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Honest Criticism? (cover art)

Discussion in 'Cover Design' started by FarmerBrown, Oct 24, 2014.

  1. FarmerBrown

    FarmerBrown Troubadour

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    I am very happy with the cover my husband (digitally) painted for my book. He is not so happy. He wants to shrink it and put a black border around it, and move the title to the top edge and my name to the bottom, not on top of the painting like it currently is. I'm looking for two things: thoughts/criticism on the current painting (a scene from the story) as is, and improvements that can be made (such as the idea above). Hope this is the right place for this post!

    Thanks.

    Erin AKA FarmerBrown

    [​IMG]

    PS: Sorry the picture is so huge.
     
  2. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    I like the painting. If you shrink it and put a border around it, it may not come out as good as a thumbnail. I suppose we'd have to see the proposed changes to really evaluate it, but I think it looks nice the way it is. The author name might be a little small in thumbnail form - have you scaled it to thumbnail size to see how it looks?
     
  3. Philip Overby

    Philip Overby Staff Article Team

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    I like the painting itself. I always like covers that show the setting and the scale compared to a person (which it looks like you have a little girl or boy which looks really small compared to the trees, which is cool). I would try out the suggested changes and see if you like it. I agree that the author name may come out too small in a thumbnail.
     
  4. FarmerBrown

    FarmerBrown Troubadour

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    Thanks for your replies! I'll have the husband make his desired changes and I'll repost "soon". If it makes a difference, this cover is on the 6x9 trade paperback, and he thought the black "outline" version would look better for a hardcover edition.
     
  5. Fyle

    Fyle Inkling

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    I like it. One of the better ones I have seen here.

    No need to change it, it looks pretty professional.
     
  6. George Lightgood

    George Lightgood Dreamer

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    Neat Cover. It sort of looks like a cross between the cover art of Terry Goodkind's Sword of Truth Series and Flintstones!

    It catches my eye and (if I were in an airport kiosk for instance) I would look at it closer to see what the blurb said. I like your name where and how it appears, but I think the title could be slightly larger with more contrast, bigger, bolder or something. It looks just a little as if it were in the background behind the trees. IMO.
     
  7. Foah

    Foah Troubadour

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    Overall I like the artwork a lot. I'm just second-guessing the rays of light near the thick tree (direction of rays don't match the rest of the lighting in the scene). Apart from that, great cover art :)

    I wouldn't put a border around it; I've never been too keen on that cover design type. I would however explore more options when it comes to typography of both the title and author name. I think you could dare look some more for a font style that really helps it fit with the artwork, but that's just my personal preference to clearer font styles :)
     
  8. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    I like it as is. Except, are the dimensions a little off? It seems tall to me.

    In my opinion the border idea would be hard to get right. I know where the idea is coming from, and there are a lot of great examples of that kind of cover. But even though it sounds easy enough to use simple border elements, I think it takes a lot of design skill to actually do well. Of course, it might still be worth checking out.

    Also I'm moving this to the Cover Design forum.
     
  9. FarmerBrown

    FarmerBrown Troubadour

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    Thanks for moving it, Devor! I saw after I posted that it should've gone here (I'm a newbie....)

    I'll pass along comments to my partner in crime and see what he comes up with! He's been keen to make changes as soon as it was "done" (one of his, er, 'faults' is never being happy with what he makes...).

    Any suggestions for fonts? Right now it's "IM Fell English" (free). The scene on the cover takes place, obviously, in a desert, but that storyline is only 1/3 of the whole story and the rest takes place in the country north of the desert, which is more like renaissance Europe (think Spanish countryside). I'm very firm on keeping the scene mostly as is for the cover, since it affects the entire story, but I hope you all have a little more idea of a 'feel' for the rest of the story.

    Thanks for all the suggestions so far. I guess we're doing it a bit backwards since it's already published, but that's what second editions are for! ;-)
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2014
  10. FarmerBrown

    FarmerBrown Troubadour

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    Here is a design he drew (in the shape of a leaf--again, part of the story) for a bookmark and t-shirt (I did a Kickstarter project). Thoughts on making this the title graphic on the cover?

    [​IMG]
     
    Joanna likes this.
  11. Ankari

    Ankari Hero Breaker Moderator

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    I like the quality of the graphic, but I don't understand th connection. When I think of such efforts, I'm usually looking for instant association between the word and the design.
     
  12. GregTaylor

    GregTaylor Dreamer

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    Hi Erin,

    I really like his leaf design, the book cover is nice also.

    Some art crit for the main cover is relating to composition - the main text is sat next to two other very dark objects which removes the punch or separation in terms of contrast, you can experiment with aerial perspective here (simple: mix front tree colour with a bit of the background, OR, use a soft particle brush with the background colour selected and 'haze' it over the top of the tree with a 'normal' layer to make it appear further back in the picture. You could also consider burning the top edges (pulling eye downwards) and then have all the text presented at the bottom.
     
    Joanna and FarmerBrown like this.
  13. Brightfyre

    Brightfyre Acolyte

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    That looks great, in my opinion. I have seen a lot of people try and make cover art that really doesn't feel like it would look so well on a book, but the style of the one you posted I feel would go very well as a book cover. It has the right amount of simplicity and detail, the way I see it, as well as overrall quality as a design!
     
    FarmerBrown likes this.
  14. Jenurik Name

    Jenurik Name Dreamer

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    Wow, that is a beautiful cover. The concept is brilliant. The only criticism I have is that the top of the left-hand tree doesn't really look like the top of a tree. It looks... moppish? It was definitely jarring to me upon first viewing it.
     
  15. FarmerBrown

    FarmerBrown Troubadour

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    Oh my, I laughed so hard. :-D Thanks!

    The leaves are supposed to be 6-10 feet long and there are about 25 of them. But yeah, the tree top is definitely something my husband wants to fix. We're planning a new cover for the second edition, which will be released around when book #2 comes out (which I'm hoping spring, 2016). So, unfortunately it's going to be a while before I update this thread with new pictures :-( Sorry!
     
  16. Laurence

    Laurence Inkling

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    The painting is beautiful but the typography, I feel, doesn't do it justice. The title needs more space around it but putting the whole painting in a black box would be a shame.

    If you didn't mind sacrificing a bit of tree height, this solution would mean you don't have to place your painting within a black box:

    [​IMG]

    I'm not sure what the solution would be to your small author name problem...
     
  17. Jenurik Name

    Jenurik Name Dreamer

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    Admittedly it is pretty hard (at least for me) to wrap around how the leaves of a colossal tree are supposed to look. The foreground and the detail of the roots of the righthand tree are truly stunning. Does your husband have any of his other works that can be viewed like other book covers or independent illustrations? He's really talented.
     
  18. FarmerBrown

    FarmerBrown Troubadour

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    For round two we're planning on putting the title on top of the painting and making it stand out a bit more, and moving up Dagger (the little person) so my name can run across the entire bottom. In the first draft, the tree was actually the height of your edit but I made my husband make it taller ;-) Thanks for your suggestions!

    Alas, he is quite shy. I've been trying to convince him to start a website but he says he's not "good enough" yet. Damn perfectionism! But here's an interactive environment he built a few years ago for an assignment that I think is lovely to play, though you need to install a plugin in order to play it: Interactive Environments - Dave Beck Oh and navigating is a bit challenging but it was never meant to be a "game", just a two week project. (Personally I think he should turn it into a game, but oh well...)

    Edit: Dave Beck was my husband's professor and the environment is on his website.
     
  19. e r i

    e r i Scribe

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    Here are my suggestions: I made the title bigger, lowered it, put the name under the title to fill the space in the middle. The painting itself hasn't been changed. Sorry the title's a bit scrappy, but you get the idea, I hope :)

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2015
    FarmerBrown likes this.
  20. Laurence

    Laurence Inkling

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    ^I'm seeing this on a mobile screen and it's perfectly legible. The title was still too small on my fix.

    Wherever you end up placing the title text I recommend you dial down the drop shadow.
     
    FarmerBrown likes this.
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