Creating the cover of my novel – Part 2

Creating the cover of my novel – Part 2
This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series Making my own book cover

Back on to the creation of the cover. As I said in my previous post, my designer Paul Deuis of Jethryk (http://www.jethryk.com.au) guided me superbly in what I needed to give him. In this post I’ve included excerpts from his emails so that you can see what to expect from a good designer.

So first he gave me an idea of the specifications and why.

I’ve made the artboard 155mm x 240mm at 300dpi which is a fairly standard hardback size. This way I figure if you stick to digital only then it’s easily big enough, but if for whatever reason you decide to do a print version then we’ll be able to use the image as is and just extending the image to the spine and back.”

My first attempt at a picture using DAZ Studio was the following. I’ve marked out all the things that I did not like about it.

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It took me hours and here I was disliking it. I even did not like the yellow texture that I had used to cover the Darkon-suit. However there was some goodness. I loved the setting that I had purchased for it. This was Asian Court 1 by  an artist called Jack Tomalin.  The leaping figure was just a basic Genesis Female (comes with base copy of DAZ Studio) and I had covered her in a home made silver and grey patterned texture.

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Again there were things that did not please me. But some things I liked. I’d found a great texture pack from DAZ and added a clock-like mechanism for the background. I also added a fallen comrade and posed the female figure much more dramatically. This was turning out to be a bit of a homage to the early Pulp magazines.

An email from Paul around this time said:

“Ok cool. Early attempts are generally going to be a bit clunky, and as I’ve found for the most part getting the attention to detail right can take ten times as long as getting the basic shape down. Keep at it but whatever you do don’t rush it, or settle for something you’re not happy with. Better to take an extra week getting it out than stick to the schedule and forever be wishing you’d done better.

Maybe try a couple of scenes or variations as well. As I said when we met up the other week, the first idea is rarely the best. “
So as Paul suggested, I kept on trying.  I should point out that Paul also gave me a heap of other technical advice and commentary regarding his design of the rest of the layout for the cover. It included various options over fonts and so on. I have chosen not to add this to this blog post as I may be infringing his intellectual property. Having said this, damn it was great stuff! He really steered me right.
Here is my third attempt.
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This was still not quite right. I mean, yes it was better. I had purchased a new suit of armour from DAZ called a Nano-suit. The designer was called midnight_stories . But somehow there was not enough story in the picture. I needed more drama. So I did this:
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And that was righteous!
It was a bit tricky though, because I had to do some post-production work. I did not own Photoshop. Paint.NET was good, but not quite good enough. So I downloaded GIMP, a free program that I had not used for a few years. Using both of these products I had split the DAZ Studio render into layers – essentially background and foreground. Then I used some lens flares to insert light seemingly between these layers.
I then sent this to Paul who did some further post-production magic and then inserted it into the rest of his design.
Well, in Part 1 you would have seen the finished cover. Good eh? Brilliant!
Lessons to take away if you want a good cover for low cost and you want to do some of the art yourself:
  1. Even if you want to do your own art work, find a good designer to guide you.
  2. If you are going to pay for a designer, then follow their advice. They are professionals in designing. You are not.
  3. Learn tools such as DAZ Studio, Paint.NET, and Gimp. Even at a basic skill level you can produce something quite stunning.
  4. Plenty of people have written YouTube tutorials in these tools to help people just like you and me.
  5. Expect to fiddle around and try different ideas. My picture took me weeks and despite the frustrations I absolutely loved the finished product.
Series Navigation<< Creating the cover of my novel – Part 1
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