Creating the Cover for "Finding Love's Wings" by Zoey Derrick
Tools used: PS CS5, Wacom Intuos 4 Tablet and Pen, stock photos, and a few gallons of caffeine
Stock Photos used: Seven
Fonts Used: Two + painted elements
Layers: 52 active layers
Approximate time to completion: Sixteen hours
A few months ago, I was contacted by an indie author--the wonderful Zoey Derrick--about creating a cover for her novel "Finding Love's Wings". I immediately jumped on the opportunity, not only because Zoey seemed like a wonderful author, but because her book synopsis intrigued me. In this short tutorial, I'd like to give a glimpse of what went into creating the cover for this amazing author.
1. This is my workstation in PS CS5. All those little buttons do different things, and it’s an absolute pain to memorize them all (plus the 100+ options in the dropdown menus).
2. This is the original stock photo. As soon as Zoey told me what she wanted for the cover, I immediately thought of this photo. I’d been anxious to use it, but I hadn’t quite found the perfect project for it. Zoey fixed that dilemma for me, and this pic became the base for the cover.
In this step, I smoothed the skin of the model, cropped it to the right size, and took out a few blemishes.
3. The next step was to add some makeup to her face. Eyeliner, lipstick, blush, and mascara. All this is painted on using my handy-dandy tablet. I used “Color”, “Hue”, “Saturation”, “Overlay”, and “Soft Light” blend modes for this part.
4. In this step, I started to add the wings, using a “Screen” blend mode. As you can see, right now they just look stuck on. I’ll fix that in the next few steps.
5. This is the second layer of the wings, also using a “Screen” blending mode. That little dark splotch on her shoulder is the beginning of the dimension I’ll paint onto the model, to make the wings look realistically placed.
6. In Zoey’s book, her MC has a tattoo that transforms into wings. Awesome, right? Naturally, I had to add some sort of tattoo to the model. I chose this one, which reminded me
of wings, and melded it into the actual wings.
7. In this step, I added some more dimension to the wings, added a new layer of wings, and also placed a “Hue” layer over the tattoo. It looks too blue at this point, but that will be fixed in later steps. Also, as you can see, the bottom wing looks waaay too bright. There’s actually a reason for this…
8. And now for some more dimension to the wing. The wings are the part that took the longest.
9. Zoey’s MC has brown hair with purple streaks. In this step, I used multiple “Color”, “Hue”, and “Soft Light” blend modes to create this effect on the model.
11. In this step, I added a blurred “Soft Light” layer at a low opacity. This gives the cover a softer, yet more colorful, appearance.
And this is the final product…
You can find Zoey's debut novel, "Finding Love's Wings" at the Amazon store. Please note it is an adult novel, intended for ages 18+.