Tag Archives: book cover illustration

Behind the Scenes – Screw the Devil’s Daiquiri

This is a cover for Melange Books.

In this case, the author wanted an illustrated cover to fit with the style of story he’d written. While I primarily deal with photomanipulation, I decided to give it a try. My first couple attempts ended up looking too cartoonish (which the story is not), so I finally decided to go with a heavily altered photomanipulation using Photoshop CS6. That is… the table is illustrated, the devil tail is illustrated, and the daiquiri was created by using a combination of several Photoshop Filters (Cutout and Notebook at varying levels of opacity and filter options). As for the face and fingers, they’re a mix of illustration and photomanipulation. Though their base is in a photo, I painted in and masked out sections to create the overall look the author wanted. The eyes went through a number of revisions, mostly using the liquefy tool, then painting the pupils and light reflections back in. The hair horns were actually unintentional at first, but the author like the look, so we tweaked them to make them more specific to the image. I also toyed with letter placement of the text to add to the mood of the cover.

Anyway, this is the result:

SBibb - Screw the Devil's Daiquiri - Book Cover

Stock images from Dreamstime:

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-images-curly-hairstyle-young-beautiful-happy-healthy-woman-hair-over-white-background-image33054669
http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-images-black-martini-most-popular-cocktails-series-image5087594
http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-images-aggressive-girl-hands-long-red-nails-isolated-white-background-image33061224

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Cover Reveal – A Thousand Sunsets

A cover for Melange Books.

This is another example where I changed the hairstyle of the person in the stock photo. The image I used had long hair, but we needed short, curly hair to better fit the main character. In this case, I started by using the Patch tool and Clone brush tool in Photoshop CS6 to fill in the background where the hair had been previously, then tweaked it using layers to smooth out where her shoulders where. Then, on a new layer, I used the smudge tool. First a softer, but larger size for the over all shape of the hair, and then a smaller, harder brush to give it the little details in the hair. Then I created another layer to sharpen it and lowered the opacity to make it look a little more natural. Viola. New hairstyle.

This is also a case where I ended up using a discarded cover proof from another project. A while back I’d tested this image and text placement (different font, though) for a different romance cover, but the author and I ultimately chose something different. However, when I read the art form for A Thousand Sunsets, this proof came back to mind. So I asked the publisher if they’d mind me recycling the proof (since we hadn’t used it), and I did check with the author, but it turned out to be what they were looking for. So… without further ado, the cover for A Thousand Sunsets:

SBibb - A Thousand Sunsets - Book Cover

Stock Image from Dreamstime:

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-image-couple-love-silhouette-lake-sunset-image21896121

Little side note; I had fun highlighting the faces with a very faint heart-shaped overlay. It’s not super-visible, but it’s there. 🙂

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Cover Reveal – Elmo’s Sojourn

This is a cover for Melange Books.

Initially I thought this cover was going to be a bit more difficult to reconstruct from the proof image (since I start with a proof before creating the final), but again, the align layers function came in super handy, and all I had to do was some finishing tweaks to bring everything together. Once the basic pieces were in place, I went in and tweaked the lighting further, added in shadows and played with blending, and removed some of the distracting pieces from around the edges of the cover. Blades of grass and little star specks can distract from the center image if they stand out too much. Since we wanted a wormhole effect, this is also a case where I ended up using illustrations as well as photography in order to add to the science fiction look of the piece. Sometimes its helpful to look in the illustrated sections of the stock sites, and not just the photos. You never know what you might find that could be useful. 🙂

SBibb - Elmo's Sojourn - Book Cover

Stock Photos from: Dreamstime.

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-images-tornado-green-field-image18897874
http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photography-back-view-senior-man-white-background-image35078222
http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photo-old-trees-mist-laurel-forest-madeira-portugal-image35702305
http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-images-banyan-trees-hilo-image18648599
http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-image-tornado-city-image21115451
http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-images-tornado-image3181364
http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photos-traveling-wormhole-image21501588

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Second Best – Cover Reveal

Another cover for Melange Books.

SBibb - Second Best - Book Cover

 

This one was actually one of the easier covers for me, largely because we were working directly from a stock subscription, so I was able to work with the full-size images right from the get-go. For this, I played around with overall mood, trying to get a sense of the setting per the art request sheet, and I also asked about extra details regarding the character (which age to go with and so forth) from the author. We later added the faint scar on her cheek, which is more visible at larger resolutions, but wasn’t meant to be the point of focus. Overall, I’m really pleased with how this came out. 🙂

Stock Photography from Dreamstime:

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photography-portrait-girl-image15706682
http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-images-old-abandoned-factory-image18763339
http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-images-chain-link-fence-image7247619
http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-image-abstract-chain-link-fence-image7536291

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Santa’s Special Girl – Book Cover Reveal

Another cover for Melange Books. Today I talk about how photomanipulation is like a puzzle. 🙂

Santa's Special Girl - Book Cover

This was a case where character creation was useful. The author requested that we have the little girl sitting on the other character’s lap, who is dressed as Santa. In this case, I didn’t have much luck finding the perfect picture from the main stock site I used, so I wound up putting a few photos together to create the resulting image. Found a guy dressed in a Santa suit who matched the description– changed his hair color. Gave him a slight smile. Found a Santa hat. Found a little girl sitting cross-legged in pajamas– helpful. Found a sitting Santa to use for the lap… and used puppet warp on the arm. Found a background. Put everything together, and voila! Photomanipulation is a bit like putting together puzzle pieces, but it helps to have an idea of what the pieces look like before starting the search to find the right one. Kind of like finding the corner pieces first and working your way into the puzzle from there.

Stock Photos from Dreamstime:

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-images-teen-punk-santa-image5438109
http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-image-portrait-handsome-guy-image3590996
http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photo-girl-sitting-santas-lap-getting-hug-image27538055
http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photos-beautiful-six-year-old-girl-sitting-pajamas-over-white-image125808
http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photography-doctor-s-office-image480487#_

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Distant Horizon – When Photomanipulation meets Sketchwork

SBibb - Distant Horizon - Bad Memories

Another Distant Horizon based picture. It’s been a while since I’ve done any sort of coloring of sketched art. So, to explain this, I started out by sketching the image with a pencil, then went and did a basic lining of that with a pen. Afterwards, I did some shading work with the pen, then erased the extraneous pencil marks. Once that was done, I photographed the image flat with a flash on my camera and pulled it into photoshop. Did the threshold adjustment to convert it to black and white.

Then I started layering and using clipping modes combined with blending modes and masking to apply textures and coloration. The textures were mostly pulled from pictures I took on a walk downtown earlier in the day. Once that was complete, added the sections around the tank, and blurred the edge a little to give it that dreamlike quality.

Overall I’m pretty happy with this. Granted, it’s not the best, by any means, but since I was experimenting with the technique, I’m not going to complain. And I’m thrilled with how the hand came out. I think it actually looks semi-realistic and pressed to the glass. Yay!

So… now that you know how it’s made, a quick explanation of the picture itself. It’s a scene… rather a couple scenes, in which the main character of my novel I’m working on is caught in a telepathic attack. And she’s imagining she’s in a beastie tank… which turns people into monsters. Long story short. But that memory attack plays back into the story more than once, so I wanted to have a shot at creating an image of the tank.

Anyways, that’s all for now. Done on my laptop with Photoshop CS4 and bridge. And a mouse.

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Photo Illustration – Distant Horizon

SBibb - Distant Horizon - The Distance Traveled

Finally wrote out the synopsis for book three of the Distant Horizon storyline with Isaac (my husband), and afterwards, it left me wanting to create a picture representive of the ending. So here it is.

This time I didn’t try to make a book cover format, since I wanted more freedom for positioning.

Photoshop CS6 kept trying to shut down on me while I made this, but eventually (finally!) I just merged a bunch of layers and went from there. The authosave function did come in handy, though it was amusing seeing the file have recovered-recovered on it after shutting down the program twice.

Anyways, just some original art for the fun of it. 🙂

Meanwhile, “Ashes” is formatted, and I’m just waiting to hear back from my beta reader before I release it on Smashwords. 🙂

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Soda Pop Shop/Sci-Fi Photoshoot – Katherine

The moment has arrived! I have new photographic illustrations to show off. This was done with Katherine modeling, and she did a great job doing and portraying what I asked. And the dress fit, two. Definitly helpful (especially when I find the dress I want to use, then find the model, afterward). The theme of this one started out with the idea of doing a Soda Pop Shop or sock hop look. Or really, it came from looking at old Coca Cola Ads and wanting to try to emulate those ads.

So I tried that on a couple of pictures. First one… well… it needed work. So I tried it again using a different pose, and I’m hoping that one captured more of the look and feel of the old ads. Also, thanks to my husband’s grandfather to letting us borrow a time period coke bottle to use. And thanks to McDonalds for having those cool Coca Cola glasses. And funny thing is, I’m not even that big of a soda fan. So there’s my note on the usefulness of finding props that aid in the appearance of time. So yeah, there was my fun experiment with commercial advertising.

Meanwhile, I also did a few images meant more in my usual style of sci-fi, dystopia, and fantasy. And reminder to self… don’t watch MirrorMask right before starting on a manip project. Great movie, awesome effects, but totally messes up how I usually do digital manipulations.

If you’re curious to see the images I’ve just mentioned, take a look at the Flickr Slideshow: http://www.flickr.com/photos/sbibb/sets/72157630562937410/show/

Otherwise, enjoy a few samples here. 🙂

SBibb - Soda Pop Shop

SBibb - Hope In Dystopia

SBibb - Across A Thousand Stars

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1000 Words: Name change on Smashwords

So it turns out you can’t have two pen names linked to a single Smashwords account. The result is that I’d either have to create a second account for Stephanie Flint, or change all the covers and copyright info on the previous books. Seeing as how I wanted to keep “SBibb” for the account link, I decided to change the covers.

Overall, it might’ve taken a couple hours. Luckily, most of the covers had layering where I was able to just change my last name with a couple modifications, and Photoshop CS6 (loving the new save function) is helpful with doing some easy adjustments. Afterwards, I adjusted all the front matter and bio info on the stories themselves (again, yay for having everything in nearly one place).

I also added tags to each short story that included “SBibb, Stephanie Bibb, Stephanie Flint” to make it easier to find. Search engine optimization (SEO) is important to having your websites and books and such found, so I also included a note about the name change in the long description. I didn’t put it in the short description since I’d rather reserve that space for info about the story itself.

I also linked the “Where to find this book in print” to the1000 Wordsanthology (print edition) on Amazon. Since I don’t want to change the inner covers of the ebook version on Smashwords, I’m unpublishing it there. Kindle allows me (as far as I understand) to keep the older editions of the book the same, while putting my new name on any new books I publish. Therefore, I decided that will not change.

However, one thing I did try to do was make it easier for people to find my work, whether they look it up under Stephanie Bibb or under Stephanie Flint. I imagine it’ll take a little while for my stuff to show up on search engines under the new name, but this way, it should be linked. Also, when I did the book covers, I was careful to make sure the font didn’t change when I switched out the names. That way the quality of the cover remained the same.

Then I went through and made sure that all the edits were in place, and finally changed my profile name on Smashwords itself. I also uploaded my profile picture, taken by my wonderful husband, Isaac. 🙂

Here’s the response I got from Smashwords about the name change, in case anyone else needs to know it:

You have two options:

1. Open a new account for the new name.  I wouldn’t recommend this because the books won’t be linked either with us or with the retailers.  It’s also a pain to manage two accounts.

2. Here’s a link to the FAQ’s section on changing the author name:

https://www.smashwords.com/about/supportfaq#Updating

Scroll down a bit until you see the section “I’ve decided to change my Pen Name.  How to I change it without de-listing my book at retailers?”

Some additional recommendations:  A.  You should change your profile to the new name, and then update your front matter for all the books so it reads “Copyright New Name 2012” Originally written and published under the maiden name, Old Name

… this will help our vetting team and our retailers understand why the name on the cover doesn’t match the name in the metadata.

B.  Also, update the tags, bio and long description so both names are mentioned.  This will help make all the books more discoverable if someone’s searching on the old or new name.

So hopefully this is helpful. Meantime, I’ll see if everything transferred over smoothly. If it did, then maybe the premium distribution will start working again soon. 🙂

 

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New Book Cover and Promo Materials

It’s my pleasure to announce the latest completed book cover, “30 Days to the End of the World” for Diana Bocco (http://www.dianabocco.com)

SBibb - Kindle Cover - 30 Days

Of course, once the final wrap-around cover is completed, I’ll reveal that and let you know when she expects her book to be available. 🙂

Meantime, I thought I’d mention something about promo materials. I’ve decide to plan on including promo materials in all but the most basic cover packages. This included an 8.5×11 flyer, a signature and avatar for those who want (such as if you’re on an online forum like Absolute Write), a thumbnail image, blog image, bookmark, business card, and post card. It’s up to the author whether they want to use them and how, but the idea is to make it easier for potential readers to remember your book.

Say you’re at a convention. Or maybe a book signing, and someone is debating whether or not to buy the book or doesn’t have money on hand. By providing them with a business card or bookmark, especially something that is a teaser, they’ll have something tangible to look back to if they want to look on Amazon for it later. Granted, everyone uses these differently, but I like for the option to be available for those who do. And with something like a bookmark, you could make a point to sign it. Or make notes on the back of a business card, if there’s something you’d talked about. The possibilities are endless, really.

But these are the promo materials I made for this cover, and I thought I’d share. 🙂

SBibb - 30 Days Postcard SBibb - 30 Days Business Card

SBibb - 30 Days Signature

SBibb - 30 Days Bookmark

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