A cover for Melange Books.
For this one, the author and publisher already had a few of the stock images chosen that they wanted to use for the cover. I took what they had, tweaked the placement, added the title information, tinkered with coloring to give it the spooky graveyard look, then did the retouching.
Since they already had the model chosen, and already had the full-sized stock image, I went ahead and did the major retouches on the proof image. It saved time in the long run, especially since I made that image into a smart object so that I could easily move it around.
The author later found the background he liked, which I retouched and manipulated (removing the lampposts) to fit better with the graveyard in the story. We played with the idea of adding headstones in the background, but they proved to be too distracting on the near-final, so we removed those. Sometimes less is better, especially when you’re trying to design a cover that will catch the eye and not make the potential reader sit there trying to figure out what a particular element is. (Unless you want that particular surreal effect, then go for it).
For the back cover, the author requested we use one of my first proofs for the background, only edited to work as the back.
This is the result:
Stock images from Dreamstime: