Wednesday, January 24, 2018

The Making of a Cover - Of Gods and Sorrow


The cover for Of Blood and Sorrow (OBaS) was designed by a professional. Erin Dameron-Hill is tremendously talented. I had no idea what exactly I wanted for a cover, but she knew just what to do. I saw the project go from the simple model image to the cover you see above.

A year ago, I received a month long subscription to BigStock, and I bought two images of the same model on that cover. I was determined to expand my skills and make the next two covers in this trilogy.

Of course, nothing ever goes as planned.

I've been practicing and improving my designing skills. My husband bought me a newer version of Photoshop, and it has so many more tools to play with.

Having finished the first draft of book two called Of Gods and Sorrow (OGaS), I set about making the cover with the image of the same model. It was going to be spectacular. I knew what I wanted. All I had to do was... use a different image.

The model is standing in an odd position. Does anyone naturally stand like that?


So I went through the many images I had collected and found one that worked much better. It's not the same model, but she looks very similar. She's squatting like on the cover of OBaS. Apparently my protagonist, Erin, is super at squats.


The coloring of the image was better for what I wanted too. One of the locations in OGaS is an underground cavern with a lake of fire. I wanted the drama of it. It would be a good contrast to the starkness of the OBaS cover. But it still had to feel like it was part of a series... and not just because Erin is squatting.

The trick to making the cover was layers. Many layers. Twenty-four layers, in fact. Some of the layers are little bits, but other layers are full faded images. If you look at the cover of OBaS, you can see several layers, and they blend together so nicely.

I had to change the coloring to make it look like a cave with a fire. I messed up Erin's hair, gave it some redness from the reflection of the fire. She needed pants too. Erin rarely wears dresses. Then the awesome weapon and some graffiti on the cave wall. Erin doesn't have tattoos, but she has spots. So yes, many layers.

The title font was hard to match, but I made it work. I originally wanted to go with a green surrounding glow, but it didn't look quite right. My plan had been to use blue for the final cover, but blue worked perfectly against this fiery cover.

My tips if you want to try your hand at designing a book cover:
1) Be flexible. What you have in mind might not work out. Always have a Plan B. And C.
2) Layers. It might look daunting when you first start, but if you do it piece by piece, it's easier.
3) Have other eyes on it. I have great critique partners that have seen all the rough trial covers. They'll help point you in the right direction.

And now, what you've been waiting for. The finalized cover of OGaS.


What do you think? Have you ever tried your hand at cover design?

P.S. I'm focusing on writing for the rest of the month. I'll see you on the first Wednesday of February for IWSG!

50 comments:

  1. Great cover! Love all the details. It's amazing to see how you can manipulate a stock image to fit the vision you have in your head! Can't help but feel more excited for this book now. ^_^

    And heh, I sometimes create art that ends up having as many as 100 layers, so I'm impressed this only took 24! XD

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    1. Thank you. And 100 layers? Wow. That is amazing.

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  2. That turned out really well. Yeah, that first image is weird. She's make a better undead than a human with that odd pose. But the second worked into a really great cover.

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    1. Yes! You nailed it on the head there with the undead comparison. And thank you. :)

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  3. ok, your job, if you accept it...be my primary feedback specialist for all my future covers.

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    1. Will this note self-destruct in 5 seconds?

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  4. I love what you did with the cover, and I think it fits well with the first book in the series. :)

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    1. Thanks, Cherie. You saw all the horrible ones before too!

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  5. Wow, that is so impressive that you created that yourself! The cover looks great. Are you thinking of branching out into cover design for other folks. Looks like you've got the skills for it.

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    1. Thank you. No, I won't be designing for others. It takes too long!

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  6. I so enjoy when you do these kinds of posts, Christine. Thanks for sharing your process. :)

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  7. You did a great job. Great attention to detail! And so nice of your husband to buy you the tools. That always means a lot to me- it's like they believe in us enough to invest in us.

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  8. Great job matching the fonts! They look spectacular! The blue looks great with the background. You’re so much better at photoshop than me. I don’t have it anymore because my 10 year old version didn’t work with the newer computer, but I totally get what you mean with all the layers. Lol! The blending work on that is great.

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    1. The version I had been using previously was over ten years old! Thank you, Krystal. :)

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  9. Hi Christine - well done ... your patience must be enormous! But very clever and thorough in getting things right ... love the cover you've created - cheers Hilary

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  10. Well done. The extent of my cover design is just to provide elements and maybe a concept to my illustrator. Then I just stand back and let him do his thing. It works better that way.

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    1. Thank you, Diane. I would love to be able to afford the designer I used before, but until I start really selling books, I can't afford to do so.

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  11. The cover turned out great I really need to learn how to do that with layers, but find Gimp to have a learning curve and so far I have not invested to the time to really learn it well. You did a great job.

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    1. Thank you! It does take time to learn. I need to practice more with the newer version I have now. I've been told it can do even more with layers.

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  12. I think your cover looks amazing! Great work!

    I do my own cover design too, but I suck at working with photographs, so I've avoided the stock photos thus far. But I've got the entire series of my big books already done, just waiting for me to finish writing.

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  13. You cover looks great! I'd never try doing my own, though. My artistic skills are so terrible, there'd be no point. I know when to pass a project on to someone who knows what they're doing.

    BTW, you stopped by my blog just before I posted this week's Seven Links, so if you want a few more links drop on by again.

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    1. Thanks, Ken. And I'm heading over for more links. :)

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  14. So cool that you're expanding your skill set...and keeping open minded and "flexible" about it too:)

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  15. Your cover is great.

    My husband is great at the technical aspects of my book covers, if I tell him what I want. Trouble is, I don't really know what's best.

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    1. Patsy, thank you. Yes, I worry sometimes if what I want is what's best too.

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  16. It looks fantastic! It easily puts anything I've done in the past to shame.

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  17. I've never tried cover design, but I think you do a great job.

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  18. Nicely done!

    I've basically been designing my own covers since I've started self-publishing. I really enjoy the process, even if it often does resemble a trial by fire. :-D

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    1. A trial by fire is right! I think your covers are wonderful. Sharp and clean.

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  19. That cover is awesome! The first one is really good, too, but I like this one better. You are talented! I wish I knew how to do layers for cover images.

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    1. Thank you, Chrys! Layering takes practice. Which I know I still need more of. :)

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  20. You did a great job, Christine! You're hired.

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  21. Love your cover! You are really talented. I wouldn't know where to begin even with your tips.

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    1. Thank you, Natalie. My first tip is always to hire a pro if you can afford it. :)

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  22. That's very impressive! You definitely have a talent for this. I tried my own cover design recently. Definitely a big learning curve, but satisfying.

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    1. Thanks, Nick. Yes, it takes time to learn, but it is a great feeling seeing the end product.

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  23. Whoa! That's super amazing and awesome! You definitely have skill at making a cover that pops!

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  24. Wow!!! Just wow! I am super impressed by your cover art skills and that gorgeous cover. I'm sorry if I'm late to the cover party, but I will definitely share.

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    1. Thanks, Tyrean! And it's fashionable to be a little late. Hehehe!

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  25. The cover looks great and the story that goes with it is awesome.

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