Sunday, June 24, 2012

Adventures in Cover Art - Pt. 6


This is the last post on the development of the SHADES OF THE PAST cover and it discusses the creation of the back cover, the spine and the integration of all of the elements into the cover flat (the printed art cardboard cover that gets wrapped around the book).

I used Adobe Photoshop to create the back cover and Serif DrawPlus to create the spine and integrate everything into the cover flat (when we created the A SLIP IN TIME cover, I shifted over to Adobe InDesign to integrate the elements for the cover flat – I’ll talk about that in a future post). Please keep in mind that, when you’re working with a print version, the final cover needs to be at 300 dots per inch resolution. And, it needs to be submitted to Createspace in PDF print-ready format. This results in a 20MB (approximately) cover flat to be uploaded to Createspace.

As usual, Anita had an idea of what she was looking for on the back cover (which was based on the Lords of Midnight cover version). She wanted a banner with the book title across the top, a cameo of the couple, the full Julie Beard quote and the write-up she developed for her website. We decided to use a pale blue background for the back cover, with a dark blue spine separating the front and back covers. The pale blue color was chosen to match the shade of blue of the water on the front cover (as closely as we could get it). The dark blue for the spine and back banners was the same color we used for the banner on the front cover.

The back cover banner was created the same way as the front cover banner (as discussed in my earlier post on text and banners for the front cover). The back cover banner text is unenhanced, pure white Monotype Corsiva. The remainder of the back cover text is in 11.5 point Times New Roman, also unenhanced except for bold and italics as needed for emphasis. This point size was chosen so there would be enough room left at the bottom of the cover for the UPC label, which Createspace would insert.

The cameo – now that was quite a bit of work to produce. We took the third Jimmy Thomas photo that appeared in my last post and removed the background (as we did for the front cover “couple” photo). We then found a circular frame in the Dover collection, removed its background and added a color gradient to it. Lastly, we took a piece of the sky from the front cover background to use as the background for the cameo. By placing the sky layer in the background, the couple layer over that, and ring layer on top, we came up with the cameo.

For the spine, we were inspired by the original Lords of Midnight cover. We knew we wanted an imprint at the top, the author name next, a smaller cameo, then the book title. We chose a feather pen with flourish for the imprint, removed the background and reversed the image colors. We created a small cameo using a part of the front cover (the couple) in an oval cutout. And we used unenhanced Monotype Corsiva for the author name and title. For your information, the spine width depends upon the page count. There’s a formula to calculate it. Once you know the width you need, based on the page count, you can allocate the right amount of space for the spine. Here’s the resulting cover flat (without the bleed):

So, we submitted the cover and interior. We went through the review process and ordered a proof copy of the book. It came rather quickly, but it had some surprises for us. As I mentioned in the last post, the proof came out with a MUCH darker cover. We also discovered later that, when we ordered multiple books at the same time, the cover placement appeared to drift, such that spine placement varied somewhat. So, I lightened up the front cover and widened the spine, taking away width from the front and back covers. This resulted in a narrow dark blue stripe down the right side of the back cover and one down the left side of the front cover, which Anita found acceptable. Here’s the final cover flat (with the bleed, an additional 1/8” around all sides):

This post concludes the “Adventures in Cover Art” blog series for the SHADES OF THE PAST cover. I have a few more experiences to share in the development of the VENECIA’S EARTHLING, A SLIP IN TIME and HIS FAIR LADY covers. There will probably be one or two posts on each, dealing with the particular challenges encountered on each cover, not a longer complete series on all of the aspects as we’ve done for the SHADES OF THE PAST cover development. E-mail Anita if you have any questions on cover development. Her e-mail address is:

Late addition: the next cover art post will be on Castles, kilts and moonlit nights - A SLIP IN TIME, which will be released next week. Please check back on Monday, July 2nd.

1 comment:

  1. Well this was indeed an adventure ... looking forward to reading your next post and of course A Slip in Time new release !