Tag Archives: book cover design

Behind the Scenes – Sojourn: Enclave

A cover for Melange Books. For this cover, we wanted to match the style of the previous books, The Wildlands, The Deadlands, and The Beastlands. We considered adding the other companions from this book onto the cover, but the cover looked crowded and lost the consistency of the previous covers, so we chose to stick with the two primary characters. This one used several stock images in order to achieve the effect of the dilapidated, overgrown city. Masking was super-useful for this one, as I removed parts of the skyscrapers to make them look broken, and then cloned in bits of the sky on a separate layer to make it look more natural.

SBibb - Book Cover - Sojourn: Enclave

Back Cover:

SBibb - Back of Book Cover - Sojourn: Enclave
Stock images from Dreamstime:

https://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-image-long-span-concrete-beam-image11695956 – concrete wall
https://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photo-asleep-image21589475 – vine overgrowth
https://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-atlanta-downtown-skyline-scenes-january-cloudy-day-image66709798 – cityscape
https://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photography-beautiful-inspirational-sun-beams-over-ocean-image30676892 – sky

Deposit Photo Stock
http://depositphotos.com/106813230/stock-photo-cheering-successful-woman.html – cliff/grass
http://depositphotos.com/116621478/stock-photo-tourists-walking-in-the-mountains.html – male hiker
http://depositphotos.com/75580811/stock-photo-friends-group-playing-guitar-in.html – male head
http://depositphotos.com/27318771/stock-photo-little-child-carrying-a-suitcase.html – girl hat
http://depositphotos.com/106813710/stock-photo-woman-over-mountain-view.html – girl head
http://depositphotos.com/116999012/stock-photo-young-woman-backpacker-hiking.html – girl body

Destruction in Background:
https://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-images-old-building-image18217109
https://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photography-old-building-image18216992
https://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-demolished-building-grungy-detail-partly-image49371768

Weapons:
http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photography-quiver-made-leather-isolated-white-image34543777
http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-images-archery-equipment-bow-quiver-arrows-target-image29842224
http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-image-hunting-rifle-image12746386

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Behind the Scenes – M.O.B. (Mean Old Bastard)

I based the style of this cover on the Matt Helm and Travis McGee series per the author’s request. While I still tried to modernize it, I applied several illustrative effects to the pictures using photoshop filters and layer styles. Originally I looked on Dreamstime and Shutterstock for stock photos that fit the main character of the novel, but they weren’t hitting the mark, so the author sent me a picture of his own (that he was free to use), as an example. I liked the look and asked if I could try working that photo into the design of the cover, and this is the result:

SBibb - MOB_Cover_Blog

MOB - Wraparound Book Cover

Photo of the man on the motorcycle provided by the author. Other stock images are my own.

I also formatted both the print and ebook editions of the book. For the ebook edition, I decided to use the silhouette of the man on the motorcycle as a break between section (whereas the print edition has extra line space between sections, and uses the silhouette as part of the chapter title). Since I wanted to try matching the title font to the chapters, I created all the chapter titles as images and used those in place of the typed titles in the ebook. However, the current previewer for Kindle wouldn’t render a transparent GIF properly in the iPad/iPhone option (rendered them as black, illegible boxes), so I created them as JPGs. They might look a tad bit funny if on a background color other than white (such as cream), but at least all the main devices should be able to read them. I plan testing a PNG file for transparency on a future project, but I wanted to make sure that the current file will be readable for everyone until I can test the file formats separately.

Buy M.O.B. for the Kindle or as a paperback.

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Behind the Scenes – Night of the Hunter

A cover for Melange Books. For this cover we wanted a dark, sinister tone, and the author asked for the demon-like creatures to be staring out of the darkness. To achieve the appearance of the demon, I used a base image to start with, then used various layers in Photoshop to apply the red glow, which I then smudged and liquefied to match the model’s facial features.

Since the author said the main character is supposed to be a reincarnation of the main character from his other books, I used the same model, but with a different hairstyle.

This is the result:

Book Cover - Night of the Hunter

Back of Book Cover - Night of the Hunter

Stock images from Dreamstime:

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-young-vampire-man-shirtless-gesturing-to-camera-portrait-showing-his-torso-chest-abs-looking-dark-background-image60136451 – demon

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-abstract-fog-smoke-background-image69643118 – fog

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-dangerous-man-gun-sunglasses-standing-abandoned-house-image65411957 – black shirt

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-businessman-gun-white-image47821012 – aimed gun

Head image from Dollar Photo Club

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Behind the Scenes – The Poe Codec

A cover for Cave Hollow Press. For this cover, they wanted to incorporate elements of Edgar Allen Poe’s work and a feeling of a mystery. We settled on a raven and a locket (the locket plays an important role in the story) and we used the codec from inside the book (provided by the author) for the background. We went for red and black colors to add to the mysterious look, and I chose a cob-webby font that would add to the eerie mystery and work well for middle grade fiction.

I also did a wrap-around print cover. However, knowing that the primary form would be paperback–and knowing that CMYK does not play well with red– I created this cover first in CMYK (a smaller color space), and then converted it to sRGB for the online editions.

Something important to keep in mind when working with print editions is that if you download a template from Createspace, that template is in sRGB. You will need to convert it to CMYK prior to moving the image over for a wrap-around cover… or potentially need to redo portions of the image. (This is mostly a problem if you have a heavy amount of red on the cover.)

Another trick I found for getting the red color to work well in CMYK is to create a layer of red color based on the title (Hex Code: E32E24), overlaying it across all red portions of the cover (I masked out the locket and publisher logo), and the lowering the opacity to 30%. (I use Adobe Photoshop CS6). I’d read an article that suggested that CMYK does better with “pure” colors, and by adding the red overlay, that made the colors seem more “pure” for its color space.

I also did the interior formatting. You can check that out using the “look inside” feature on Amazon. 🙂

This is the end result:

Behind the Scenes - The Poe Codec

Behind the Scenes - The Poe Codec - Wraparound Cover

 

Stock images from Dreamstime:

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-raven-image36339410 – raven
http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-images-remembrance-image28935144 – locket

Code picture provided by the author.

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Behind the Scenes – The Quarter Horse

A cover for Melange Books’s YA imprint, Fire and Ice. This is the fourth book in The Horse Rescuers series, and so we wanted to keep the style the same as the other books. In this case, we kept the same layout and font. We tried a couple different colors as the main color scheme (each book is a bit different), and ultimately settled on the gray-blue.

For the horse image, I used the art form to reference the kind of horse the author wanted, and then I created a lightbox on Dreamstime with several horse options (and I checked to see what general season I should be looking for). The author selected two of those images, which I made rough proofs. Once we narrowed it down, I finalized the cover.

This is the end result:

Behind the Scenes - The Quarter Horse

Rough version of the back cover (subject to change per the Publisher’s needs):

The Quarter Horse - Back Cover Blog

Stock photo from Dreamstime.

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-images-bay-horse-image3555999 – horse

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Behind the Scenes – Sword of the Quest

A cover for Melange Books. For this cover, we wanted to match the covers of the previous books, Dragon Sword and Sword of Doom. The font and border placement remained the same, as did the leather textured background. The difference was the scene on the front. We tried a couple cover options before we came to this particular setup. (As a note, if you’re the cover artist working on multiple books in a series, and you have all the art forms for each of those books, make sure you don’t accidentally blend ideas from each form.)

Since there’s a lot going on in this cover, the lighting played an important role in balancing the cover. I made sure to have the main character fully lit, and thus in the spotlight. Next up was the woman, but I put her in slight shadow. The reader’s gaze falls first on the man, then her, then finally on the cloaked shadow in the background. The cloaked figure I shadowed the most. Partially because the figure is supposed to be mysterious, but also so the figure doesn’t attract the initial attention from the main character. Then, once all the pieces were in place, I added the specific lighting from the emerald, that way the whole scene fell together.

For the runes on the altar, I drew them in one color on a separate layer and then tinkered with the “bevel and emboss” special effect until they looked like they were part of the stone.

This is the result:

Behind the Scenes - Sword of the Quest - Book Cover

Stock images from The Dollar Photo Club (Stock site sold to Adobe Stock, individual links no longer work): katana //  wolf //  woman’s head / man’s arm / man’s legs / man’s torso
Stock images from Dreamstime:
http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-angkor-wat-temple-inside-corridor-walls-cambodia-image26822490 – temple

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-image-leather-clad-warrior-image265556 – leather tunic

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photography-ancient-roman-stone-pedestal-image12983352 – stone pedestal

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-emerald-isolated-image16275280 – emerald

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-dangerous-vampire-catacombs-full-skulls-bones-horror-fantasy-image64756682 – cloaked figure

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Behind the Scenes – Red Sun Over Mexico

A cover for Melange Books. For this cover we wanted to stick with the same theme as the first book in the series, Red Sun Over Panama. I kept most of the same imagery, including quite a bit of the retouching I’d already done, and inserted an image symbolic of Mexico.

To figure out which image to use, I emailed the author about symbolism relevant in the book. Other than the Japanese Red Sun, pulled from the first cover to give this a historical touch, he mentioned the temples as a landmark. So that’s what we went with.

The publisher repurchased a licence for each of the images we used a second time, as well as picked up the new image we needed.

Keeping with the first cover, I hid part of the title behind the landmark. In this one, more of the title is hid than in the first, but I was careful to make sure that the title was still legible.

This is the end result:

SBibb - Red Sun Over Mexico - Book Cover

SBibb - Red Sun Over Mexico - Back of Book Cover

Stock images from Dreamstime and Dollar Photo Club.

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