Thursday, November 17, 2011

Designer Spotlight kudos for my book jacket

BUY book here

Woke up to some amazing news. I've been awarded 5 free credits to spend on photos and a new icon to go beside my silver canister on istock. My jacket design for 'Song at Dawn'  has made it to istock's Design Spotlight as the design of the week for other artists to view, rate and comment. That part is a bit scary but my shoulders are broad enough and I can certainly learn from constructive criticism. I love designing book jackets and this one was a real labour of love.

To make the design, I bought 6 images from istockphoto and used 1 of my own. The separate images and photographers can be seen on the Design Spotlight. Many thanks to
 for their superb images.

I cropped, isolated and combined the images, each one in a different layer in Photoshop. The key moment in composition was when I flipped the girl and all of a sudden, it all worked. I loved the magnetic gaze of the Tuareg from the moment I saw the photo and I can see the characters in my novel coming alive on this jacket, giving the combination of romance, adventure and medieval ambience that I was after. It's amazing how many photos of people in medieval costume just look like photos of people posing in medieval costume but the people I chose all seemed to me to have real presence. I realise that the Tuareg was not intended as a medieval persona but such traditional costume is timeless. My problem with the Tuareg was that the top of his head was cropped and I had to reconstruct his headgear. I also had to take the warrior tattoos off the knight's face - too Celtic for my place and period.

The last touch on the artwork was to change the colour completely from the original images - the cameo of the guard was in blue, the girl was in blue. Colorizing not only gave the ambience I wanted, it also integrated the different elements to make them part of the same story.

I used lulu's cover wizard to upload front and back covers, omitting the spine, sized from a previous book jacket of the same size. This left the spine as plain colour. The ISBN was automatically added to the back cover and I then downloaded the correctly sized pdf of the full jacket and, using masks and layers with my original design, I revealed the spine area and adapted its size a tad to make a homogeneous design. I then uploaded this to lulu as an advanced all-in-one design.

lulu does give exact measurements to create an all-in-one design but I was concerned about the exact requirement for the size of the ISBN. Working in this manner I was guaranteed the correct size of cover and ISBN.

First draft of the design, from the free comps you can download from istock, before I chose a different girl, flipped her round and changed all the colours


  1. This is the kind of cover that would compel me to pick up the book and check it out. Good selection of elements for the theme, and the colorization ties it all together well. Nice!