Cover Workshop

General discussion on illustration, art, and the business of same.
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kyle
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Re: Cover Work Shop

Postby kyle » Wed Dec 07, 2011 2:23 pm

I actually like the stark simplicity of what you did first, Rebecca. That said, stark simplicity is something to be done sparingly, and only if the story that I'm going to read has Hemmingway-esque lean prose.

As a general rule of thumb in any graphic design, you want three layers of information. The first and most obvious layer is the text (and the design of the text -- including the font, the color, the size, and the placement -- is part of that information). The second layer is your primary imagery, which much convey something about the story (plot, mood, feel, etc.) to the viewer. In your case the message you're conveying that it's an asian-themed story. The third layer is your background. In your case you've used a reflective infinity surface, which carries with it a strong sense of nothingness, loss, mystery, etc.

You can have more layers than that, of course (and many of the best designs do), but never put out a cover without thinking about the impact of those three.

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Re: Cover Work Shop

Postby s_c_baker » Wed Dec 07, 2011 2:40 pm

Martin L. Shoemaker wrote:
s_c_baker wrote:There are a few other nice programs out there but I can't remember what they're called.


I'm pretty happy with Paint Shop Pro, which is generally around $100. And Amazon frequently has it on sale for $25.


SAI is the one I was thinking of. It's a Japanese program, but has an English language pack. The full version is $50. It's a good deal more artsy/painty than PSP, GIMP, or Photoshop, though.
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Re: Cover Work Shop

Postby gower21 » Wed Dec 07, 2011 3:06 pm

Hey Stewart,

I can definitely see the Japanese influence on your wife's artwork. Your love of Japan must extend to her as well. My brother also leans to this style in his art work, but he does more computer based stuff, whereas I never lingered far from the paper.

I did help with this one and the one that came after it (below). I didn't do much but pick out the picture, font, and color. My husband did all the putting it together.

http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/126573

Yes, it's very expensive. I don't recommend blurb for this type of project, but I can't talk my husband out of using them. He's convinced that the other companies (amazon, ect) wouldn't have the same quality with the photos (inside the book as well). The price doesn't effect the sales though--I think because it is a niche market and he's a local legend (the writer of the poetry, not my husband).

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Re: Cover Work Shop

Postby Rebecca Birch » Fri Dec 09, 2011 11:18 pm

Wow, guys. A monster has been created. I am having SO MUCH FUN creating covers for all of my stories. Most of them have a while yet to go in the rounds-making, but I figure I'll eventually want covers when the rights revert back to me. (After I've sold them, which will happen, of course ...)

Now I have to remind myself that I have to write stories in order to have more things to make covers for!

wotf013
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Re: Cover Work Shop

Postby soulmirror » Sat Dec 10, 2011 12:01 am

Rebecca Birch wrote:Now I have to remind myself that I have to write stories in order to have more things to make covers for!
wotf013


True that. And personally I've found that having created a piece of visual art I like and want to use does inspire me to want to write something it can illustrate! wotf008

Anything that gets the creative juices boiling in the cauldron is a joy imo!
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Re: Cover Work Shop

Postby Martin L. Shoemaker » Sat Dec 10, 2011 7:57 pm

izanobu wrote:Rebecca- I use Dreamstime a lot to find royalty-free images for very cheap and use those as the starting basis of my covers.


First, thanks for the tips on Dreamstime. I've been exploring Deviant Art, but it's nice to have another option.

But second... Wow, did Dreamstime just fail for me! I've got a story that I might self-pub, but I might instead make it my Q1 entry. So I necessarily have to be vague. But let me say that there are five likely search terms I might use to look for images for this story. Three are ideal, one is less ideal, and one I expect to turn up a load of images that aren't appropriate for this story.

Well, the first ideal term turned up... zero hits. The second? Zero hits. The third? One hit; and it's something I might work with, but it's not a great image for my needs. (I do think it's nice in its own rights, just not for this story.)

The term that was less ideal turned up pretty much the same images as the term I expected to overload me with poor choices. And yes, the choices were poor for both. They fell into two basic groups: cartoony, and 3D rendered stuff that didn't look very proportional to me.

So maybe there's a trick to doing good Dreamstime searches, and I haven't found it yet. But for this story, the results just didn't work.

Ironically, I found an almost perfect image on Deviant Art. One so good, in fact, that I was willing to change the story just a bit to make the description of a character's clothing match that image. The rest of that image was like it was drawn for my story, and it was good. I truly think it would sell copies of my story.

So I tried to contact the artist to license the rights. His Deviant Art contact address bounced. He has a new Deviant Art page ("new" as of 2009), so I tried the contact info there. It bounced. He goes by an alias, and has changed it at least once, so he's not easy to find; but I tracked him down through a rather patient Web search, and I found his art referenced on a blog in his home town. It was a comment from his partner trying to drive traffic to his art gallery. So I went to the gallery page to try to contact him. The page is closed, and the gallery no longer exists. So I traced him to yet another personal Web site, and I filled out a contact form there. That was a month ago, and I've heard nothing back. This is a guy who's really good. I think he'd have a good shot in IotF. But he has dropped off the Web, and there's nothing I've been able to do to find him.
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Re: Cover Work Shop

Postby soulmirror » Sun Dec 11, 2011 2:41 pm

Martin L. Shoemaker wrote: I think he'd have a good shot in IotF. But he has dropped off the Web, and there's nothing I've been able to do to find him.


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Little known STAR WARS trivia: In between his less sordid henchman gigs ... Greedo had secretly dreamed of being an ILLUSTRATOR.
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Re: Cover Work Shop

Postby Martin L. Shoemaker » Sun Dec 18, 2011 7:21 pm

OK, this is not a joke...

Image

Well, OK, the book has jokes (I hope people think they're jokes), but I seriously would like some feedback on this cover.

It's not SF or Fantasy (though it has SF and Fantasy elements); but you folks are the best cover critiquers I know, so I hope you have some feedback. Thanks!

(And yes, that's Comic Sans. It's a comic strip, that's what Comic Sans was designed for. And it's almost literally impossible for me to change at this point. I would have to redraw the entire strip from scratch. So the font stays.)
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Re: Cover Work Shop

Postby gower21 » Sun Dec 18, 2011 8:01 pm

There is no problem with comic sans:

http://www.mcsweeneys.net/articles/im-c ... ns-asshole

Just a warning to anyone who is considering on poking fun at the funnest font on your computer.

(going to do some summarizing to see if I get the idea)

As far as the cover. It is fun and I like the yellow legal paper. I recognize it from all my husbands early concept drawings of custom application development. I'd say I don't understand the joke on the front. I know UML uses shapes for the same types of things...like an idea would be an oval (like a thought bubble), a decision would be a diamond. So I see that above with the idea or thought leading to the action (action being represented by a square with lines). I didn't get the pest buster thing...and neither did my husband who uses UML. Everything else about it is great for a non-fiction cover. My favorite part is the guy sitting cross armed on the "The UML Guy" -- makes sense that is the author (you). If I didn't know and was searching for a UML intro book, I might skip this book based on the hard to understand pest buster thing on the front....but I'm guessing you'll have a few reviews before long to counteract that judgement? or maybe you have a market for it because you teach UML?

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Re: Cover Work Shop

Postby Martin L. Shoemaker » Sun Dec 18, 2011 8:36 pm

gower21 wrote:There is no problem with comic sans:

http://www.mcsweeneys.net/articles/im-c ... ns-asshole

Just a warning to anyone who is considering on poking fun at the funnest font on your computer.


Heh. Beautiful, Tina! I love it!

As far as the cover. It is fun and I like the yellow legal paper. I recognize it from all my husbands early concept drawings of custom application development.


He sounds like my kinda guy! A lot of developers don't appreciate the value of UML. (Hence the reason I drew the comic strip.) If he uses it enough so that you actually recognized the notation, he doesn't need the book; but PM me an address for him, and I'll send him a comp copy when the strip goes live on Amazon. I hope he'll appreciate it.

I'd say I don't understand the joke on the front.


Well, that's where the "slightly skewed" part comes in. I teach UML in the strip by drawing diagrams from parodies of various movies and TV shows; and in between diagrams, the actors (i.e., the stick figures in the diagrams) tend to run amok. That picture isn't really UML; it's what happened during one of those Amok Times. (Yes, that joke is shameless. So are most of the jokes in the strip.)

That picture is from "The Real Pestbusters", in which I introduce class notation and show how use cases can interact with classes. The episode starts where the previous episode left off: Pestbuster has abandoned his diagram to hunt down Pest, who has escaped again. In the middle of a somewhat dry explanation of the diagrams, Pestbuster suddenly leaps in and shoots his Pest Blaster at Pest. He misses, naturally; and in the process, he destroys the diagram and even burns through the walls of the panel, causing the drink he spilled to fall through into another panel. It's sort of breaking the fourth wall, knocking it down, stomping all over it, and then spilling drinks on it.

I never considered that someone might try to actually read that as a diagram. Now I have to think about it. That is in some ways the iconic picture from the strip; but maybe you have to already know what the strip's about to get that.

I know UML uses shapes for the same types of things...like an idea would be an oval (like a thought bubble), a decision would be a diamond.


Wow! You really have seen this stuff!

My favorite part is the guy sitting cross armed on the "The UML Guy" -- makes sense that is the author (you).


Yes. And if writing yourself into your story is a sin, then I am surely a sinner. That's my alter ego, the narrator of the strip. A lot of the strip is a conversation between The UML Guy and The Reader (loosely modeled on a friend of mine).

If I didn't know and was searching for a UML intro book, I might skip this book based on the hard to understand pest buster thing on the front....but I'm guessing you'll have a few reviews before long to counteract that judgement? or maybe you have a market for it because you teach UML?


I'm definitely hoping for some word-of-mouth promotion. The strip originally ran on my blog for a couple of months back in 2009 (until Microsoft accidentally broke my drawing tool); and at one point, I was notching up hundreds of readers every time I posted a new episode. A few of the readers even became guest stars. Plus I referred to some other books by authors who wrote books on related topics. I plan to send out comp copies to a lot of folks. Hopefully that will rekindle (heh, joke unintentional) enough interest to generate some word of mouth.

Thanks! You've given me a lot to think about.
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Re: Cover Work Shop

Postby soulmirror » Sun Dec 18, 2011 9:59 pm

Well, firstly, you gotta realize that I know absolute zero about UML ... so I can only approach the cover as a graphic image, and am missing the Significance of the diagram, etc. Hence: even I know that I don't know what I'm talking about. wotf021

I get that it's supposed to look like a yellow legal pad, so that limits the bells and whistle I'd instinctively drag out (the ol' "If you cannot dazzle them with your brilliance, baffle 'em with yer bull****" approach. Which, actually, often works!)

I use comic sans myself, lawts, so no issue there.

I do instinctively want the TITLE to be more massive when it hits the eye than it is here. (But then, we can read about my own title/size mis-calculation on my thing, above)

I want the title to pop out as a TITLE, not just a slightly larger font.

But if you put the TITLE in a banner/frame, that subtracts from your "This is a legal pad" approach (which works conceptually)

Have you thought about using an actual PHOTO of an actual yellow legal pad? With WRITING of it? Then you could have your "jump out at you" Title, but still have the 'legal pad" feel ...?

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-ResR2RVQ97g/TVm228q07fI/AAAAAAAAAbM/D3mupW24Qqk/s1600/Screen%2Bshot%2B2011-02-14%2Bat%2B5.04.03%2BPM.png
Has nuthin' to do with it, except I just swiped this off the google search as an example of a "real" paper pad with something vaguely diagrammy on it, you'd be using your own diagram obviously. But having a real pad would let you then frame it/border it with bolder title text etc? (Imagine the upper box is solid black, with a big U and M and L ... each letter in a white box or shape that's more meaningful?)
http://graffiti-alphabet-letters.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/Graffiti-Fonts-Box.jpg

I myself just like a frame or a border, and a definite size difference in TITLE size vs the rest. Anyway ... just my two cents!
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Re: Cover Work Shop

Postby Stephen Stanley » Mon Dec 19, 2011 10:24 am

Article on cover illustration featuring Dan Dos Santos.

http://io9.com/5868176/how-i-drew-fireflys-mal-reynolds

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Re: Cover Work Shop

Postby Martin L. Shoemaker » Mon Dec 19, 2011 5:08 pm

OK, based on your feedback, here's a revised idea...

Image

I used color to call out the title, subtitle, and blurb. And I used an entirely different image that (1) is actually valid UML (so Tina's husband won't beat me up), (2) doesn't spoil one of my best jokes, and (3) conveys the tone of the strip.

I may have to crop the sides for the aspect ratio. And maybe I need to center the byline just a little bit.

Opinions?

Thanks!
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Re: Cover Work Shop

Postby Rebecca Birch » Mon Dec 19, 2011 5:22 pm

Martin, I like this one *much* better. The floating pest and the flame-thrower-ish thing were confusing to me in the original. This one, while I know nothing at all about UML, feels cleaner and also gives a little bit of humor that gives me an idea of what to look forward to inside. Love the bunny slippers!
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Re: Cover Work Shop

Postby Martin L. Shoemaker » Mon Dec 19, 2011 6:06 pm

Thanks, Rebecca! Sounds like I'm on the right track.
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Re: Cover Work Shop

Postby gower21 » Mon Dec 19, 2011 8:17 pm

I LOVE the concept behind this one much more too. My husband also said the flame thrower one was a bit phallic and I agree-- (who's name is Tyler, so there, he now has a name). I like the positioning of the UML guy at the bottom next to your name--which clears it up much more as to who the UML guy is. The bunny slipper guy with the pointer and the graphic behind him. LOVE it.

I know this is a really really nitpick thing and most everyone might not agree. But it is really hard to find a color that will look good on legal pad yellow (any yellow for that matter). That shade of blue is hard on the eyes. I have a whole rant on color theory and perception behind it (it involves a scientific discussion of the wavelengths of certain colors on the spectrum and retina burn). I think you may have hit on one of the only colors that will work though...so there is a problem. The other color I was about to suggest was a shade of red, which made Tyler gag when I suggested it to him and when I held it up against the yellow I also was scared to death of it. Made me very angry when I saw your title in red. Color is so weird like that...maybe a shade darker: This color -- It's hex 0000BF ... Tyler said to type it that way "hex" and then the color value number...I think I'm the go between on some very nerdy joke. If that darker blue is too dark and drowns out the title--then I'm fine with the blue you have. sigh. (I'd go off what Soulmirror says, he has a much better eye for this sort of thing than me).

edited to add: I have a feeling that the blue I chose is the same blue in your title...and just up against the yellow it makes it seem brighter? Now that I'm getting used to it, it doesn't seem so bad. I think the bunny slippers have hypnotized me.

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Re: Cover Work Shop

Postby Martin L. Shoemaker » Mon Dec 19, 2011 8:54 pm

gower21 wrote:I know this is a really really nitpick thing and most everyone might not agree. But it is really hard to find a color that will look good on legal pad yellow (any yellow for that matter). That shade of blue is hard on the eyes. I have a whole rant on color theory and perception behind it (it involves a scientific discussion of the wavelengths of certain colors on the spectrum and retina burn).


OK, now I'm beginning to suspect we were separated at birth (give or take a decade or so). I spent the first nine years of my career writing software for measuring and analyzing colors in video images. I was never a color scientist per se, but I was pretty informed for a software type. So I know more or less what you're saying.

Sadly, my drawing tool (Windows Journal) has only a limited set of colors for text. (For strokes, I can choose any color I want.) It's the "classic" 16 colors for computers, and that blue is the best I get. Maybe I can modify it in Paint Shop Pro.

I think you may have hit on one of the only colors that will work though...so there is a problem.


A darker color would glare less; but too dark and we're back to soulmirror's concern that the title is getting lost.

The other color I was about to suggest was a shade of red, which made Tyler gag when I suggested it to him and when I held it up against the yellow I also was scared to death of it. Made me very angry when I saw your title in red. Color is so weird like that...


Back when I was dabbling in color science, Scientific American had an article on color perception. It had a simple experiment on color contrast perception. I can duplicate it easily, either on a computer or just with pieces of paper. You take a sheet of gray paper. Surround it completely with shades of red, and people will say the gray paper has a greenish tinge. Surround the same paper with shades of green, and they see red. Same with blue vs. yellow. I've had people actually get angry with me, because they're sure I'm switching between different gray sheets. They just don't like to accept that they're not seeing true colors, they're seeing relative colors.

And don't even get me started on metamerism...

maybe a shade darker: This color -- It's hex 0000BF ... Tyler said to type it that way "hex" and then the color value number...I think I'm the go between on some very nerdy joke.


No joke, I know what he means. Thanks!

edited to add: I have a feeling that the blue I chose is the same blue in your title...and just up against the yellow it makes it seem brighter? Now that I'm getting used to it, it doesn't seem so bad. I think the bunny slippers have hypnotized me.


The blue in Journal is BLUE! Hex 0000FF. It's pretty bright.

This is the first time the bunny slippers have ever been that shade of purple-pink. In the past, they've always been black. But I thought a little accent color would be good.

Thanks!

UPDATE: Paint Shop Pro made it easy to recolor the text. 0000BF was perfect. Thanks!
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Re: Cover Work Shop

Postby gower21 » Mon Dec 19, 2011 9:22 pm

Martin L. Shoemaker wrote:Back when I was dabbling in color science, Scientific American had an article on color perception. It had a simple experiment on color contrast perception. I can duplicate it easily, either on a computer or just with pieces of paper. You take a sheet of gray paper. Surround it completely with shades of red, and people will say the gray paper has a greenish tinge. Surround the same paper with shades of green, and they see red. Same with blue vs. yellow. I've had people actually get angry with me, because they're sure I'm switching between different gray sheets. They just don't like to accept that they're not seeing true colors, they're seeing relative colors.


This is the exact experiment we did on ourselves in our upper division sensation perception class in undergrad (psychology). The red contrasts with green (opposite on the color spectrum with light...the cones in the retina will compensate). The brain makes us see what it wants us to. I could totally derail this topic all night talking color.

The bunny slippers are perfect.
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Re: Cover Work Shop

Postby soulmirror » Mon Dec 19, 2011 10:10 pm

Martin L. Shoemaker wrote:Back when I was dabbling in color science, Scientific American had an article on color perception. It had a simple experiment on color contrast perception. I can duplicate it easily, either on a computer or just with pieces of paper. You take a sheet of gray paper. Surround it completely with shades of red, and people will say the gray paper has a greenish tinge. Surround the same paper with shades of green, and they see red. Same with blue vs. yellow. I've had people actually get angry with me, because they're sure I'm switching between different gray sheets. They just don't like to accept that they're not seeing true colors, they're seeing relative colors.


There was a TV show on one of the science channels recently about exactly that, how the human senses perceive one thing but the brain immediately over-rides the eyes (or ears) to interpret it differently. And baby, what your brain tells you is the Universe is what the monkey brain goes with (though obviously Reason can reset "reality" ... perhaps until the tricks and pricks of quantum physics pretty much confirms that the Universe has more curve balls to throw at us than the human mind can ever grasp)

But they showed that colour experiment, and you think "Aha! That just took me by surprise! Do it again, guv'nor, I'm watchin' this time, I are!" And son of a gun, the colour switches on you all over again, because that's the perception that works for lemurs so they don't get eaten by snakes, and they had babies that evolved into us, and our brains are still haunted by snakes, wot?

Image

Could that be an element of designing cover art too? Appealing to the thinking mind may not sell as many of our books as dangling something tantalizing and tasty in front of our inner lemur! the homo sapien balances the check book (this is not an invitation to political debate!) but the prosimian reaches for the credit card!
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Re: Cover Work Shop

Postby soulmirror » Tue Dec 20, 2011 5:27 am

Well ... Here's another fine mess I've gotten myself into!

I seem to design things enough by the skin of my teeth that I end up with these design quandaries (but that's what this thread is for, idn't?)

And it's in keeping with the discussion above, too: the main issue is (I'm thinking, but certainly please critique it on any angle that occurs to you, this one's still in PSD and malleable) how it's initially perceived by the first time viewer!

I've got a spoiler question hidden, so if you could help a bruthah out by looking at it, then highlighting it and seeing/feedbacking my issue, it'd be very helpful!

COVER VERSION #1 ............................................ COVER VERSION #2

Image

A bigger view of Version #1, because maybe it's an issue of size and detail too?
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7006/6543469737_92a40092e7_z.jpg

My questions:

I HOPE that the girl on the RIGHT of the image immediately struck you that she is UNDERWATER (it's about a girl who drowns).
1) So ... was it obvious to you (or not) that the girl on the right is supposed to be UNDERWATER?

2) Do YOU like the version with the yellowish emphasis on girl's face and full moon? I prefer that one. Just ... prettier, imo.

3) BUT ... does it still look like she's UNDERWATER ... or did the yellow moon now destroy that visual interpretation for you / other viewers?

And ... 4) The TITLE may not be your cup of tea ... but did you at least understand what it's supposed to be saying? "THE DEEP is waiting ... in a dark sinister way." Someone else said "oh, no, you meant to say: "THE DEEP DARK'S waiting." And I was like, huh? No. What? OH-OH.
wotf005

Okay! Thanks! Feedback from folks is VERY helpful! And as I suggested -- feedback on ANY issue you may have, pro or con, is greatly appreciated!
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Martin L. Shoemaker
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Re: Cover Work Shop

Postby Martin L. Shoemaker » Tue Dec 20, 2011 7:39 am

1) No. Completely missed that.

2) I'm going back and forth between loving it and hating it. I like how it calls out the detail, but the colors clash a bit for me.

3) Since my answer to 1 is No, I can't answer here.

4) I read the 's as possessive, so I completely missed the point! An explicit "is" would've made it more clear.
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Re: Cover Work Shop

Postby Grayson Morris » Tue Dec 20, 2011 7:56 am

1) Yes, I get an undwerwater vibe, from the bubbles and the fish.

2) I like the all-blue version better. The yellow emphasis gives me cognitive problems with the moon (is it behind her? in front of her? Am I seeing through her?) and the tree (similar).

3) Yes, because the moon is now definitely not part of that right-hand woman thing, and the bubbles and fish do it for me there.

4) I got the title the way you meant it. The deep is waiting, and it's a dark waiting.
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Re: Cover Work Shop

Postby MJNL » Tue Dec 20, 2011 7:59 am

1--No, but I think it's the tree that threw me off. ETA: oh, wait, on the RIGHT. I know my left from my right, sheesh, really. Yes, she does look that way. But the tree still throws me--I had to study it a moment, it wasn't immediately apparent. But, I like the tree...

2--Have you tried a red emphasis to match the mermaid tail? The yellow kind of matches her skin, but I'm not sure how I feel about it. I do like the way it breaks up the image, though--the straight blue wash feels heavy and blocky in comparison.

3--I don't think it's the moon's fault.

4--The title does make me raise an eyebrow, but I didn't mistake your emphasis. Would it make it clearer or more confusing if you added a colon and took out the ellipsis? The Deep's Dark: Waiting.


ETA: This one's for Martin: Going back up to your second version (which I like much better than the first), I think if you could blend the text a little with the background it would give it more of a hand-written vibe--because ink runs, smears, bleeds a little when it hits the paper. Nothing major, just enough to see that the text integrates with the background.
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Re: Cover Work Shop

Postby gower21 » Tue Dec 20, 2011 9:46 am

First of all, I love both covers looks wise. I glance at them and they are appealing, intriguing, and provocative. I tend to lean towards the all blue one...but I think because I'm a fan of monochromatic color schemes and simplicity. As far as concept:

1. Not really. I think the moon, tree, and landscape of a hill in the back ground led me to believe she was just a floating image (not underwater floating). I also can't figure out what is up with her head...does she have a fish head? I'm not asking to be funny, it is just the one image that baffled me. I looked at the larger image and still had some trouble, but I also don't have on my glasses. It could be all me. It is nothing that if I were out buying the book I would pause over though, I would still buy the book based off of either cover.

What would fix it for me would be a more ocean landscape or at least maybe being able to see the surface of the water above her head (I don't know if I'm explaining it right, but the surface of the water as viewed from underwater and if the moon was rippled and distorted from being viewed from underwater. Right now it is as I would view it from above water...but maybe I'm missing the point--and isn't it usually that giving advice on how to fix something is usually wrong--so maybe ignore my rambling).

2 & 3. Yes I liked it, just liked the blue one better and before I highlighted your spoiler questions my first thought was "wow" the all blue one gives me a slight feeling of being underwater. The moon being highlighted is when I then came up with the beef above about the moon not being distorted.

4. I'm the worst to ask when it comes to questions about grammar, but I like the title. It is my cup o' tea and I get its meaning. I also like Marina suggestion too with the colon instead of an ellipsis.

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Re: Cover Work Shop

Postby s_c_baker » Tue Dec 20, 2011 10:40 am

For some reason my tablet won't let me see the spoilers by highlighting, but I much prefer version 1. The sepia looks jarringly out of place, and not cohesive with the rest of the piece.
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Re: Cover Work Shop

Postby Martin L. Shoemaker » Tue Dec 20, 2011 1:39 pm

OK, I found a decent image on Dreamstime. It almost looks like the spaceship and landing site in my head, enough to make me happy with it; but I haven't licensed it yet, so I'm not showing it here yet. But that leads to two questions:

1. The artist has already used the picture to illustrate one of her own short stories (in a coffee table art book she has done -- very nice work). Do you see any reason that should make me think twice about licensing the picture?

2. Without the picture itself, here's the revised cover. Opinions?

Image

I went with a white background. I know that's rather stark, but it was the easiest way I could find to make the "glow" stand out on the letters. The letters were originally drawn on white; so if I paste them in onto white, I'm done. If I go with a different color, I have more work to do. Not that that will stop me; but I figured try the easiest approach first and see what you think.

Besides, I think the white makes a nice "frame" for the picture.
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Re: Cover Work Shop

Postby s_c_baker » Tue Dec 20, 2011 2:13 pm

Looks much more professional, for sure. wotf007

1. The artist has already used the picture to illustrate one of her own short stories (in a coffee table art book she has done -- very nice work). Do you see any reason that should make me think twice about licensing the picture?


Not unless she has a problem with it, or unless it's some fabulous, famous everybody-will-think-you-are-ripping-off-its-art well-known story/book. (That is, if her art book doesn't have a huge impact on a national level, and your novelette presumably won't either, I don't see a conflict.)
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Martin L. Shoemaker
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Re: Cover Work Shop

Postby Martin L. Shoemaker » Tue Dec 20, 2011 2:23 pm

s_c_baker wrote:Looks much more professional, for sure. wotf007


Wait'll you see it with the image! Oh, and I just found a link to the image in her gallery.

1. The artist has already used the picture to illustrate one of her own short stories (in a coffee table art book she has done -- very nice work). Do you see any reason that should make me think twice about licensing the picture?


Not unless she has a problem with it, or unless it's some fabulous, famous everybody-will-think-you-are-ripping-off-its-art well-known story/book. (That is, if her art book doesn't have a huge impact on a national level, and your novelette presumably won't either, I don't see a conflict.)


I don't see a lot of hits when I search for her, either by name or by alias. But I do think she's very good. She mostly does SF landscapes and spacescapes, at least on that site.
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Re: Cover Work Shop

Postby gower21 » Tue Dec 20, 2011 2:28 pm

I have no idea on the image being used before, someone else with more experience on the legal side will hopefully answer that for your. I don't think the white is a problem--one thing to take a closer look at: your smaller black text with the drop shadow makes the words blurryish (slightly blurry and hard to read).

The outlining on the larger text with the lighter blue: I like it. Very nice. I like the shades of blue you've used. Do you have a link to the picture you're planning on putting in the black box? Maybe we can peek at it and see the idea you're going for?

ETA: Ok I just saw you posted the link. I really like that picture. She's awesome. I think those colors will work nice with what you have.

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Re: Cover Work Shop

Postby Martin L. Shoemaker » Tue Dec 20, 2011 2:37 pm

gower21 wrote:I have no idea on the image being used before, someone else with more experience on the legal side will hopefully answer that for your.


Well, legally, she offered it for license through Dreamstime. So I'm fine there unless Dreamstime has completely screwed up. I was just concerned with the oddity of the same image used for multiple stories. But as Stewart points out, our readership overlap isn't likely to be large. Heck, since I'll be crediting her and linking to her site in the revised text, that's probably the most likely cause of any overlap.

I don't think the white is a problem--one thing to take a closer look at: your smaller black text with the drop shadow makes the words blurryish (slightly blurry and hard to read).


Interestingly, I added the drop shadow only because Scott and others had advised against plain, unadorned text. I do wonder how the drop shadows will look in a thumbnail. I suspect it won't matter, because blurb text is pretty much unreadable in a thumbnail anyway.

The outlining on the larger text with the lighter blue: I like it. Very nice. I like the shades of blue you've used.


Heh. It was all MS Word's idea. I just used what they provided.

Do you have a link to the picture you're planning on putting in the black box? Maybe we can peek at it and see the idea you're going for?


See my reply to Stewart.
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WRITE! WRITE! WRITE! WRITE! WRITE!
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