Tag Archives: graphic design

Creation of a Cover

I love mucking around in Photoshop. It’s so relaxing and fun, not like that troublesome ol’ writing lark.

Troublesome Writing Lark

why did I make this

Sometimes this mucking around leads to a cover, sometimes for a book I haven’t even written yet. I often find it to be a good sort of semi-distraction, something to focus on while my subconscious figures out little things and tries to find the shape of the story. Recently I’ve even been sketching out rough ideas before doing any actual fiddling. With the most recent story to occupy my head space, Blood Sisters, I had this grand idea for a dramatically epic cover featuring the protagonist standing over her wounded sister, facing down dozens of murderous bandits in a night forest lit by torches. I even sketched out a rough outline before remembering that I can’t draw. I’ll save you from having to see the offending sketch; instead here’s a portrait of James Townsend (Esquire), Lord Mayor of Olde London Towne:

James Townsend, Mayor of London and Gentlemanly Poisoner


So then, given that my grand, overly-ambitious ideas for a cover were nothing more than idle dreams, I went the other way; simplicity! Striking central image! Colours! Bright colours! Red is a bright colour! Aren’t there some red flowers? I could make it a BLOOD flower!

Blood Sisters Cover 1

Unt I did

Pretty decent first draft cover for a thriller, I feel. Except this book’s a fantasy story. Ho-hum. Still, I really liked the central image and the basic thing of the thing, so once more I fiddled and I faddled and I mucked and I … micked, eventually deciding that a more comic booky style might be more ‘fantasy’.

Blood Sisters Cover 2

Or should I say, Doctor VON Scott?

Here I felt that I was on the right track, but that font … that FONT. (Trajan, incidentally, a good go-to font for mucking around with.) I decided that the best way to say ‘fantasy’ was to make a fantasy-ish logo-title-thing. Looking a bit like a comic book would not, I felt, be a bad thing. And so:

Blood Sisters Preview 3

Just what exactly are you implying?

Now it was starting to feel more like a book I wanted to write. Still, it needed something else, it needed something more, it needed … fiddly bits.

BS Cover 4

So fiddly

At this point I started playing around with different ‘moods’ for the cover:

BS Cover 5

Literally hours of fun

Then I got distracted making a ‘series logo’, as this book would (eventually) (possibly) (hopefully) (if all goes as planned) be part of a larger collection of vaguely related but ultimately stand-alone stories united under the title of “The Song That Ends The World”. So, I made this:

Song That Ends

Bang, zoom! Straight … to the moon

Which, to be perfectly honest, still needs a lot of fiddling to get right and I might change the font and blah blah blibbity blah-blah-blah. It’d do as a placeholder for now in any case, and so:

BS 7


Still a lot of mucking around to do and who knows, I might abandon the whole concept or even go with a completely different title, but that’s the story of this first draft of the cover for Blood Sisters, possibly the first book in the Song That Ends The World series. (Potentially.)

In other writing-related news, since I’m here, Charlotte Powers 4: Rising Power is nearing first draft completion. Miya Black V is also in a state of near-readiness; just a couple of proofs before it’s ready for release. I’d say Rising Power is on track for a late-August release, while Miya Black V could be out before the end of this month, depending on how things go.

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Posted by on July 5, 2012 in Of Writing


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The Possibly Final Cover of Imogen Shroud

I quite like Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face”, but mostly because the graunchy music at the start reminds me of a C64 intro.

Further fiddling and faffing and mucking about has produced a new version of ImoShrou’s cover (old on the left, new on the right):

Lots of tiny little adjustments, like the ‘e’ in ‘White’ wasn’t right, too small and squashed, and the title is a lot more balanced now. Additional layer of texturing made a difference, too, although it’s subtle. I think this is pretty close to what I’ll end up using, although I might make the three ‘layers’ of zombies more distinct, make the back ones darker and the ones in front lighter. The byline is a bit dark, too, it needs to be brighter to contrast properly against the black.

Thinking of series-linkage, I might do a different colour theme for each book–this one is red, obviously.

I also managed to do some editing tonight, almost by accident (“I just tripped over and I rewrote this sentence!”). I found a nasty little insidious error too, the wrong tense on a word–I actually read the sentence three times before I caught it, my instinct was that there was something wrong but I didn’t catch it until the third read. That’s one good thing about editing, the more you do it the better you get, and the sharper your instinct becomes. For Miya Black: Adventure Dawns I think I did about twelve edit/proofing runs before I judged it ready, and even then two errors slipped through (fixed in the e-book, not in the print, which is why I cringe every time one sells) (also because the cover is terrible) (well not TERRIBLE but not as good as the new one) (that’s the problem with getting better at something, everything you did before seems worse in comparison). Now I feel comfortable after doing three edits and two proofs. I know mistakes will slip through, but there’s a point after which the improvement you see isn’t worth the time expended, especially when you have so many other projects to move onto.

Still in a graphic design mood. Maybe I’ll take at look at Resonance, that could use a makeover.

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Posted by on April 5, 2011 in Of Writing


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The Alternate Covers of Imogen Shroud

Seeing as I worked extra-hard to finish the editing run of Miya Black III yesterday, today I’m taking it easy with some nice relaxing cover work. I’m still not completely happy with the Imogen Shroud cover, I think it needs tweaking and fiddling to make it really good, but I think the basic concept is sound. Here’s what I came up with today:

There’s not that much difference between the two, just a texture overlay on the second and some minor colour adjustments. It’s interesting, to me, designing covers for Kindle books–I’m constantly thinking “Yes, but how will it look in a thumbnail?”. Details become less important, it’s the composition, the shapes, the clarity of the title and design elements, you really have to focus on the basics.

I think I have to reposition that ‘of’ a little.

Anyway, I think I’ll put this aside for now and come back to it later with fresh eyes.

The font I used for this cover, by the way, is Grumble, by Blue Vinyl Fonts. I’m also using it for chapter headings throughout the book.


Posted by on April 5, 2011 in Of Writing


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