Cover Workshop

General discussion on illustration, art, and the business of same.
Strycher
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Re: Cover Workshop

Postby Strycher » Sun Jan 08, 2012 10:37 am

Martin L. Shoemaker wrote:I just have time to upload two for feedback before I have to board my flight to San Diego. So you'll have all day to rip me up, and I won't be able to respond.

Image

This one is another tall tale of a guy whose overconfidence creates the opposite of the problem he prepared for. I doubt it will be clear on the catalog pages, but it looks to me like the astronaut in the image has a cocky sneer on his face, perfect for the character.

Image

This one is an introspective little piece about a guy who does whatever it takes to achieve his dream, but the dream will always be out of reach. And that's what he likes about it.

Both images licensed through Dreamstime.


Wow! I really like them both! I don't have any useful feedback, again I'm not an artist, but I do think that the red title on the first one should be a little darker. Tying it in to the other bits of red on the image, it looks watered down, like when you're trying to turn vanilla icing red and it keeps being progressively darker shades of pink but never really red. (Yeah. You're cover made me think of cupcakes. So that's good, right? =])

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Re: Cover Workshop

Postby kyle » Sun Jan 08, 2012 12:20 pm

Generally solid covers, but I wouldn't ever, under any circumstances, use the word "boring" in your cover copy. Readers can't help but associate the negative connotation of the word with the story, even after the next line has made the irony clear. I'd use "typical" or somesuch that's not necessarily negative.

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Re: Cover Workshop

Postby Rebecca Birch » Sun Jan 08, 2012 1:25 pm

Nice covers, Martin! I am in agreement on the darker red for the first and trying a different word other than 'boring' in the second. I especially like the first. It's got attitude. wotf008
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Re: Cover Workshop

Postby Martin L. Shoemaker » Sun Jan 08, 2012 1:27 pm

Layover in Ohare, so I have a little time here.

gower21 wrote:The first one:

Great use of color. I like how your name matches the blue behind and shading in the astronaut and the red of the title matches the red button.


I've learned a trick for that. When I get to the hotel tonight, I'll discuss how I can use WordArt with these images without ending up with artifacts.

I begin to suspect Dean might be onto something using PowerPoint for his images. My trick wouldn't be needed there, perhaps.

It is very psychologically suggestive and eye catching. I like how you've gone from ellipsis in your tag lines to periods, a lot more clear, dramatic, and more punch behind the last sentence tag.


I'm bowing to the list there, against my better judgment. I'm rather fond of ellipses...

A little bit of a joke...as an after thought about the tag line in reference to your name: "Martin L. Shoemaker-- He had all the answers." My eye of course goes to your name and the title and then the tagline, so I know it is about the story and not you. That, by the way, is not a critique of the cover, just a really nerdy joke about ego and subliminal messages. The positioning is all good, in my opinion.


That may be the first time "subliminal" and my ego were ever discussed in the same sentence. Usually my ego can be spotted from orbit.

The Second:

It's a great cover. It doesn't grab me like the first, but it goes with your title and like what your doing with the color and the use of white. My only issue with it is it comes across as a bit flat, but up against the first one I think it would be hard to top it. Maybe some of the others will have suggestions for it, or maybe it is fine how it is and I'm being a bit over critical.


If I could find a less-flat image, I might look at it. I stumbled upon this one on Dreamstime, and it's a really good fit for a scene in my story. Well, not quite in my story, but related.

Also a note about your house style. I think it really works. I like the font/outlining and that your mixing up the color depending on the needs of the cover and the art you've chosen. Very awesome. I think there's an importance to creating similar looking covers so readers can recognize your titles without making them all look the same. You're doing it smashingly!


Heh. I started with the original blue on the "Sense of Wonder" cover. When I looked at it, I said, "No, Tina will kill me."
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Re: Cover Workshop

Postby Martin L. Shoemaker » Sun Jan 08, 2012 1:29 pm

Strycher wrote:I don't have any useful feedback, again I'm not an artist, but I do think that the red title on the first one should be a little darker. Tying it in to the other bits of red on the image, it looks watered down, like when you're trying to turn vanilla icing red and it keeps being progressively darker shades of pink but never really red.


Ironically, I started with a red that I thought was too dark, so I lightened it; but I couldn't seem to get it to lighten in small steps. I wasn't happy with the lighter version or the darker version, so I thought I would see what other people thought.

(Yeah. You're cover made me think of cupcakes. So that's good, right? =])


Mmmm... Cupcakes...
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Re: Cover Workshop

Postby Martin L. Shoemaker » Sun Jan 08, 2012 1:31 pm

kyle wrote:Generally solid covers, but I wouldn't ever, under any circumstances, use the word "boring" in your cover copy. Readers can't help but associate the negative connotation of the word with the story, even after the next line has made the irony clear. I'd use "typical" or somesuch that's not necessarily negative.


I was rushed, and for the life of me couldn't come up with a good word there. I wanted to get across the idea that the people that work there have (superficially) no sense of wonder, just routine. "Typical" is much better! Thanks!
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Re: Cover Workshop

Postby MJNL » Sun Jan 08, 2012 2:15 pm

I really like the second one. A lot. I'm a sucker for space art--especially sparkly space art.

If you swap it out for a different image I will steal this one. Yes, that is a threat!

Seriously, other than swapping the "boring" for something more like "typical" as Kyle suggests, I wouldn't change a thing there.


As for the first one, I like it, but I feel like it would balance better if both your name and the title were the same color. But that could just be my monochromatic tendencies coming out.
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Re: Cover Workshop

Postby Strycher » Sun Jan 08, 2012 3:19 pm

MJNL wrote:As for the first one, I like it, but I feel like it would balance better if both your name and the title were the same color. But that could just be my monochromatic tendencies coming out.


I almost suggested the same thing, and if you could see my wardrobe (black, gray, blue, green for adventurous days) you would understand why.

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Re: Cover Workshop

Postby s_c_baker » Sun Jan 08, 2012 4:33 pm

Those are both great, Martin!
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Re: Cover Workshop

Postby izanobu » Sun Jan 08, 2012 4:50 pm

I like both those covers, Martin. I would lessen the glow around the title of the first one a little, that might help with the red. They are pretty good as is though (and I agree with "typical" instead of "boring").

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Re: Cover Workshop

Postby ThomasKCarpenter » Sun Jan 08, 2012 4:56 pm

Nice job, Martin. I like both covers.
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Re: Cover Workshop

Postby Martin L. Shoemaker » Sun Jan 08, 2012 6:07 pm

izanobu wrote:I like both those covers, Martin. I would lessen the glow around the title of the first one a little, that might help with the red.


In order for me to make the glow transparent, I had to make it a separate layer. That will make it much easier to fiddle with.
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Re: Cover Workshop

Postby Martin L. Shoemaker » Sun Jan 08, 2012 6:09 pm

MJNL wrote:I really like the second one. A lot. I'm a sucker for space art--especially sparkly space art.

If you swap it out for a different image I will steal this one. Yes, that is a threat!


The same artist has another one in a very similar vein. I went with this one because the planet looked much more Moon-like.

On the plane, I thought maybe "ordinary" would be even better than "typical".
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Re: Cover Workshop

Postby s_c_baker » Sun Jan 08, 2012 6:21 pm

Martin L. Shoemaker wrote:
MJNL wrote:I really like the second one. A lot. I'm a sucker for space art--especially sparkly space art.

If you swap it out for a different image I will steal this one. Yes, that is a threat!


The same artist has another one in a very similar vein. I went with this one because the planet looked much more Moon-like.

On the plane, I thought maybe "ordinary" would be even better than "typical".

How about ... quotidian? wotf001
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Re: Cover Workshop

Postby Martin L. Shoemaker » Sun Jan 08, 2012 7:49 pm

s_c_baker wrote:How about ... quotidian? wotf001


I confess: I've never used that word.
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Re: Cover Workshop

Postby Jess » Sun Jan 08, 2012 8:03 pm

I love the first cover.

On the second one, maybe "Just another day at work" would fit? Also, I feel like I want your name to be a different color there, but I couldn't tell you if I'd prefer a darker or lighter one. All I know is, alongside the cover, the current text comes off as too monochromatic to my eye. I feel like a change to the text would bring out the overall brightness of the cover more...which makes me favor a darker color shift, I think.
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Re: Cover Workshop

Postby gower21 » Sun Jan 08, 2012 8:25 pm

Martin L. Shoemaker wrote:Heh. I started with the original blue on the "Sense of Wonder" cover. When I looked at it, I said, "No, Tina will kill me."


No, I wouldn't have killed you, but orange and blue???!! What were you thinking?

No, no killing...but bear in mind that if you had done that-- you're in my state now and if you'd randomly got slapped from a stranger and they said "that was for the cover choice" then well, you'll know my reach is far.

I like...ellipsis...too...

And exclamations!!!!!!

ETA: I think I know now what is bothering me about the second one. And it is such a little visual thing. When Jess mentioned the color of the font on your name thing...If you bring the sphere up (Slightly) you be in the 1/3 - 2/3 ratio placement It will help the bottom breath a bit better. The white glitter stuff will go slightly more behind your name and break up the monochromatic at the top. So to clarify-- the sphere is still closer to the bottom and NOT in the middle (1/3 from the bottom - 2/3 from the top). I reserve the right to hate it if you do it (once I see it) and make you change it back, but I think it will work better.
Last edited by gower21 on Sun Jan 08, 2012 8:37 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Cover Workshop

Postby s_c_baker » Sun Jan 08, 2012 8:28 pm

Martin L. Shoemaker wrote:
s_c_baker wrote:How about ... quotidian? wotf001


I confess: I've never used that word.

I don't think that's much of a confession--who has used it in ordinary conversation? (Anybody?)
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Re: Cover Workshop

Postby gower21 » Sun Jan 08, 2012 8:33 pm

Stewart, I've never even heard of that word.

But that is probably not at all a shock coming from me.

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Re: Cover Workshop

Postby soulmirror » Sun Jan 08, 2012 9:59 pm

Love the first cover totally, Martin. Absolutely killer.

The second one ... I dunno, is it the Moon? All i can suggest is that the over-all orange simply throws me, I wouldn't guess it's the Moon. It's just a gut reaction, that for it to be "in space" I want space to be blue or black. If there's a reason in the story for orangeness (the story features cosmic fire, kundalini energy, Tang, or a profitable corporate placement deal from the Citrus Growers of Florida ...) then having a rim/periphery where we SEE black outer space, and then the Moon engulfed in orange, would still sell both outer space and necessary orange ...

It's a purely "I don't like the colour orange" thing, from me. Though you do constantly hear that GREEN is a colour the marketing folks really shy away from too. And statistically, suicides happen in yellow kitchens ... (someone drops a raw egg on the kitchen floor ... they look up from the mess and see themselves surrounded by yellow wallpaper ... they look over and see the drawer full of sharp paring knives ... the blueness of the veins of their wrist ... video of the tragedy at 11pm)

As for using the word "boring" ... my issue was more that a 'boring day OF work' suggests a boring story ... while a 'boring day AT work' is just a set up that tells us all hell is going to break loose soon enough! wotf008
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Re: Cover Workshop

Postby gower21 » Sun Jan 08, 2012 10:24 pm

soulmirror wrote:Love the first cover totally, Martin. Absolutely killer.

The second one ... I dunno, is it the Moon? All i can suggest is that the over-all orange simply throws me, I wouldn't guess it's the Moon. It's just a gut reaction, that for it to be "in space" I want space to be blue or black. If there's a reason in the story for orangeness (the story features cosmic fire, kundalini energy, Tang, or a profitable corporate placement deal from the Citrus Growers of Florida ...) then having a rim/periphery where we SEE black outer space, and then the Moon engulfed in orange, would still sell both outer space and necessary orange ...

It's a purely "I don't like the colour orange" thing, from me. Though you do constantly hear that GREEN is a colour the marketing folks really shy away from too. And statistically, suicides happen in yellow kitchens ... (someone drops a raw egg on the kitchen floor ... they look up from the mess and see themselves surrounded by yellow wallpaper ... they look over and see the drawer full of sharp paring knives ... the blueness of the veins of their wrist ... video of the tragedy at 11pm)

As for using the word "boring" ... my issue was more that a 'boring day OF work' suggests a boring story ... while a 'boring day AT work' is just a set up that tells us all hell is going to break loose soon enough! wotf008


This is where psychology and art collide. You've brought up one of my favorite subjects: hatred of the color yellow. There is a difference between yellow light waves (like the sun..which is actually more "white" I guess) and yellow paint/artificial color. Dozens of studies link yellow paint to depression and anger (put a group of people in a yellow room and tell them to work on a project together. Much more angry arguments than if you put them in a green or a blue room. Also reports of lack of concentration in yellow rooms. People are always surprised to find this out, because yellow is so 'cheery and sunny.'

Well, yellow has a dark side my friends. Consider this your second warning (soulmirror, delivering the first).

Side note: I had a Yellow! bathroom for seven years. Each year vowing to paint it. This year a I finally did. My kids are much less whinny in the mornings now. Instant change, over just one color.

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Re: Cover Workshop

Postby Strycher » Mon Jan 09, 2012 6:32 am

soulmirror wrote:(someone drops a raw egg on the kitchen floor ... they look up from the mess and see themselves surrounded by yellow wallpaper ... they look over and see the drawer full of sharp paring knives ... the blueness of the veins of their wrist ... video of the tragedy at 11pm)


Ha!

gower21 wrote:Well, yellow has a dark side my friends. Consider this your second warning


Bwhahaha!

And this is why I spend so much time here.

(Because I think suicide humor is funny? No, wait. That came out wrong!)

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Re: Cover Workshop

Postby Kary English » Mon Jan 09, 2012 8:58 am

So... ummm.... at the risk of looking totally stupid, is there a way to attach an image from your computer w/o putting it on a web page somewhere?

Thanks!

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Re: Cover Workshop

Postby Rebecca Birch » Mon Jan 09, 2012 9:14 am

Kary James wrote:So... ummm.... at the risk of looking totally stupid, is there a way to attach an image from your computer w/o putting it on a web page somewhere?

Thanks!

Da Newb


I haven't been able to find one. Sure do wish there was, though.
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Re: Cover Workshop

Postby Kary English » Mon Jan 09, 2012 9:49 am

Ok, so let's see if this works...

Any thoughts? (I'll license the image if it meets with board approval. :) )

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Re: Cover Workshop

Postby Rebecca Birch » Mon Jan 09, 2012 9:55 am

Kary,

Having read the story, I think the concept works well. I'd be careful to check the required dimensions of the markets you are aiming for. I'm not sure if the landscape will translate to some formats well.
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Re: Cover Workshop

Postby Strycher » Mon Jan 09, 2012 9:58 am

Kary James wrote:Ok, so let's see if this works...

Any thoughts? (I'll license the image if it meets with board approval. :) )

Image


Well we just had that conversation about yellow, but I like the shades you've got here.

Though it's an odd shape. Your flavor text might need to be moved somewhere in between the title and your name (it kinda looks like it's sitting in your title's lap). I'm not sure what genre this story will be. I assumed it had something to do with a genie (cause lamp and "wish") but I'm influenced by it appearing on this forum into thinking that it will be a speculative story. Seeing it listed randomly on Amazon I think it might come off more as a humorous dieting guide book.

I like the image and your font choices.

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Re: Cover Workshop

Postby kyle » Mon Jan 09, 2012 9:59 am

Strikes me as a contemporary fantasy, Kary, sort of Arabian Nights meets primetime television. If that would be a good description of the story, I'd say you're spot-on.

Seconding the concerns about the aspect ratio, though. Do make sure it won't be squished or cropped oddly everyplace you're planning to use it.

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Re: Cover Workshop

Postby Kary English » Mon Jan 09, 2012 10:01 am

Good thought, Rebecca - thanks. I know Amazon takes square, so the just-off-square landscape is to account for the "Look Inside" thingummy they tend to slap on covers. That said, I'll double check.

As for the story - for those who haven't read it - it's a minimally speculative morality tale involving tea and weight loss. The mood hits both humor and horror. I didn't want the cover to pigeonhole into spec-only, and I like that the teapot also reads as a genie lamp.
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Re: Cover Workshop

Postby Kary English » Mon Jan 09, 2012 10:03 am

kyle wrote:Strikes me as a contemporary fantasy, Kary, sort of Arabian Nights meets primetime television. If that would be a good description of the story, I'd say you're spot-on.



Yep, that about describes it. :)
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