Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Designing a Demonic Book Cover

Okay, so the book cover isn’t exactly demonic. But the guy on the cover? That’s Drake, and he’s a demon. Drake enjoys reading Alexandre Dumas, making sarcastic comments, and being an absolute PAIN to photoshop.

I should probably explain: The cover for FROST FIRE was the first thing I designed using a professional version of Adobe Photoshop (CS5). Before, I’d only used GIMP and Adobe Elements, which isn’t even made for digital art. So when I started designing FROST FIRE’s cover, I was in way over my head.

Basically, I designed the cover using very little knowledge, lots of guessing, and a ton of luck. Also, I used the stock photos and brushes graciously provided (with permission, of course) by the wonderful members of deviantART. All the stock credits for the cover can be found here: http://olivia212.deviantart.com/art/Cover-330678214

Anyway, I thought I’d give a little glimpse of what it took to design the final version of my cover. Here is a step-by-step guide to creating the cover, with corresponding pics.

Before Starting:  Prepare all stock photos. Crop them, resize, remove blemishes, ect. (Believe it or not, Drake’s original stock pic had a beard. Yes, a beard. I had to completely repaint his face to get rid of it.)

1. Start with background.

2. A couple blend modes later, and the mood darkens…

3. Add in model (who, in this lighting, now appears to have a horrific sunburn).

4. Remove sunburn, make his hair black.

5. WINGS! (The wings were originally facing forward. I had to warp them to get them to look sideways-ish.)

6. Add another smaller set of transparent wings and smoke. Because smoke just makes everything cooler.

7. Final touches, fonts, and…


This tutorial is, quite obviously, on "Easy Mode". It actually took me about 30 hours to complete this project. In the end, I had used dozens of filters and blend modes, about 35 layers, and a lot of digital "painting" using my Wacom tablet.

What are your thoughts on the cover for FROST FIRE? Have you ever tried designing a book cover?


Ariel Avalon said...

This cover is gorgeous. I wonder if I can get this good by the time my first novel is finished and ready for publishing. I want something this beautiful. You should be incredibly proud of yourself. I am just, stunned by this cover. I don't think I have seen a more attractive one in quite some time.

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