A cover for Barking Rain Press. For this cover, since the mystery involves the murder of a school teacher, the publisher was looking for something that would convey the theme (as cozy mysteries often do). So we chose to have the chalkboard background with a chalk-like font for the title, along with books and pencils on the desk, which would create the sense of a school setting. We also included hints of the murder weapon by having the concealed pills and the spilled coffee… obviously drank from due to the lipstick stain.
This is the final result:
Stock images from Shutterstock:
https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/stack-old-books-isolated-on-white-110298509 – books
https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/cup-pens-pencils-isolated-74529190 – pencil cup
https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/cup-coffee-spilled-on-computer-keyboard-76303951 – coffee cup
https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/wooden-table-on-blank-green-board-208701988 – blackboard and table
https://www.shutterstock.com/image-vector/lip-stain-vector-241323901 – lipstick stain
https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/pill-bottle-concept-healthcare-medicine-97588814 – pill bottle
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
This is a cover for Melange Books. For this cover we wanted to keep with the theme of the previous books: Dragon Sword, Sword of Doom, Sword of the Quest, and Star Sword. Again, I piece-parted images of the model to get the dramatic pose we wanted, and per usual, I added specific lighting to the background and foreground using overlay and softlight blending layers, in order to make the image look cohesive. Adding a bit of “fog” at the base of the image allowed the title to stand out better while blending out the legs of the model where the stock image was cut away.
Stock images from The Dollar Photo Club (Site no longer functional):
two images of the model
Stock from Dreamstime:
https://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photos-dark-ominous-rain-clouds-lightning-image18357018 – sky
https://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-castle-kreuzenstein-leobendorf-near-vienna-austria-image45372240 – castle
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 – rocks
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.
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 Barking Rain Press. The author had several ideas on their art form for how the cover might look, and they listed a few options for symbolism. After reading the form, I had an idea of the style I thought might work. I found the images (including the sketchy dragonflies, both the illustration and the creature referencing the book) and put together a mock-up. My initial mock-up had a different background, which included cliffs and a waterfall but didn’t really give the right feel in regards to setting. I sent another idea for the background, just the picture, along with the mock-up, and they asked to try it. This is the end result. 🙂
Stock images from Shutterstock: