I wanted to post this last night, but I ended up working later than I planned and decided it could wait until today. What was I working on, you ask? Why, Poor Percival book covers of course!
So I basically spent my entire weekend scouring the internets for public domain fonts and images to use, dodging pictures of cats left and right as I went. No cats, you can’t haz a cheeseburger.
I quickly discovered the first predicament, which was whether it’s better to find a font for the book title first, and then find images that match the same theme, or vice versa. Having now gone through the process, I can honestly say I still do not know which is the best route to take. I wound up finding the font I wanted first, just because after spending hours looking (unsuccessfully) for the right image to use, I felt like I was going to lose my marbles if I didn’t start looking for something else instead.
Actually, I narrowed it down to a few fonts. So then it was a matter of seeing how my book title appeared with them, and if I still felt like they conveyed the theme of the book. Also, I made sure to change the font color to what I thought I might be using, just to make sure they didn’t look good only in black. I was able to eliminate a few different fonts, and ended up with my finalists:
Then it was back to clicking through endless pages of vector art and royalty free images. The vector art is by far the way to go if you are using a program like Photoshop, which I am. That’s because most of them do not have a background behind the image, so you can select the image, drag it onto your cover and it won’t have its own background behind it. For example, if your cover is all black and you have a picture of a doughnut that you want to put on top of it, by having a vector art doughnut image to use, you will see the black cover background through the hole of the doughnut rather than the doughnut hole being filled in by whatever the background was on the image it came from. Sadly, not all vector images are that way though 🙁
Of course, depending on the type of book you wrote, you might be able to find a public domain image that already fits the theme of your book without any editing required. That’s basically like taking a photograph someone else took and making it your cover without changing a thing. Unfortunately that wasn’t really an option for me.
The biggest lesson that I learned was to not discount an image just because the entire thing did not work for what I needed. That’s the mistake I was making all day Saturday. And this is the cover that it produced:
I don’t care for that one at all. The feather is a prominent part of the Percival stories as Percival is told he must retrieve the feather of a white eagle in order to grow up. So I knew I wanted a feather as part of the cover. Then I found some trees that I duplicated and transformed several times over to put together into a sort of woods at the bottom of the cover. While it was a valiant first effort, it ultimately did not strike me as a “Poor Percival” cover. If anything, it has more of a Jurassic Park feel to it. So I went to bed Saturday night sad and discouraged.
Then Sunday came and I decided to scrap the first cover and start over entirely. That’s when I downloaded at least a million different pieces of vector art and backgrounds and began dissecting them into the bare essentials that I could combine into one cover piece. That’s when things started to click. Pull a sun from here, cut out a snake from there, take a witch from that one, and presto! a final cover image started to form in my head.
The best part about doing it in pieces like a collage is that I now have total control over every single element in the cover to move, rotate, scale, color, delete, and whatever else I want to in order to tweak the image based on feedback.
Here is the cover that method produced, along with some variations to choose from:
What do you think? Which cover do you like best? Are there any elements that should be tweaked? Looking at them now, I think i want to move the center image down a bit so it’s more evenly spaced between the title text and my name. See, you guys are helping already! 🙂
I’m open to any and all suggestions, and my feelings won’t be hurt. I promise.
Now, after a long weekend of work, I think I’ve earned a well-deserved video game night. Look out Gotham, Batman is coming!