New covers for the Lost Dogs series.

Discussion in 'Cover Design' started by Svrtnsse, Nov 22, 2018.

  1. Svrtnsse

    Svrtnsse Staff Article Team

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    Ahoy folks,

    The time came around that I discovered I could do decent book covers on my own by using stock images. I'd just assumed it was better to get someone else to do it, and not really tried very hard myself. Then just the other day I had to come up with a cover for book 4 in my Lost Dogs series, and decided to give it a go. I got some pictures from shutterstock and put them together in gimp, and I was really happy with the end result.
    Over the last few days I've redone the covers for the three earlier books in the series as well. Now that they're all updated, it's time to show them off here. :D

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    This last one here, for book #4, is the first one I did. Ideally, I'd have liked the other ones to be in a similar style to it, but I wasn't able to track down drawings to match the one I had. I feel like they came out okay in the end though, and like the fourht one is the odd one out - so maybe I'll redo that one at some point.
     
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  2. Night Gardener

    Night Gardener Mystagogue

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    Hi SvrtnsseSvrtnsse! I do like the covers you did!
    I have some questions and some art critiques for you:

    *Why did you not include the yellow wolf eyes in the 3rd and 4th cover? That was a very strong thematic element to unite the different visuals across the first two covers. And haunting.

    *And, I agree with you and think the 4th cover is a bit of an odd man out. If you can't find a stock image, you could try to recomposite the female figure from cover 3 (I'm deducing that is the figure you want on cover 4) by flip/rotating, etc. May not get the facial expression you want, but there's enough torso to work with. Or, thematically, you could introduce 'pencil sketch' and 'ink washes' to cover 3's figure, or edit her to grayscale like cover 1's figure, to help visually transition to the drawing on cover 4 from the photos on cover 3 and 1.

    *I think part of what might be throwing cover 4 off a bit as a mismatch, is the color saturation moreso than the drawing vs. stock photo. It's very pale, almost pastel, compared to the other 3. I want to see the intense green of the swamp (algae and duckweed/frogbit water plants and mosses in the trees, etc) behind the figure.

    I hope that helps- and it shouldn't be impossible to edit with the software you're using. I'm very impressed with the visual 'Wow factor' of the first 2 and the intense saturation of color. I think that is an interesting juxtaposition to your content. Whatever changes you decide on, if any, I'm sure you're going to come up with something eye-catching and intriguing.
     
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  3. Svrtnsse

    Svrtnsse Staff Article Team

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    Thanks for the feedback. Much appreciated. I'll try and answer as best I can.
    My idea is that the eyes belongs to the wolf within the main character of the story, Roy. However, he's only the main character of the first two books, and the next two feature a different main character. I had the idea of including a different set of eyes on the cover of the third book, but by the time I got to adding them I decided against it for three different reasons.
    - I didn't find any that suitable ones. Alene's inner beast isn't a wolf, and the closest eyes I found where paintings of demon eyes and the stle didn't match with the photos.
    - I left the eyes until last, and was worried the cover would be too cluttered if I tried to add in more. I've got issues telling colours apart, and I'm cautious about mixing things up too much.
    - There weren't any eyes in the fourth image which was the ones I did first.

    I think what I'd probably do is to try your last suggestion and apply some filters to try and give the woman in the third cover more of drawn/painted look. I'm not sure exactly how to go about that, but I'm sure it's the kind of thing I'd be able to find tutorials about online.

    You're probably right about this. Someone else commented they were surprised to see me use colours in a cover when I showed them the one for the second book. Like I mentioned, I've got difficulties with colours, so it's a bit daunting to tinker with.

    The plan for now is to wait a bit and let the novelty of the new images die away. I'll also try and play around with the software a bit more and get a better idea of what I can and can't do with it.
    At some point I'll have to update the covers for the paperback versions too, and that feels like a much more "permanent" change than changing up ebook covers. I'd like to be more confident in the covers by that time. :)

    Thanks again for the feedback. It's very much appreciated.
     
  4. Night Gardener

    Night Gardener Mystagogue

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    You're welcome! And I'm surprised to learn that you have difficulty with colors and working with them- it doesn't come across in your work ;) . My vote is still to incorporate the inner-beast eyes somehow for each character. I think it would help visually unify your series. Can't wait to see what your next editions look like! Good luck!
     
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  5. Svrtnsse

    Svrtnsse Staff Article Team

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    I definitely see the sense and logic in this. I'll for sure give it a go when revisiting the designs.
    Thanks. That's encouraging. :)
    The only actual colour tweaking I did was for the woman on the cover of book three. The original looked like this: the thoughtful African woman with brilliant black skin with a ceramic ethnic necklace of handwork sits and embraces the hands knees. Studio conceptual photo against a dark background

    For the rest of them, the only colour adjustments are with respect to transparency, or with covering up with black-to-transparent gradients.
     
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  6. Night Gardener

    Night Gardener Mystagogue

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    If you have no objections, can I send you pm links to royalty free or public license art/ photography? You can easily adjust the chroma (color) to suit your needs later. I usually stumble upon interesting stuff in my late night web-wandering hours, and I collect stuff for visual inspiration.

    Just for fun, what is Alene's inner beast?
     
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  7. Svrtnsse

    Svrtnsse Staff Article Team

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    Image recommendations would be very welcome, along with other advice. :)


    As far as Alene's inner beast, she's a rainbow coyote. The actual description of that is something that's unclear until just at the end of book 3. I've included the description of it from the book here:
    A small dog-like creature, somewhere between a wolf and a coyote, completely covered in shimmering fish scales, and with a pair of black antlers at the top of its head. A forked red tongue hangs out the side of its mouth, and yellow eyes burning with hate and anger stare at the crowd.
     
  8. Night Gardener

    Night Gardener Mystagogue

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    Oooh that's some interesting imagery you've made for yourself lol. Challenge accepted!
     
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  9. Svrtnsse

    Svrtnsse Staff Article Team

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    My laptop ran out of battery, so I'll be slow checking any messages for a while.
     
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