1. Welcome to the Fantasy Writing Forums. Register Now to join us.

Another Cover Just for Fun

Discussion in 'Cover Design' started by Trick, Dec 12, 2016.

  1. Trick

    Trick Auror

    1,258
    344
    83
    As I work on improving my writing and finishing my WIP I am trying to teach myself about cover design. I've always dabbled (at best) in art and digital art but cover design is a different animal. My first attempt was a disaster. My second one went through several iterations and reached 'acceptable' I think. I like this new one a lot. It was inspired by a piece of art that I saw. Thoughts and opinions are welcome. This is not exactly going onto the book no matter what. It's just an experiment and a learning experience.

    [​IMG]
     
    FifthView, Devor and Heliotrope like this.
  2. Heliotrope

    Heliotrope Staff Article Team

    2,673
    1,939
    163
    Trick this is fantastic!
     
    Trick likes this.
  3. Trick

    Trick Auror

    1,258
    344
    83
    Glad you like it!

    Since this is a learning experience for me, does this entice you to read the book? What does it tell you about the book?

    One mistake I've made in the past is to put too much on the cover and try to give the reader a very broad picture of the world. The direction I've gone now is to just give a taste. However, with just a taste, it becomes very important which taste is given.
     
  4. Heliotrope

    Heliotrope Staff Article Team

    2,673
    1,939
    163
    I love that you left it black and white with the tiny bit of red. This screams "high quality" to me. Covers that are in color and are illustrations of faces or castles etc. seem to me to be more commercial, where this cover says something different. It says independent, artistic, literary.

    I know this isn't your cover, but the title hooks me. So many questions raised, What is a darkling sun, and what is the mark of a thief? I want to open the cover and find out.

    The way the forest and the mountains and the city are all twisted into each other, with the city upside down, also speaks to my curiosity. I want to know what that symbolizes and how it relates to the book itself. Again, wanting to read the first page to find out.

    All in all it just really grabs me. It piques my curiosity. You have hooked me before I have even read a word.
     
  5. Nimue

    Nimue Auror

    1,596
    1,015
    163
    I think this is very interesting as a concept or mock-up...there's a few issues that I might look at before going forward with it, though.

    - The use of the same font at different scalings. You can tell that the author text was stretched wider than the title. In general, try to avoid unfixed-ratio scaling of text, and use a wider or thinner font as necessary. Also, using such a messy/complicated font for all three texts doesn't really work--subtitle and author should be in a simpler, cleaner font.

    - The image is cool, but suffering from a big difference in line weight/detail from top to bottom that makes it look pasted-together. I'd suggest using stock of trees/branches that matches the detail of the buildings above.

    - This last one is pretty subjective, but I'll say it anyway. The title and subtitle both sound like straightforward high fantasy. The image of the guy in a suit with a spear and a shield seems more heavily-symbolic stock photo than anything...high-concept something-punk, maybe. Looking at this cover, I'm really not sure what's inside, and I think the art/title mismatch is part of that. If I could ask, what are you trying to convey as far as theme and sub-genre go?
     
  6. Trick

    Trick Auror

    1,258
    344
    83
    Great, that's basically what I was going for! And actually, this is the the real title and subtitle of my book so I'm glad they grab you. The book may not be finished, but I'm an outliner so I know the whole story already and a title is something I just need to have. Not sure why, just an idiosyncrasy I guess.
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2016
  7. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

    7,717
    3,241
    313
    I had this same thought as Nimue. The cover looks really cool, but having seen your previous cover attempts, I was surprised that this was for the same book. It gives me very different vibes about the book is actually about.
     
  8. Trick

    Trick Auror

    1,258
    344
    83
    Concept is a perfect word for it. It was inspired by a piece of art (though it turned out quite different, inspiration being fickle) and I'd probably turn to a graphic designer friend of mine to do the real thing.

    Okay, this I like. Yes, the font is stretched oddly but I was having a hard time finding the clean font that worked well with the main one. (probably could have put more effort into that, to be honest). I need to search for more fonts and see if I can find something that works. I'm not married to the main font either.

    You're right on this one, these are from stock images, heavily manipulated, but they were all free (and thus of varying quality). I'd be willing to pay for the best once I settle on using a design. This one is still in the "just a test" phase. However, I'd go the other way on line weights. I'd prefer to reduce the detail of the buildings to match the forest. More vector than photo. Just my instinct, and a graphic designer with book cover experience may well disagree.

    It could be seen as a good thing that the genre is mysterious to you because, it's a mystery to me as well. I'll try to give it a classification, which will be ridiculous, to make my point. It is Dark Sci-Fantasy, about a young assassin, with both relatively 'high' magic and magical technology that appears on it's face to simply be very advanced science. There are old gas-powered vehicles, hover-vehicles and horse-drawn carts. People dress in what might be called victorian style while carrying tele-rifles and scopes that can see through walls.

    EDIT: I'll add that this mash-up of technology may seem arbitrary but, it actually does make sense in the story's context. The magical technology has caused rapid advancement in some areas while others remain stagnant and there is a massive racial rift in the main society (there is literally a wall between them) and the tech is basically split up by economic class.

    EDIT: Oh... and there are robots. Sentient robots.

    Basically, it's a hodge-podge mash-up. The story, however, is a bit more traditional. It could be boiled down to a hero's journey (albeit, with an anti-hero, not that this concept is new).

    The cover was an attempt to impart a few ideas. One, this story takes place in a mixed-up world that will be both foreign and familiar.
    Two, the forest represents the challenge.
    Three, the city is both a goal and an ominous force.

    That's about it, I guess.
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2016
    Devor likes this.
  9. Trick

    Trick Auror

    1,258
    344
    83
    That makes sense to me. I'm not sure what I want to convey with the cover that I actually use and I'm also not sure what my attempts actually do convey. Nimue's "high-concept something-punk" is probably the closest I've gotten to conveying what I was shooting for.

    EDIT: Another thing about the two covers seeming to come from different books. The book is in three parts. The first takes place in slums and then partially in the wealthy city and is about the MC's rise through a criminal organization. In that part, he is an assassin and a thief.

    The second part is about him going to prison, discovering the history of his people and then escaping and seeking the magic of his people in the wilderness. He literally has to use a spear to kill wild animals to gain the tribal magic. He wants to use the magic to become a powerful force back in the city, not necessarily for good, but this part of the book is very transformative for the MC. He begins to lose some of his pride.

    The third part is about him returning home to make is way with his new powers and discovering that his goals are miniscule compared to what he should actually be doing, which is saving his people from the main villain - the leader of the higher class society. He wanted to kill people who had wronged him but he comes to the realization that his problems are small potatoes.
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2016
    Devor likes this.
  10. Chessie

    Chessie Guest

    It doesn't speak genre to me. Is your book UF or Scifi? You do want your cover(s) to stand out but also be indicative of genre. One way to test this is by hitting up Amazon and looking through the the best-sellers list and comparing how your cover looks next to those in the same genre AND niche. The only reason why I say best-sellers list is because it's the easiest one to find given Amazon's crazy crap lists at the moment.

    But, if you know exactly who your target market is, search by keywords on there and see if you can't bring up books that are similar in genre to yours and compare covers then. :)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 14, 2016
    Russ likes this.
  11. Trick

    Trick Auror

    1,258
    344
    83
    The book is a little bit of several genres. It has UF elements (takes place largely in a city, the tech level is between Victorian earth and near future earth and the similarities to earth can give it the feel of UF) but it's on a different world so it doesn't technically qualify. It's semi-scifi because there is high technology beyond anything we can make on earth but it is neither on earth nor does any of it take place in space. It is science-fantasy or, as I am nerdily fond of calling it, sci-fantasy. It also skirts the edge of Grimdark, if not outright crosses over a few times.

    So, I don't know which genre's covers to look at. I can look at them all but that will be too many choices.

    Here are a couple covers of books that I think are similar to mine in ways that make me feel the target market is the same:

    [​IMG]
    Same book, different cover
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2016
  12. Trick

    Trick Auror

    1,258
    344
    83
    cont'd

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    So, it wouldn't be entirely alone but perhaps the stark black-and-white would set it apart. But is that bad or good? I don't really know.
     
  13. Chessie

    Chessie Guest

    Then actually your cover looks really close. Maybe just a hint bit more red? Also...now take this with a grain of salt because you know your target audience and story better than I do, but the city background on your cover looks too modern. Is there a way to make it more Victorian-esque? Since Victorian has inspired your work, perhaps consider adding that in there and it would match very well with your samples here.
     
  14. Trick

    Trick Auror

    1,258
    344
    83
    Well, that's good I suppose.

    I like the idea of going Victorian with the inverted cityscape. I would want to preserve some modernity but that should be doable. That's one for the thinking cap.

    Thanks Chessie :)

    Sent from my LG-H631 using Tapatalk
     
  15. Chessie

    Chessie Guest

    No problem and good luck!
     
  16. Trick

    Trick Auror

    1,258
    344
    83
    Well, I made some changes based on feedback and I like them. Still just a concept cover for sure but perhaps an improvement?

    [​IMG]

    And I remembered another similar cover. I loved this book, love the cover and think it would have an audience similar to mine. I may take some cues from it in my next edit, specifically from the color scheme.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2016
  17. Trick

    Trick Auror

    1,258
    344
    83
    Oh, and I'm curious if a transparent underlaid pattern (like this but not necessarily this) is a good idea or not?

    [​IMG]
     
  18. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

    7,717
    3,241
    313
    In some ways the new forest and cityscape looks better. In others, it reminds me of a jaw with teeth. The angle is too sharp, and the big black upper-right corner distracts the eye in kind of a bad way. So I would see if you can try to take the new graphics and go back to the old shape.


    No offense, but that looks terrible.

    Maybe you can get something like that to work, but you would need the light/color pattern plus a texture underneath it. Getting those two components just right is the sort of thing that can make it awesome or you could fiddle with for months until you forget how bad it looks.
     
    Trick likes this.
  19. Trick

    Trick Auror

    1,258
    344
    83
    I noticed the jaw with teeth thing and I honestly didn't mind the similarity. As a thumbnail it looks like that quite a bit but when larger, the image becomes more apparent. I'll have to think about that.

    The black corner being a distraction is not something I thought of, however, I had thought to put some mountains there as a transition. Perhaps I'll see how that looks.




    No offense taken. The pattern is pretty bad and the texture idea is a good one. Not sure if I want to just stick with stark white/black or not. More thinking to do.

    Thanks!
     
  20. Trick

    Trick Auror

    1,258
    344
    83
    Perhaps this eliminates the jaw with teeth look and I also messed around with red and black for the top and bottom text and background.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
Loading...

Share This Page