Tag Archives: mystery novel

Behind the Scenes – M.O.B. (Mean Old Bastard)

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:

SBibb - MOB_Cover_Blog

MOB - Wraparound Book Cover

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.

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Filed under Book Covers, Photo Illustration

Behind the Scenes – Bluffing Is Murder

This is a cover for Barking Rain Press.

For this one, the publisher wanted to keep the style used on the previous cover in this series. So we stuck to the same cover model, though we did use different pictures of the same model to create this image, since she looked a bit too happy for this cover in most of her summery images. Though I didn’t use the same font, I tried to keep it close. Other than that, I worked to blend the various elements of the cover to create the scene for this mystery novel.

SBibb - Bluffing Is Murder - Book Cover

Stock images from Shutterstock:


All other images (textures) are my own.

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Behind the Scenes – Red Sun Over Panama

This is a cover for Melange Books.

The novel is an espionage/mystery novel with a historical setting, and based on the art form, I pictured a setting or rising sun over the ocean with the WWII Japanese flag behind it. I had a few questions based on what I’d read on the form, though, so I sent an email to the author before creating anything to clarify a few points in the story. I’d thought about having some sort of era based aircraft in the background, but I wasn’t sure what would be appropriate to the story. Turns out there weren’t any references strong enough to warrant having it on the cover. However, in corresponding with the author, he mentioned an idea for the cover that sounded very similar to what I had in mind. So I went ahead and created a proof based on a combination of both those ideas, and in the end, this is the result.

SBibb - Red Sun Over Panama - Book Cover

In the case of the flag, I used the stock image for the basis, then extended the suns rays so that they would bleed off the edge of the cover. Another thing I found that may be useful to keep in mind is that deep reds don’t seem to want to translate well from sRGB to CMYK for the print version. As a result, I found that curves adjustments and color balance adjustments can be rather useful in trying to match the CMYK print version of the cover to the RGB ebook version.

Stock images from Dreamstime:




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Filed under Book Covers, Client Work, Photo Illustration