Cover Art: Creating a Cohesive Look
|City Magic - 2213058|
Today, I thought I'd share some of my new premade covers and talk a bit about cover art, and art in general. I have a ton of fun with premades because I basically get to just make art and then work it into a cover. While I love making covers for specific stories, it's more challenging because I have a set of parameters within which I have to work. I also often have ideas outside of those specific contexts, and my premades let me play with those.
Premades, like this one here--*points to the left*--let me try new things without worrying that I'm going to ruin someone's cover. I love trying out new techniques for creating additions like magic, and working out new blending techniques, layering styles, and generally playing with images to figure out how I can manipulate them better and how I can blend in original digital art bits so that they look natural and original to the picture. Take City Magic as an example. The magic is, of course, added in, but so is the city in the background. All three of these elements need to work together and when you cut someone out of picture, you have to blend it into the new background, and take in account new light sources, like the magic here. Even small details can make a picture look slapped together. Light and shadows are a huge part of any image and working out how to combine two (or more) images means learning how to choose images that will work together, and then knowing how to blend the shadows and light between the two to give them the look of a single piece.
|London Nights - 2213061|
Even after an image is finished, there are a number of things I can do with a cover to give it a more polished look. Applying effects, textures and styles even after everything is blended brings all the elements together into the same basic style. Some are softer than others, some more hard edged. Creating that feeling comes through working with textures, filters and overall coloration. There are some tricks of the trade, of course, different ways to get a matte look or a shinier, more defined finish.
|Dragon Shadow - 2213060|
Once you've got a cohesive image, you have to focus on the typography. The way the text looks is as important as the image itself. Bad typography can ruin an otherwise lovely cover, because it just doesn't blend with the overall look and feel. Fonts have personalities and feels just as much as any other element (color, texture, finish, etc.) and if the font you choose doesn't look like it belongs with the image, the results can be jarring and unprofessional. You're unlikely to use the same font on a romance as you would on a horror novel (although, it has been known to happen!). I generally prefer clean fonts, rather than the more gimicky ones. While those absolutely do have their place and may be exactly what a given book calls for, the more basic fonts look professional and can be like neutrals in fashion, they go with a wider range of feels. They let me modify the fonts in the way that I want them modified, so they're more flexible and that's important with a premade cover.
|Cowboy - 2213059|
For instance, on the Cowboy over there I used a nice bold, straight-lined font, both because I think it fits the mood of the piece and because it offers me a wide range of possibilities for modification. I can overlay an image on it to give it texture or to suit the setting of the book. I can use a diagonal gradients to make it pop and stand out more from the background, or I can use a mask and a brush to give it a more eroded appearance. There's enough font there to work with, so that I can modify it to fit more with the feel of whatever book it eventually goes to.
So, creating a cohesive look is about either knowing what you want from the end result, or being willing to play around with an image until you get it right. The different elements of a cover should all come together, even if the intent is for them to work against each other (to create tension or drama). Every element from the color to the texture to the typography should be chosen because it serves a purpose for that particular work.
Well, I hope this helps a little! And remember, all premades are on sale until March 1st! (Don't worry, it's almost over and I'll stop talking about it soon! *G*)