Cover Workshop

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

Postby morshana » Mon Jun 11, 2012 6:11 pm

I like the cover art, Thomas!
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soulmirror
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Re: Cover Workshop

Postby soulmirror » Tue Jun 12, 2012 3:49 am

I like them both alot, but I'll admit vibe-wise that the colour scheme on the left one (The Digital Sea) strikes me as cold, whereas the yellow/gold of the right side image is striking and vibrant. But both are very sharp, pro-looking covers! Cool artwork and design! I can sort of see Martin's point, but I'll assume on a larger image the questionable issue might resolve itself?
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Re: Cover Workshop

Postby ThomasKCarpenter » Tue Jun 12, 2012 9:29 am

soulmirror wrote:I like them both alot, but I'll admit vibe-wise that the colour scheme on the left one (The Digital Sea) strikes me as cold, whereas the yellow/gold of the right side image is striking and vibrant. But both are very sharp, pro-looking covers! Cool artwork and design! I can sort of see Martin's point, but I'll assume on a larger image the questionable issue might resolve itself?


We tried different colors but the red was necessary so the cover didn't fade out. It's neat seeing her try different things and have one tiny change make a *huge* difference.
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soulmirror
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Re: Cover Workshop

Postby soulmirror » Tue Jun 12, 2012 3:14 pm

ThomasKCarpenter wrote: It's neat seeing her try different things and have one tiny change make a *huge* difference.


No question about that! wotf008 It's staggering how many times someone can tweak and save multiple versions ... and then one or two can suddenly become exactly right! My drive is full of slightly different versions of everything! (which makes remembering which was which its own challenge!)
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Martin L. Shoemaker
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Re: Cover Workshop

Postby Martin L. Shoemaker » Sun Jun 24, 2012 10:47 am

Here's a cover idea I have for a short story collection:

Image

The image is not yet licensed from Dreamstime, so it has the Dreamstime watermark, of course.
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Re: Cover Workshop

Postby Strycher » Sun Jun 24, 2012 11:12 am

That reminds me of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. If that's the vibe you're going for, then rock on.

Also, I'm still digging your brand cover.

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Re: Cover Workshop

Postby Martin L. Shoemaker » Sun Jun 24, 2012 11:14 am

Strycher wrote:That reminds me of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. If that's the vibe you're going for, then rock on.


Hmmm... Nope, not even close. These aren't humorous stories. Maybe I need another approach.
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Re: Cover Workshop

Postby Martin L. Shoemaker » Sun Jun 24, 2012 2:49 pm

Here's another approach: different image, but the same motif.

Image

Basically I'm looking to convey the dual concepts of journeys and speculative fiction.
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trdixon
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Re: Cover Workshop

Postby trdixon » Sun Jun 24, 2012 3:08 pm

I like this one much better!
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soulmirror
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Re: Cover Workshop

Postby soulmirror » Sun Jun 24, 2012 4:15 pm

I agree the first one instantly made me think "Hitchhiker's Guide" ... the second one is nice! There is something about the "brown" colour that doesn't quite say "highway asphalt" to me though in both.

The title "Wrong Turns" made me wonder if you'd thought about having a weird sci-fi road sign, and/or skidmarks going off the road? To suggest a wrong turn was made? Just a thought crossing my mind ...

Luving the deep space / highway thing though, and the vast cosmos of image 2 sells that. Very cool concept, Martin!
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Re: Cover Workshop

Postby Martin L. Shoemaker » Sun Jun 24, 2012 4:28 pm

Wow. I really didn't see the Hitchhiker concept in that image, but it looks like it's a common reaction.

I saw the brown highway in the first image. The second looked black to me; but inspecting the colors tells me it's a very brown shade of black.

It bothers me a bit that the blurb runs over the white sidelines. I wonder if I need a smaller font or a shorter blurb. Or maybe move the blurb under the title instead of over. Suggestions?
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Re: Cover Workshop

Postby austinDm » Sun Jun 24, 2012 4:45 pm

Personally, I like the blurb the length that it is (it's a good hook, imo), though I definitely see what you mean about the white line. In particular, there's something a bit disorienting going on with the first 'n' in 'unknown'. You might consider making the font a little smaller and moving it off the road entirely, placing it to one side and giving it more height than width (i.e., more than two lines). I think the way you have the text blocked works better with the black borders from the first cover rather than overlaying the image.

On another note, in the first image, I really liked how the curve in the road played off "turns" in your title and think the second image loses something by eliminating that. Perhaps if, as it went off into the distance, the road curved to the left and off the side of the page. That way, you should maintain visual balance with the galaxy on the right side.

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Re: Cover Workshop

Postby morshana » Sun Jun 24, 2012 4:51 pm

I like the second one, Martin!
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Re: Cover Workshop

Postby Martin L. Shoemaker » Sun Jun 24, 2012 6:31 pm

Here's the version with the blurb moved to the bottom.

Image

As I put the collection together, I wondered if I needed a different image, maybe even a different theme altogether. By coincidence, each of the stories has a brass artifact as a recurring symbol: a bell, a pocket watch, and a sextant. If I could find a cover that would unify those and still give off a speculative vibe (instead of an archaic vibe), I might go with that.
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Re: Cover Workshop

Postby Strycher » Mon Jun 25, 2012 4:24 am

Martin L. Shoemaker wrote:Here's the version with the blurb moved to the bottom.

Image

As I put the collection together, I wondered if I needed a different image, maybe even a different theme altogether. By coincidence, each of the stories has a brass artifact as a recurring symbol: a bell, a pocket watch, and a sextant. If I could find a cover that would unify those and still give off a speculative vibe (instead of an archaic vibe), I might go with that.


I agree that this image's view of the cosmos is much less Hitchhiker's inspiring. Way more serious. Swapping your blurb and title also seems to have alleviated your road-lines problem. The school-bus yellow with the neon turquoise isn't really doing it for me, but I'm not an artist, so someone with color theory/composition skills will probably disagree with me. (Also, it could just be my monitor that shows those particular shades.)

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Re: Cover Workshop

Postby Martin L. Shoemaker » Mon Jun 25, 2012 5:00 am

Strycher wrote:I agree that this image's view of the cosmos is much less Hitchhiker's inspiring. Way more serious. Swapping your blurb and title also seems to have alleviated your road-lines problem. The school-bus yellow with the neon turquoise isn't really doing it for me, but I'm not an artist, so someone with color theory/composition skills will probably disagree with me. (Also, it could just be my monitor that shows those particular shades.)


I played with yellow, white, and red for the blurb. None of them were as distinct as the turquoise, especially when the image was reduced. If I change colors, I may need to change font as well to make it clear.
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Re: Cover Workshop

Postby MJNL » Mon Jun 25, 2012 7:06 am

I like the layout of your third, it's very nice. I think it's the orangey-yellow that's a little off-putting for me, in the title and name. I think the turquoise of the blurb fits well with the background, but the orange doesn't quite compliment it. Perhaps if it were a lighter shade? Hmm...
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Martin L. Shoemaker
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Re: Cover Workshop

Postby Martin L. Shoemaker » Mon Jun 25, 2012 7:21 am

MJNL wrote:I like the layout of your third, it's very nice. I think it's the orangey-yellow that's a little off-putting for me, in the title and name. I think the turquoise of the blurb fits well with the background, but the orange doesn't quite compliment it. Perhaps if it were a lighter shade? Hmm...


I actually had more of a blue-turqoise for the titles as well, but I recalled someone here talking about the importance of having at least two major color families in a cover.
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Re: Cover Workshop

Postby gower21 » Mon Jun 25, 2012 8:24 am

Perhaps a shade of red on the title? It implies danger to the subconscience... But now that I think about it. I may have read the story with the sextant and I'm thinking it doesn't really say "danger" to me. Also red will be the most controversial color choice as most people will say "NO!! Not red!"

I do like the second image if you're going for non-humor. This seems more like a unknown journey to me. I'm not as in love with the turquoise with the gold. What about a silver for those smaller words? Silver and gold. Give it a hidden treasure feel? Just an idea.

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Re: Cover Workshop

Postby Martin L. Shoemaker » Mon Jun 25, 2012 8:35 am

gower21 wrote:Perhaps a shade of red on the title? It implies danger to the subconscience... But now that I think about it. I may have read the story with the sextant and I'm thinking it doesn't really say "danger" to me. Also red will be the most controversial color choice as most people will say "NO!! Not red!"


You have indeed read the sextant story, as well as the bell story. Not sure if anyone here has read the pocket watch story.

I'm still undecided on this collection, actually. "A Most Auspicious Star" is in the queue at Naked Reader Press; but it has now been 8 weeks, and they predicted 6 to 8 weeks for a response. Plus they've been pretty unresponsive via email, and their blog hasn't been updated recently. They're good people, and I'd like to work with them, but that requires some response on their part.

And my time travel story might be good at Analog. I'd like to get another one in the queue there.

But I have seen 5 Amazon sales since the announcement last week. It strikes me it might be smart to have a collection up there soon, just in case of another, bigger announcement. Not that I'm predicting, but like Pasteur said... "Chance favors the prepared mind."

I do like the second image if you're going for non-humor. This seems more like a unknown journey to me. I'm not as in love with the turquoise with the gold. What about a silver for those smaller words? Silver and gold. Give it a hidden treasure feel? Just an idea.


Now that I think about it... The big problem with white and also yellow on the blurb was they exacerbated the problem of the white lines. Now that I moved the blurb away from the lines, that won't be a problem.
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Re: Cover Workshop

Postby gower21 » Mon Jun 25, 2012 8:45 am

Awesome! Lets see it with the white. My idea on why it clashes is because you have a cool blue background with the star colors and the turquoise doesn't quite match. I think a white will look nice.

I have read the bell story. I wasn't sure if you were coming up with a three pack of new stories or were offering a package deal of three previously published stories. I thought, "Wow, either Martin likes bells, or this is Mother Anthony."

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Re: Cover Workshop

Postby Martin L. Shoemaker » Mon Jun 25, 2012 9:00 am

To get even more psychobabblish... I just realized that in each story, the brass artifact is associated with the protagonist's father.

Have to take Mom to the hospital. I'll post a silver version from there.
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Re: Cover Workshop

Postby Martin L. Shoemaker » Mon Jun 25, 2012 12:11 pm

Silver version:

Image

And I thought I would share some commentary from my nephew, a freelance graphic designer who contracts for local publishers and advertisers. Maybe it'll help us see how someone in the business sees it.

I'm liking the first one so far, just noticing a few things. Im sure this was one of the horizontal images we spoke about the other day that you want the entire image but it doesn’t quite fill the bottom section like you would like. There are ways around this to expand the stars on the top and left to make this image work a little better if you are dead set on this being the image. Also sometimes a small fade effect on the bottom of the photo to get rid of the sharp edge works wonders. I did a quick search on dreamstime.com and found a shortage of images that convey the same type of "Leaving the planet" vibe as the image that you chose, so this might be the one that you would choose. I included a photo I found that comes close, not sure if it give you the right feeling of "wrong turn out of the planet" type thing.

As far as the typography goes, I again like the first sample. The slight white outline accents the blue gradient well for your name, however I would avoid if you can matching the font title of the book with your name title treatment. Maybe you could pull out a bit of the dark purple from the picture and use a san-serrif font for the title, something medium still, not too bold. The sub-header looks good in the treatment that it is in, but I would flip it position whys with the main title once you are satisfied with the way the main title looks.
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Re: Cover Workshop

Postby gower21 » Mon Jun 25, 2012 12:42 pm

If I had to choose between the turquoise and the silver. I'd choose the silver. Also like the bevel applied to it to make it pop.

I like your nephews comments too. It's nice to hear a professional opinion. I've always liked your blue letters outlined in white. They have a very mystic look to them.

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Re: Cover Workshop

Postby Martin L. Shoemaker » Mon Jun 25, 2012 1:27 pm

My sister (the artist in the family) likes this one:

Image
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Re: Cover Workshop

Postby morshana » Mon Jun 25, 2012 1:29 pm

I like that last one, too.
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Re: Cover Workshop

Postby gower21 » Tue Jun 26, 2012 7:50 am

And the last one follows your nephews advice on setting the author apart from the title some way.

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Re: Cover Workshop

Postby Strycher » Tue Jun 26, 2012 8:09 am

Yeah, I like the most recently posted version the best so far. I didn't think I'd like the glowy letters, but they've grown on me.

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Re: Cover Workshop

Postby gower21 » Tue Jun 26, 2012 8:29 am

Strycher wrote:Yeah, I like the most recently posted version the best so far. I didn't think I'd like the glowy letters, but they've grown on me.


I had the same reaction. I stared at the letters for a while and when I came back today I decided I really do like it best.

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Re: Cover Workshop

Postby Strycher » Tue Jun 26, 2012 10:10 am

gower21 wrote:
Strycher wrote:Yeah, I like the most recently posted version the best so far. I didn't think I'd like the glowy letters, but they've grown on me.


I had the same reaction. I stared at the letters for a while and when I came back today I decided I really do like it best.


Yeah, that was me too. I looked at it yesterday and was kinda like, "Eh." And then today when I saw it again, it kind of jump at me. In a good way.


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