things over—the font, the layout, etc. That’s important to me and I’m thankful to be included in the process! I think the best covers and the best books are done this way.