Behind the Scenes – Shadows of the Night

A cover for Melange Books. For this cover, we tinkered with a few ideas before finally settling on the current design. While I initially searched out models on Dreamstime, the publisher suggested that Romance Novel Covers might have the particular type of character we were looking for.  I went through the site, selected a few I thought fit the art form’s description of the character best, and tested them in the proof until we decided this one worked best. I gave the city a night glow, and this is the result:

SBibb - Shadows of the Night  - Book Cover

And the back cover option, including the text provided for the spine and the ISBN/publisher information:

SBibb - Shadows of the Night  - Book Cover
Stock images from Dreamstime:

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-towering-skyscrapers-image20897660
http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-red-smoke-abstract-background-image13422380

Model image from : http://www.romancenovelcovers.com

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Behind the Scenes – Taking Chances

This is a book cover for Melange Books.

When working on book covers, some of my clients  ask for suggestions for their book covers, while others come knowing exactly what they want. For this cover, we went with the latter. The author knew they wanted the cover to be in 3 panels, with a good idea of what went in each one. They even had an idea of the stock image they wanted for the skyline (which happened to be from Dreamstime, so that worked perfectly). I put the pieces together and played with color effects to give it the warm, desert glow, then blended everything together.

This is the final result:

SBibb - Taking Chances - Book Cover

SBibb - Taking Chances - Back Cover

 

Stock images from Dreamstime:

 

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photos-young-happy-couple-image3071658

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-images-phoenix-arizona-skyline-downtown-az-sunny-day-image36673329

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photos-palm-cardboard-paper-texture-image28168233

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Behind the Scenes – The Great Forest of Shee

This is a cover for Melange Books. I’ve done covers for this author before, but in the previous cases, they were contemporary stories, not fantasy. The author mentioned in the provided art form of the possibility of having the unicorn on the cover, so that’s the direction I went. At first I tried a unicorn running toward the reader, but upon learning that the unicorns in this story where primarily passive, I tried a different route. The calm, resting creature. Originally I had the unicorn as a smaller piece of the cover, but since it didn’t really stand out (the cover lacked a focal point), I brought it forward and made it larger, thus drawing more attention to the unicorn. To add to the magical feel of the place, I increased the yellow and green color tone for the forest, as well as added a leafy texture to the edges of the cover.

This is the result:

SBibb - The Great Forest of Shee - Book Cover

SBibb - The Great Forest of Shee - Back of Book Cover

Stock images from Dreamstime:

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-white-lying-horse-green-grass-spring-image42596458
http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-images-african-oryx-image15187054
http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-images-morning-deep-forest-foggy-image33124894
http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photography-huge-old-tree-washington-olympic-peninsula-forest-theme-nature-photo-collection-image32432337
http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-images-ancient-castle-door-image22839459
http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-images-shaded-blue-swirls-background-image12615609
http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-image-giraffe-underbrush-image27233341
http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photos-dappled-morning-light-shines-though-elm-tree-image11383183

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Behind the Scenes – Murder In Her Mind

This is a cover for Melange Books. For this cover, I wanted to retain the series appearance of the previous two books (Murder in her Dreams and Murder in the Cards) while still focusing on the symbolism in this particular book. Based on the prompt from the author, I searched out the resulting images from Dreamstime, then blended them together to create a surreal image that would work as the cover. This is an example of using texturing to enhance a picture, while still making sure that the main images are individually distinguishable. This is the result:

SBibb - Murder In Her Mind - Book Cover

SBibb - Murder In Her Mind - Back of Book Cover

Stock images from Dreamstime:

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-images-swirly-grunge-image7347354
http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-image-crows-flying-image1181651
http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photos-raven-dance-image1850963
http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-swirly-grunge-image6807470
http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-image-mystical-face-image11042411
http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-images-cliffs-moher-under-cloudy-sky-ireland-image18387274

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Behind the Scenes – The Witch and the Hairbrush

A cover for Melange Books. For this cover, the author requested an illustrated look, similar to what I created for Screw The Devil’s Daquiri ( https://sbibb.wordpress.com/2014/07/23/behind-the-scenes-screw-the-devils-daiquiri/ ). In order to achieve the effects we wanted, I used stock images. However, I also used quite a few filters and blur effects from Photoshop CS6. These effects can be quite useful when placed in different blending modes, partially masked, and/or at varying levels of opacity. Another trick I used was to put a heavier emphasis of illustration on the background, while only partially applying the filters to the skin and face of the model.

This is the final result:

SBibb - The Witch and the Hairbrush - Book Cover
Stock images from Dreamstime:

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-image-small-croatian-village-image14193196

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photo-portrait-woman-sitting-playing-piano-black-dress-concept-music-art-image34582905

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-witches-broom-image14974800

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photo-two-witches-image27339945

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photos-flying-witch-image26918313

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Behind the Scenes – Finding Clara

This is a cover for Melange Books. In this case, the author wanted to show the main character looking into a mirror and seeing a different aspect of their life, other than what they felt. In order to portray both scenes, I looked for stock images where there were multiple images of the model to choose from, both from the back, and from the front. Though the clothing is different, I tried to choose a less obvious difference, as well as placement which would draw less attention to the outfit, and instead focus on the concept of the two different “lives.”

On a technical note, when I usually complete a near-final cover, I use auto-align to get the rough size and position for full-sized stock images based on the proof cover. Lots of layers are typically involved. Every once in a while, however, something doesn’t want to work quite right. In this case, I had a smart object (very useful for maintaining the original size of images and grouping clusters together) decide it didn’t want to be edited. No idea why the layer locked, but with a little bit of searching, I found this link: https://forums.adobe.com/message/1870944

The post of use for this situation suggested to right click the smart object layer that refuses to be edited, open up the resulting menu, then export contents. Save that as a separately named file, and when you reopen the file, it opens as the smart object you were trying to open. Quite handy, I thought.

This is the final result, including the back cover I created for it:

SBibb - Finding Clara - Book Cover

 

SBibb - Finding Clara - Back Book Cover

Stock images from Dreamstime:

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-images-beautiful-woman-smiling-image15889714
http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photography-victorian-mirror-image12415487
http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photography-man-leaning-country-gate-image21409557
http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photo-beautiful-woman-necklace-looking-image17998425
http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-drive-autumn-woods-thanksgiving-day-image46328634

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Behind the Scenes – Separate Lives

This is a cover for Melange Books. For this cover, the author requested that we create a template for the cover which could be used for future books in the series. After some tweaking, I settled on a frame to border the main image of the cover, along with placing the silhouette of the gavel and the text. It should be fairly easy to duplicate (especially since I keep notes on each layer about any blur effects and such), though we’ll need to purchase another licence for the gavel from Dreamstime for each cover.

Whenever I make proofs, I leave notes for myself in the layers, that way I can easily replicate any special effects I did for the proof on the final. For example, if I used a lens blur on a layer, I’ll make a note that looks something like “51-41-119 Lens Blur” for the name of the layer. Anything that I commonly change, I’ll make a note of. Sometimes the notes get long, and I’ll copy them into Word so I can read them, but the result is that it’s much easier to complete a final image, especially if there’s a month or so between creating a proof and receiving stock images (which happens when creating proofs in advance of a stock subscription purchase).

Anyway, this is the final cover for Separate Lives, by Rhonda Strehlow:

 

SBibb - Separate Lives - Book Cover

Also, an example of how the basic back cover might look (I set it so that color blur is optional, and they may change the signature to one of their imprints):

SBibb - Separate Lives - Book Cover Back

 

Stock images from Dreamstime:

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-judge-gavel-image16964080
http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photography-texture-creamy-white-rice-paper-torn-edges-isolated-white-background-image29821402
http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-image-table-hotel-bedroom-image27784531
http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photography-business-people-image11661512
http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-images-brown-package-paper-torn-to-reveal-white-panel-ideal-copy-space-image34962594

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