Monday, June 14, 2010
I HAVE A COVER!
At last! My cover for LADY WICKED! The wonderful artist is Tina Lynn, who I was so pleased allowed me a lot of input into the design, even to picking the background and cover hero and heroine. This can never be perfect, of course, especially for historicals, because artists these days are limited to what royalty-free photos they can purchase and alter to fit. Adding costume details is something very few artists are willing or able to do, which is probably why you see so many semi-nude people on ebook historical covers. And the lipstick? Sorry, no self-respecting model these days would be willing to be photographed without it. I've painted out eye shadow before, but lipstick is just a nightmare to even try.
I don't have a pub date yet but that will be coming soon, and I hope will be before the end of the year.
So did you ever wonder what goes into a cover design? Well, I'll show you a few of the elements. I don't happen to have purchased but one of these in this photo, though, so I'll show you a different couple, who we couldn't use for other contractual reasons (but the photo is royalty-free and paid for, so don't worry).
In this cover design, the man and woman came from different photos, and had to be matched together, the woman flipped horizontally so they both were lit from the same side. She had on a very modern gorgeous red low cut strapless, which of course had to go. His lighting was much too bright for hers, so he had to be darkened. And shadows had to be added all around. Her photo was much like this one of the couple, so dark it was hard to tell her hair from the background. Of course, all that background in the portrait photos had to be removed, carefully so the poor heroine's hair didn't go with it.
I had fallen in love with this stone staircase a long time before, even though it is probably from a cathedral on the European Continent. I love the light, airy look, the subtle colors. But that wouldn't work for a dark medieval hall. You would never find such intricate and elegant stonework in the fairly simple, pragmatic medieval hall in my book- I know that. But by hiding a lot of the architectural detail but keeping the curved stairs leading to that mysterious door, it incorporates the same spirit as the bell tower in my story. In darkening, it lost the subtle coloring I love, so we added this radial gradient color glaze. It's not opaque, as it is here, and can be faded out, erased in places, or extra darkening shadows in others as needed. Tina is more conservative than I am-- I am just plain flagrant when it comes to color. She kept just the hint of color.
The fonts make up an entirely new layer. I don't have Tina's work on this, but I'm showing you a sample in a similar font with a simpler but similar effect. She and I don't have the same font adjusting software. I put it against a mottled green background so you can see how the shadowing gives it dimension.
So when you finally have all these elements just the way you want them, the layers are all merged into one design. You always keep a copy of the separate layers, though, because chances are excellent that when it's all assembled, suddenly something will pop out at you and say, "Lookee here! Glaring ERROR!" No, I don't think I ever did any cover that I didn't have to back up and fix something.
So, you just thought covers were just painted? Not anymore! These are just the basics. There are eyes to be painted green, sometimes hair to be changed. There could be a sword to add, perhaps a swath of tartan- but not this time. Making a book cover is an intriguing art.