|My amateurish cover screams "self-published"|
Although working a 40-hr a week job doesn't leave much time in my life for crafting or writing, I have learned a lot about design and publishing, namely the importance of having a professional on the job. However, at $85/hr, I can't really afford to hire a pro to do my book cover. I think my first royalty check from Amazon was a whopping $8, so maybe I could afford about 6 minutes of design time. That's about enough for a designer to turn on their computer and open up Photoshop and InDesign. So, like the do-it-yourselfer that I am, I jumped in and designed my own cover, quickly, with 3 kids jumping on me. Needless to say, the cover of "Love and the Placebo Effect" leaves much to be desired.
So last weekend I got the brilliant idea that I could redo my book cover: take a few more hours, come up with a concept and execute it brilliantly. Easy peasy.
|Step 1: Whip out my art supplies. I love my Prismacolor pencils, but it's been|
a while since I did any real drawing with them.
Not sure if I've mentioned it before, but I do have an art degree. However, it is not in graphic design -- I majored in sculpture, which incorporates a whole different skill set. My one graphic design class (typography) is no substitute for years of training, an internship, and a design job. Still, I'm not entirely without skill, so I decided I'd take a stab at it and see what I could come up with. I started by sketching out a concept for the cover image. If you've read the book, you probably recognize this as Jane's "Eve".
|Jane painted "Eve" with oils, I merely sketched with|
Prismacolors. I reserve the right to take artistic license.
|And here's "Eve" on the book cover.|
So attempt number 2 left me with a book cover that was more interesting than number one, but it still doesn't quite look professional. Real romance novels have nicer artwork. They also have things like "New York Times Bestselling Author of..." across the top, but I really can't claim that honor. I don't have any nice blurbs from well-known authors either, just my title and name. It still doesn't look quite right. My thinking at this point was that if I had better artwork it might make the whole thing look better. That led me to the next idea: I'd use a model to make it look more realistic.
|Lacking money to hire a model, I used what I had on hand:|
me. And with no snake around, well I had to improvise
on that point as well.
So I played model, make-up artist, and photographer and captured this image. My face isn't exactly the face of "Eve" as I imagined it, but, well... I used what I had available.
|Since I own the above image, I decided to take a short cut:|
I printed the picture on drawing paper so that I wouldn't have
to take time sketching and I'd already have a base color
to layer over.
|But, of course, my printer is out of yellow ink, and possibly|
cyan as well. So here we have "Eve" in good ol' magenta.
Even though my printed picture wasn't exactly what I had in mind, since I wanted a warm/passionate image (and since it very nearly matches the pink in book cover number 1) I decided a magenta base was okay. I Googled "coiled green snake" to get a few snake images to work from and got to work with my Prismas once more. A few hours later, voila:
|I didn't quite get the snake's eyes right, and it doesn't|
quite look as real as the face, but I still think it's better
than the first sketch.
Since I am not a real designer, I don't have Photoshop or InDesign, the two most common design programs used these days, so I put this picture in my trusty Photoscape (which I discovered makes all images 120 dpi; no big deal for the web, but a problem when printing. But, I digress...). Because the image was so big, and I was using my old, slow computer, it took a long time and I had a lot of difficulty manipulating the image in Photoscape. I finally gave up with when I got to what you see below, basically the same as book cover 2 with the updated image. Not really great.
|I think the colors are better here, but there's too much|
blank pink space. Maybe I'm picky, but I'm still not
So this is where I am, I have a decent image but still an amateurish product overall. Still, I think if I give it another shot I might get somewhere. And maybe a few tweaks to the drawing will make a big improvement. It's a multi-media piece already, no reason I can't paint some better snake eyes over the color pencil. The possibilities are endless ;)
Want more info on my book? Check out my Chloe Craft website HERE.
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