Monday, May 20, 2013

Designing a Book Cover-- "Finding Love's Wings"

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.

Step One

    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). 

Step Two

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. 

Step Three
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. 

Step Four

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. 

Step Five

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. 
Step Six

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.

Step Seven

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…
Step Eight
8. And now for some more dimension to the wing. The wings are the part that took the longest. 
Step Nine
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. 

Step Ten
10. Remember how I said there’s a reason the bottom wing is so bright? This is why. In this step, I did a white “Overlay” blend mode on the top half of the picture; this brightens the cover. For the bottom half, I used several different blend modes to achieve a darkening effect. This is where the text will go. 
Step Eleven

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.  
Step Twelve

12. Now that everything is in place, I added the text. Some of the text is actually painted, which I like to do, to make sure the chosen font stands out from other covers.

Step Thirteen 
13. This is the last step: I added some finishing touches, and really worked on the shoulder-blade, to make the wing look natural.

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+. 
Zoey's Website
Zoey's Facebook
Zoey's Goodreads
Zoey's Twitter


John Hansen said...

Great post! And holy crap, that cover is fantastic.

Olivia Rivers said...

Thanks so much! I had a bunch of fun creating it. Zoey was such an easy and awesome author to work with! :)

Zoey Derrick said...

My Dear Olivia,
This is so AWESOME! I love seeing how you pulled this cover together. I have received so many compliments on it since its release and I was so honored to have such a fabulous cover on my novel that to this day it still sends chills up my spine to look at it.
You were such a joy to work with and you were practically reading my mind when I saw this cover the first time.
So, if you're up to the task, I have two more for you and will be emailing you soon!
Thank you for sharing this and for all your hard work!

Olivia Rivers said...

Zoey, I'm the one who should be thanking you! I had such a great time working with you, and it was an absolute honor to create this cover for your marvelous debut. :)

I look forward to hearing from you!


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