This is the description I sent him:
I need an action shot of a space trucker in leather jacket and black baseball hat saving a pretty space princess in full ball gown from a vaguely knight looking robot. The action can take place in the halls of a spaceship or set on the wilds of an alien planet, whichever you're most comfortable with.
How did he do? You be the judge:
The palette Rapha chose is bold and bright, and allowed me to use a high contrast yellow for the title that reads well at any size, and neither the art nor title overwhelm the other. It's not a color pair that I would have chosen, but it works well, and it's just that sort of creativity and experience that makes the money so well spent.
Here's where everything gets even more fun. I didn't realize that the titular space trucker - his name is E. Z. Sudden - had a full 'stache and goatee. In my mind he didn't until I saw this picture. Now, as I revise the work, that's how I'll picture him. Better yet, there's a log on his shirt that serves as an Easter Egg for the fans of the cover artist. On questioning, Rapha admitted its a burning pyramid taken from a comic book he created called Tomes of Tessa. I can't tell you how thrilled I am that he included that in the art work. I specifically left things vague to allow him room for just that sort of personal touch, and he came through like a champ.
Think about. That means that either Sudden is a fan of independent comic books or that the burning pyramid is a local in Sudden's universe, and he not only visited it, but bought a t-shirt at the gift shop. Either way, it makes me laugh every time I think about it.
Anyway, the point is, commissioning artwork is a blast. It was so much fun, it has me motivated to write another book as fast as possible just so that I can go through the cover process again.