Saturday, April 27, 2013

Book Covers and Fruit's Skins

Today I’m not going to talk about books.
Well, not about the meat of them, but just skin. You see, books are like fruits: they have a skin, a pulpy meat, and some bone, too. That’s the ways a see them.
We are attracted by the bright color of a mature fruit, its enticing hue suggesting a juicy promise of sweetness to our craving mouths. The same goes for book covers.
A cover artist must strive to catch the reader’s attention amidst a jungle of similar products, and most of all, must be able to give out a sampler of what to expect just beyond the cover conveyed in a single image.
And that ain’t easy.

As an example, look what I did for ‘Enoch’s Devil’, a short, but intense tale from Suzi M.

This is a short story set in the same universe of ‘The Immortal War Trilogy’, a series mixing up mythologies from the Biblical to Classic Horror fiction. In this specific add on, Lovecraft’s Great Cthulhu gets mixed in the bag. Suzi M’s style is out of those angst ridden vampire’s rpgs of the late nineties, so I envisioned the cover like one of those game supplements.

First, I designed a burned papyrus-like background.

Next, I layered the image of a rack of skulls and bones on it. Yet, I didn’t want them to completely catch the observer’s eye, so I faded them a little and gave the whole cover a leathery outlook.

Then, came the central piece, the one I wanted to be the real lure for the reader: Cthulhu. I wanted to cover to look like something out of Lovecraft’s fictional library of forbidden tomes, so I placed a big seal at the center. This seal had to appear like something embosomed on the cover, so I used a tattoo stencil. All I had to do was to use different layering and textured effects to have it look like it was actually coming out of the cover.

At last, I added the title and the author’s name in the same style of the seal, but with a silvery-white hue to have it flash out.
Here’s the final result.

When I do covers I try to keep in contact with the author as much as possible for feedback and suggestions. What I may envision could be completely different from what the writer has in her mind, and since I want my customers to feel satisfied by the final product, I always send samples and different versions of the same cover until a final agreement is reached.

A book cover needs to say it all at a glance. Reader needs to feel motivated and moved to buy a book because of these qualities.
Just like a ripe, juicy fruit does. 

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