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Cover Art for Repulsive

Discussion in 'Cover Design' started by BWFoster78, Sep 9, 2015.

  1. BWFoster78

    BWFoster78 Myth Weaver

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    Nothing makes a book seem more real that commissioning the cover art. Any and all comments welcome.

    Pitch:

    Zack Zurick loves superheroes. Lives them. Knows everything about them. If he could only become one of them, maybe the fame and money and power would make Hayli see him as something other than a friend.

    Hey, it’s possible he could be chosen to join their ranks. After all, he does have an alliterative name and is a classic underdog.

    When he becomes Repulsor, his ability to repel all forms of energy make him the most powerful superhero ever. Unfortunately, it also makes it painful for Hayli to even look at him. Talk about a kick in the gut. And the whole saving-the-world thing turns out to be harder than he thought, too. The villains have teamed up, and the good guys have a traitor in their midst. Zack must figure out who’s betraying them and defeat the forces of evil–all while not getting killed.

    Right. Why not just go ahead and win the girl while he’s at it?

    Maybe he could, if she weren’t dating The Captain–the most popular and handsome superhero of them all. And if only Zack weren’t … Repulsive.

    Cover:

    Any comments/feedback is welcome, but I also have some specific questions -

    1. My wife really hated the red eyes because they make him look evil. I'm thinking I can incorporate that more into the story. "All the other superheroes look like heroes. Why did I have to look demonic?" Thoughts?
    2. Should I come up with some kind of logo to put on his chest to make him look more like a hero or leave it as it is? If I do a logo, I was thinking of something like a lightning bolt bouncing off a shield.
    3. My original concept was to have the star around Repulsor, but I think it looks better without. Agree?

    Thanks!

    Brian

    [​IMG][/URL][/IMG]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 11, 2017
  2. acapes

    acapes Sage

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    I like them both :)

    I think the burst adds to the comedy vibe but I do like the image better without it too. The red eyes work for me as well, I guess a colour change might be interesting to see if it works?
     
  3. T.Allen.Smith

    T.Allen.Smith Staff Moderator

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    I don't care for the burst. It looks gimmicky...I can't think of a better term for it at the moment.

    I agree with your wife. The image looks evil. However, if a character looks evil when they're not, that creates some potentially interesting conflict. That being said, I don't think it's clear the character represented on the cover is Repulsor. For all the reader knows, it may represent the shadowy traitor working in the background.
     
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  4. FifthView

    FifthView Istar

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    I think the red eyes go with the title. "My wife really hated the red eyes because they make him look evil." – She's....repulsed by them?

    And running with that idea (title & image relationship)...The cover makes me think that maybe this person hides himself because he's repulsive. Without a blurb or any pre-knowledge of the book, I'd be wondering if he's some hideous, deformed person under his garb. BUT. The garb doesn't entirely hide him, because–those eyes. This isn't to say that no other color would do that trick, however.

    I like the cover without the burst.
     
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  5. Ankari

    Ankari Hero Breaker Moderator

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    This cover is sinister. I immediately think this is a picture of a villain. His posture hints at a jadedness, like he's pissed at the world and means to show them a thing or three.

    If you're trying go for the sympathetic hero, but hide his face, i can send you some ideas.
     
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  6. Nimue

    Nimue Auror

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    I'd have to agree with everybody that the look of the character on the cover doesn't seem to match up with what we know about Repulsive's MC at all. However, I don't really think red eyes are the issue, even, but the narrowness/felinity of the eyes is giving an inhuman impression. Here's a dumb 2-minute photoshop fix:

    [​IMG]

    The other issue here is that I don't know that it gets across genre, or the comedic touch. He kind of looks like a sorcerer or evil fantasy villain. Honestly, I'd suggest making his hood/cloak into a hoodie sweatshirt? If that's possible given the images the artist is working with. That would convey the modern setting and something of the tone.
     
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  7. BWFoster78

    BWFoster78 Myth Weaver

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    It's amazing what a difference the eyes make. Nimue's version makes him look innocent and surprised. Interesting ...

    Specific questions:

    1. I think the inherent conflict of him looking like a demonic villain is something that I can use in the next rewrite. Most of the commenters here, however, seem to think that's a bad thing. I'm not sure why?

    2. What do you think of a lighter blue for the background? It would make for more contrast and give it an overall brighter, cheerier feel.

    3. Definitely going to ditch the star.

    4. Anyone like the idea of the logo? I think that would both make him look more like a hero and set the genre better while allowing his overall look to be evil.

    Thanks.

    Brian
     
  8. Ankari

    Ankari Hero Breaker Moderator

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    The issue isn't with him appearing demonic, it's him appearing evil. I'm not catching the vibe I think you want readers to have of him. I think you want reader to be sympathetic towards your MC. If I bought this book, read it, and found out the cover was supposed to be of the MC instead of a villain, I'd think "man, this cover artist didn't even read a portion of the story! S/He has it all wrong!"

    Also, this cover is screaming FANTASY! If I were a fantasy reader, picked up the book, read the first few pages, I'd check the cover and scratch my head wondering if the publisher printed the wrong cover on the book.

    Look at this cover. She is a villain.

    [​IMG]

    Ideas:

    1) The background needs to show the era of your story. It can be as simple as a bench in a public park, or a bus stop in a city. I'd think it would be dark, maybe night, with a street lamp shining down on him or near him.
    2) Have the scene focus just below the knees and up. You want to get as much detail of his hideousness in the available space.
    3) Maybe shows signs of destruction around him. Maybe the bus stop is riddled with bullets. There are bullet shells on the ground.
    4) I picture your MC sitting on a bench/bus stop in the dark. He has his head down and the reader can see an impromptu mask.
    Something like a canvas sack stitched together. I'd also like to see him wrapping his arms in cloth, or pulling his sleeves down to cover his exposed arms.
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2015
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  9. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    I like the image, but I don't see the connection with the book or even the title. The figure isn't repulsive. Mysterious is the word that occurs to me. Maybe threatening. But in order to be repulsive, I'd need to see more than just eyes!

    Have you thought about other fonts? It's kind of a blocky font, which matches neither the mysterious figure nor the repulsive title. Also, is it common to have the author's name and the title be in the same font? A quick look at fantasy books on Amazon says no. Author name also tends to be in different color. Maybe it's to separate clearly the title from the author?

    I do very much like the hooded figure. Maybe if there was an actual face? Half-seen but horrible?
     
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  10. BWFoster78

    BWFoster78 Myth Weaver

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    Ankari,

    So why wouldn't adding a superhero logo to his chest fix this issue? It would set both the genre and the time period.

    And your quote makes no sense. The picture is a pretty darn good representation of how I describe Repulsor in the book. Therefore, it would seem that the artist, then, did read the book.

    Sorry, but I'm just boggled by your response ...
     
  11. BWFoster78

    BWFoster78 Myth Weaver

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    I think it's kinda like the shark in the original Jaws. If I show you Repulsive, it's not going to be nearly as good as what your mind would conjure. I really think not showing his face is a good call.

    It's a very comic book font, and commenters on another site have confirmed that the cover overall gives a comic book vibe. That's exactly what I wanted.

    I've read some guidelines about this. Some covers use the same font for both. Others don't. I prefer to keep things simple and use the same font.

    Thanks for the response!

    Brian
     
  12. BWFoster78

    BWFoster78 Myth Weaver

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    Okay, after giving it a lot of thought and reading all the comments multiple times, here's my plan:

    1. I like Nimue's thing with the eyes. It makes Zack look sad instead of evil, and I think that works well for the story. I'll send that along to Dani.

    2. The biggest complaint seems to be that the genre is not set by the image. I agree. I was thinking that the star and the font together would convey comic book/superhero, but without the star, something else is needed. I'm going to give the logo a try.

    3. The blue is a little darker than I'd like. I'm going to see if she can lighten it up a bit.

    I'll post the results.

    Thanks.

    Brian
     
  13. Androxine Vortex

    Androxine Vortex Archmage

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    First off I do like the cover. I think the colors blend well. I do not like the yellow-burst version as it feels (no offense) but made in microsoft paint. It makes a great cover look a little cheesy.

    I also don't think that the title of the book fits 100% with the cover. The character doesn't look repulsive but that might spark interest in someone cover browsing at the store.
     
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  14. TheCatholicCrow

    TheCatholicCrow Inkling

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    I don't mean to contradict everyone here but ... I like the star and it certainly does give it a comic / graphic novel feel. However, if is included that layer should be softer - maybe have her adjust the transparency. It would appear more serious if it was more subtle and blended in.

    That being said, having the star/burst there makes it feel fun and self aware- kitschy I guess. The kind of thing that might feature Andy Samberg ... [​IMG]

    Instead of a star/burst you can have her do a yellow radial gradation as a layer behind him. That would give you some more contrast for his figure and would play in with color theory...

    Personally ... I like the text and the color scheme and I think the front image is great but (as already noted) slightly villainous. Part of it might be the eyes but I think more so it's his body language and that there is too much image (I'd move him down a bit ...) If there is less of his chest showing more focus is placed on his face (or the lack there of). It would make more sense to me if he was stooped over more - standing up straight like this suggests confidence to me (and therefore villainy rather than mystery). If you put a symbol on his chest (or the star-burst) it would clarify a bit more and wouldn't be an issue ... he's confident because he's in the alternate persona or because he knows he's B.A. ...

    I think the association w "demons"/villains might also come from the shape of the robe and the presence of a wimple. IMO it gives it a hint of a monk/ priest/ magician vibe rather than superhero (which we all know requires super stretchy spandex :) ). The material appears to drape and flow which gives it that religious / ritual feel that I think plays into the association w demons.

    A logo, a (better blended) star (or yellow sphere) would remedy this. Otherwise if you cropped more of his body out it'd hide some of the fabric which I think might give you something closer to what you're looking for.
     
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  15. FifthView

    FifthView Istar

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    For what it's worth, I've wondered if, instead of the star you could have his logo or symbol in the background somewhere, but large.

    Alternatively, I've wondered if some other symbol behind him could clue the reader in to what to expect. I'm not familiar with your story, so I'm hesitant to offer suggestions. But I'd wondered if a large broken heart, perhaps drawn in a gothic fashion, would work. (I offer that as just an example of what I mean here.)
     
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  16. Trick

    Trick Auror

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    Chiming in late but, first, I love what Nimue's edit does for the cover. The innocent, sad eyes makes it a lot better (based only on reading the excerpt and your comments about the character). Second, I'd take the logo/superhero symbol on his chest idea a step further and change everything below his hood/cowl into a more superhero-esque costume. Colors could be the same but the heavy looking robe is very villain/priest. The cowl I love and if his body was just covered in a (not spandex or outside underwear) super suit, with the logo on his chest I'd be very intrigued by it. Like: "hmmm, a super hero who has to hide his face for a totally different reason than usual..." I'd want to read it.

    Obviously, if the MC goes around in a flowing, monk robe, my suggestion won't work.
     
  17. BWFoster78

    BWFoster78 Myth Weaver

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    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Thoughts:

    1. The symbol isn't "superhero" enough. It also needs to be brighter. Suggestions?
    2. I like the bullets, though I'd have one bouncing to the right and one to the left.
    3. I think getting rid of the bottom piece of the hood is a good idea.

    Opinions?

    Thanks.

    Brian
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2015
  18. FifthView

    FifthView Istar

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    It's hard to symbolize repulsion.

    First thought that popped in my mind: put Leonardi da Vinci's Vitruvian Man in the center of the star. Or maybe a simplified version of your character in costume but posed in the same way as da Vinci's.

    But maybe that would be too cluttered.
     
  19. BWFoster78

    BWFoster78 Myth Weaver

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    Alright, after another couple of rounds of revisions ...

    [​IMG]

    Main issues:

    1. How do I make the "R" logo say superhero?

    2. The image overall looks too cartoonish. How do we make it more real?

    Thanks!

    Brian
     
  20. Trick

    Trick Auror

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    Does the MC wear loose, flowing robes? If not, you could give the superhero vibe by putting him in a superhero-type suit but leave the hood as is. I think him wearing monk robes is weird. He may look repulsive but why do his clothes have to hang like bags? It just gives a villain feeling.

    Sent from my LG-H631 using Tapatalk
     
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