A cover for Melange Books. For this cover, we wanted the cover to resemble the other books in the series, Night of the Hunter, Demon Hunter, and Hunter in the Darkness. Ultimately, I played with having a brighter background lighting (the sunset) in this one compared to the storm-based backgrounds of the previous colors. We kept the lighting on the model fairly consistent with the others. Also, I had to change the position of the ruins to have it better fit the positioning of the model. Per usual, the character is a composite image in order to create a more accurate rendition.
This is the result:
Stock images from DepositPhotos:
https://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-abstract-smoke-moves-black-background-image48826804 – fog
https://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photos-dark-ominous-rain-clouds-lightning-image18357018 – lightning sky
http://depositphotos.com/50429945/stock-photo-beautiful-fiery-orange-and-purple.html – sunset sky
https://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photos-capital-fortress-kingdom-urartu-van-turkey-image22014223 – castle ruins
http://depositphotos.com/19531251/stock-photo-handsome-man-pointing-with-gun.html – man body
http://depositphotos.com/39716297/stock-photo-knight-and-princess-love-each.html – head
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 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:
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
This is a cover for Melange Books. For this cover, the author wanted something that showed a cabin in a snowy region and kept with the dark mood of the story. They had already found an image that they felt worked well, so I was able to find a similar one from the stock site we normally use in order to create the cover.
My first attempt at a proof for this cover included silhouettes of the characters, but it didn’t convey the right mood. So I went a more simple route, using the mysterious, dark purple color as the base of the cover, with a narrow focus on the cabin in question. I also changed my initial font to something a bit more bold.
This is the result:
Stock image from Dollar Photo Club:
https://www.dollarphotoclub.com/70616736 – cabin
This is a cover I edited for Barking Rain Press. In this case, they already had the main image they wanted, and they had the cool text placement in the cross hairs. However, they wanted me to do the final touches and adjust the sizing and such. So, after a bit of playing around with effects, I ended up playing the the motion blur and radial blur filters to add a sense of movement and disorientation. I also played with blurring and retouching the background so our main focus would be on the woman, and I played with the overall lighting. This is the end result. 🙂
This is cover for Melange Books.
Had a bit of fun with this one, since I’d done something similar with the numbers effect before, and it gave me a chance to work with more of a “movie cover” style image. 😀
Stock Photos from Dreamstime:
For my bits of insight on this one, I’d say that this is one that reminded me of playing with style and effects with lighting. I got really lucky with the stock image of the man, which is extremely sharp. However, when I was first creating the image, the draft felt a bit dull and lifeless. For whatever reason, I couldn’t figure out why it wasn’t looking like the earlier covers I’d created.
This was the final proof I’d created, before we’d decided to use the stocks. Problem was, it wasn’t popping.
So I went back through my old portfolio and looked to see what was different. The one that really stood out to me was a cover I did for my 1000 Words project: http://sbibb.deviantart.com/art/The-Magician-Cover-297327050?q=gallery%3Asbibb%2F33403924&qo=4
Then it hit me. I went back to the Project Northwest cover, and applied the same type of lighting techniques (using overlay to dodge and burn, as well as the high past filter for sharpness). It made a world of difference. I guess the moral of the story is, sometimes it’s good to look back at what you’ve done in the past to see what did and didn’t work, and lighting can make a scene completely different. 🙂