Greybeard's Cover Thread

Discussion in 'User Created Art' started by Greybeard, May 3, 2013.

  1. Greybeard

    Greybeard Geezer

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    Possible book cover. Feedback, please.

    This cover is still a WIP. In the final version, the bottom frame would be in relief the same as the top frame, and the watermark would be gone from the image. The image would also be larger and have better detail, although I don't think I had to stretch this one much.

    Have a look at the thumbnail, too, please.
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2013
  2. Overread

    Overread Wolfing it up! Staff Member

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    I will admit that I am not the biggest fan of photographs as book covers for fantasy novels, especially when the photograph "looks" like a photograph. That is a personal feeling rather than anything write or wrong as such.

    That said my other feelings are:

    1) There is nothing "special" about the photo itself. It's a neat angle and there is some leading line into the shot, but the lighting itself speaks more of flat, dull and rather bland lighting. It's just not really going to excite or grab the viewers attention.

    2) The cover design itself looks more "school/uni essy" style in presentation. Functional, but not creative or eye catching. The type of thing one could find on a textbook, but not a novel where you really want to have that little air of creativity and flourish that makes it look that little bit more interesting/special.
    Also the "A tale of..." part with its black and white writing style is not clear to read (at least to my eyes). A different font with a clearer script and visual style would be far better.


    I know that that isn't the most positive sounding assessment, but its the feelings that the cover gives me as it stands right now. I don't know if you've designed this yourself or gone through a designer or firm, but my feeling (based on the style and on your wording) is the former. I'd encourage you to consider the investment in a proper designer for the cover (or heck even ask some of our resident artists for some input - I think Alpha Alex works in visual design and several others clearly have some experience with layouts and presentation as well as artistic representation). I think that whilst it will likely cost its a cost worth the investment to get a cover that really stands out.
     
  3. Druid of Lûhn

    Druid of Lûhn The Little Lamb.

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    I also have the same feelings as OR. The blue and white of the photo reminds me of a nice winter scene, but does it tell me anything about the story?
    The contrast between the black text and the grey background is not strong enough and I think that of the relief and non-relief, the latter actually looks better.

    This is what I see and think, although I know from experience that designing in that way is extremely hard and takes a lot of practice. A painting or plain-colour image might be better over the picture.
     
  4. Greybeard

    Greybeard Geezer

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    I agree about the use of photographs for fantasy covers, but having an image painted or a cover designed are beyond my financial means right now. I need to get something up on a tiny budget, which means I have to learn to do it myself as much as possible. I'd certainly appreciate any input from Alpha Alex, or anyone else in the visual arts. I was thinking of the frame as a branding device. I'll try with a different picture and see if that helps.
     
  5. Greybeard

    Greybeard Geezer

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    Does a different photo help within the frame?
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2013
  6. Crouton

    Crouton New Member

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    I think you need to get rid of whatever that silvery/greyish texture is at the top and the bottom. Even a solid colour would be better.
     
  7. Moo Guru

    Moo Guru New Member

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    I liked both the monks, but the grey doesn't work for me. What app are you using to make them? Most have free textures / backgrounds you can download via everyone's friend Google.
     
  8. Greybeard

    Greybeard Geezer

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    I'm using Paint.NET, which is a free program. I've done enough fiddling with the program that I'm comfortable with it. Right now I'm playing and hoping that I learn something and stumble across something that works.

    Suggestions for colour schemes?

    View attachment 8907
    View attachment 8908
     
  9. Moo Guru

    Moo Guru New Member

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    The red is the better of the two in my opinion, but it still looks a bit textbooky ... maybe its because the areas are so clearly defined in 3 horizontal sections? I like paint.net myself, but you start with a totally blank canvas. Most of the word processing (word does for sure) and desk top publishing progs (publisher e.g.) have templates that may give you ideas. The book's cover is what initially grabs the potential reader, so its vital for it to engage with its audience.
     
  10. S.J. Faerlind

    S.J. Faerlind Flashlight Shadowhunter

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    Try complementary colours for the background and wording (ones that are opposite each other on the colour wheel: like purple and yellow for example) for better contrast between your text and background and see what that looks like. Also maybe try a scroll instead of a rectangular block as background for the lettering (or a torn paper image?) I like the monk pics better than the photo of the abbey too. Since fire is in the title maybe try to stick with warm colours in the image too?
    Where's Eph?
    I sent him an image of the cover I did for my next book release and he had some great feedback. We need Eph here!
     
  11. Sparrow

    Sparrow Well-Known Member

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    First rule for doing fantasy and science fiction covers... don't use photographs.:)

    I think you should use a background texture for the top and bottom that has more life to it, something like this... View attachment 8909

    In fact if you want to use this you can... and just place a renaissance style portrait of a monk in the frame? I think it would make the cover a bit more intimate.
     
  12. Greybeard

    Greybeard Geezer

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    I tend to agree on the photographs, but I have limited options, and I should be able to make the photographs work, at least until I can afford to buy covers.

    Thanks for the offer, and I like the lizard skin, but that pic doesn't convey the atmosphere I'm looking for.

    Part of the problem is that I want to get a lot of things up quickly. Partly that's to combat my own psychological issues, partly it's because quantity improves visibility. I'd like to get at least ten titles up by the end of the month. That means SJ is about to get both The Healer and The Fire of St. Denian's dumped on her pretty soon.

    I'll look into other textures, though.
     
  13. Druid of Lûhn

    Druid of Lûhn The Little Lamb.

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    I liked the top of the one with the white text on black and think that if you had a series, the branding definitely works. The monk pictures also work well.

    As to the font on the bottom, I really don't think it works that well: tall and narrow.

    This a style that would work with a photo (I know it isn't one, but the book before it is a photo with the same cover design): [​IMG]
    If you want to find good colour schemes, have a look on kuler.adobe.com
    And if you want a good, free photoshop-like program, have a look at GIMP (takes a while to get used to, but loads of people at school have started using it)
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2013
  14. Greybeard

    Greybeard Geezer

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    Last edited: May 4, 2013
  15. Greybeard

    Greybeard Geezer

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    Sorry, Druid, we cross posted.

    I'll try other fonts for the name. Would the title font work there as well?

    I'll keep trying.
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2013
  16. PerFolmer

    PerFolmer Citizen of Urth.

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    I liked the one that was black top and bottom with the castle picture.
    Sure can be hard to find that photograph that works out with the book and story.
    I bet you'll manage :)
     
  17. Greybeard

    Greybeard Geezer

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    Possible name fonts

    View attachment 8914

    Delicious..........................Old Sans Black
    Knight's Quest.................Cabin
    Dominican Small Caps.......Tondu

    I've used Dominican for the titles.

    I was avoiding sans serif fonts for fantasy, although I'd happily use them for science fiction.

    Of the sans serif fonts, I like Delicious best, followed by Cabin. But if Druid is the only person who doesn't like Optimus Princeps, I'll stick with it and see if I can do something else to make it bolder.
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2013
  18. Moo Guru

    Moo Guru New Member

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    The all over colour looks better to me, so both of the covers were vastly improved in the last examples. I'd agree with Druid though, the bottom font looks wrong. I do like the Dominican SC, but not sure for whole cover. I quite like the Knight's Quest too. Hmmm, bet you thought this was going to be the easy part of the book, eh? :p
     
  19. Greybeard

    Greybeard Geezer

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    Not for a second. I've been writing since I was thirteen, off and on. Nothing's easier than that. I used to drive teachers nuts in high school. They'd give us two weeks for a fifteen-hundred-word essay and want to see a first draft by the end of week one. I'd still be researching Thursday afternoon of week two, then I'd settle down to write around 7 pm, bang out 1500 words in two hours, rewrite the conclusion as an introduction, write a new conclusion, proof it once and be done by 10. Doing it that way I was consistently in the high 90s in History and got several 100s in English. Teachers who learned to trust me had a much easier time of it.

    I wouldn't use Dominican SC for the whole cover, but perhaps Dominican or Dominican Italic for the title and Dominican SC for the name. Let's see what it looks like.
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2013
  20. Druid of Lûhn

    Druid of Lûhn The Little Lamb.

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    Those two more recent ones are definitely better.
    I think that a sans-serif font for the author might work well, as it might clash with the title if they're the same font.
    Choosing fonts is always a really difficult thing. I've fallen in love with "Kefa" but that is more for more textbook-/newspaper-type titles.
    The Dominican SC font is beautiful, I have to agree.

    Here is something I came up with just making a variation on the black bands design:
    http://i1124.photobucket.com/albums/l565/Druid_of_Luhn/Fireblack1.jpg

    Here is the second variation, in which I prefer the placement of text (didn't add the A4E here, as I don't know what it stands for).
    http://i1124.photobucket.com/albums/l565/Druid_of_Luhn/Firered1.jpg
    I used Cabin Bold for the bottom text.

    I spent loads of time designing the covers of my research projects (sort of mini-thesis); it's much harder than writing the text.
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2013