A cover for Melange Books. For this cover we wanted to keep with the theme of the previous books: Dragon Sword, Sword of Doom, and Sword of the Quest. I used the same model (piece-parted to get the pose we wanted). In order to try speeding up the process, we fully discussed the author’s vision for the cover before I started piecing everything together. I asked him to clarify a few of his ideas, and we managed to get this put together withing four proofs (minor tweaks on each. I toyed with the idea of the flames pouring over into the series title to add more drama and flare.
This is the result:
Stock images from The Dollar Photo Club (Site now defunct):
katana and three images of the (same) model
Stock from Dreamstime:
https://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photo-bonfire-flame-fire-forest-autumn-flames-image34236555 – fire
https://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-meteor-shower-isolated-black-background-image49030556 – meteor
https://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-roche-rock-ancient-ruined-chapel-perched-top-rocky-granite-outcrop-known-as-located-mid-cornwall-dedicated-to-st-image32326080 – ancient ruins
https://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-image-black-smoke-red-flames-photo-special-nature-protection-action-intended-to-make-better-habitat-rare-heathland-image39123676 – lower fire
A cover for Melange Books. For this cover, we wanted to match the style of the previous books, The Wildlands and The Deadlands. I kept the general placement of the titles and author name the same (though we did experiment with different placements), plus we kept with the general theme of the two characters walking on a path to a different destination. In this case, we used the same model imagery from the second cover, but I did a few adjustments to their images to make them seem a bit different (pushed them closer, adjusted the girl’s hair a bit, and flipped their images). We added a couple pieces of deserted imagery to add to the abandoned feel, and I used a lot of Photoshop masking in layers to get the various jungle layers to mesh properly and look natural.
This is the result:
Stock images from Dreamstime:
http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-jungle-green-thickets-mountains-malaysia-image56303604 – jungle
https://www.dreamstime.com/stock-images-abandoned-road-image16324304 – road
http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-tropical-rainforest-khao-yai-national-park-thailand-world-h-image68662437 – jungle overlook
https://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-abandoned-diner-photo-taken-off-interstate-i-usa-image56088809 – abandoned diner
https://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photography-abandoned-car-image23149927 -abandoned car
People – From the Dollar Photo Club
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:
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.
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:
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
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:
Stock images from Dreamstime and Dollar Photo Club.
This is a cover for Melange Books. For this cover, the author already had an idea of what image he wanted used for both the front and back. However, the stock image we looked at initially was marked “editorial only,” so that one wasn’t available. However, we did find a similar photograph on the Library of Congress website that didn’t have any known restrictions, in part due to its age.
So, though it was black and white, I retouched the image and filled it in with color, along with sharpening the picture. (Ironically, while I retouched the back cover image as well, I removed the color from that one). We also found a free font that resembled the baseball logo of the referenced team. This was the result:
I changed the border a bit for the front and back of the print covers, due to the trim lines.
Primary stock images from the Library of Congress: https://www.loc.gov/item/91725980
We had a modern-day image we considered using, but couldn’t due to licencing restrictions.
Post Card Border from The Dollar Photo Club (Now Closed)
http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photos-quinn-abbey-image18602883 – Churchyard
This is a cover for Melange Books. For this cover, we based the style on the first book, Dragon Sword (See the cover of the first book here). The wolf at the top of the cover is the same, as is the placement of the text, and the border on the right side of the book. We also used the same model, though I used two separate images to get the right mood for the cover. I also did a bit of work with the puppet warp and liquefy tools in Photoshop CS6 to get the right build for the character (You can see the original photos in the link of stock images below).
This is the result:
Stock images from The Dollar Photo Club:
https://www.dollarphotoclub.com/64831097 – leather texture
https://www.dollarphotoclub.com/48895294 – wolf head
https://www.dollarphotoclub.com/59929391 – swordsman
https://www.dollarphotoclub.com/66550844 – katana
https://www.dollarphotoclub.com/81491234 – fire field base
https://www.dollarphotoclub.com/81258902 – fire field overlay
https://www.dollarphotoclub.com/57977513 – field background
https://www.dollarphotoclub.com/4893388 – smoke
https://www.dollarphotoclub.com/86403951 – broken ruins
https://www.dollarphotoclub.com/63208980 – ravens
https://www.dollarphotoclub.com/61761712 – wooden ruins
https://www.dollarphotoclub.com/59929510 – man’s head