Thursday, 5 June 2014

COVER RELEASE - The Tainted Crown: The First Book of Caledan


Behold! The new cover for The Tainted Crown :D


and... here's how I created it!

It took me 10 hours of illustration work on the crown alone (in Photoshop using my trusty Wacom Intuos 4) and about an hour of playing about to format and arrange the elements to create the cover image. This will be the kindle format image - I'll have to create another format/arrangement for the paperback version and other ebook formats. :-)

The crown itself was super fun (though time-consuming...!) to create. Although my initial visions of the crown were almost identical to the Palatine Crown of Queen Anne, wife of Richard II, the final image was much more inspired by the crown of Queen Maria of Romania, which has a beautiful, flowing design.

During the process I honed my metal painting skills and I also learnt how to create faceted jewels with this epic tutorial! The blood was really fun to do also. I had to hand paint the crown's reflection onto it, but it was worth doing to make the image feel more believable (liquids reflect, after all).

The backlighting/glow behind the crown helps it to pop away from the blue cover background - and the contrast between the blue background and yellow crown again helps that stand out as the focal point for the cover. I kept in mind Joel Friedlander's advice on good cover design for ebooks as I was creating this, trying to keep it simple and eye-catching, so that it will also be effective on a small scale.




I textured the background to make it more interesting (aiming for not too much blank space, but not too much detail, as either would be distracting). For the texture, I used a photo of a weathered iron grate I took at Upper Barden Reservoir - so there's a little bit of Yorkshire in my book cover!

I also used Joel's advice to improve my typography (the font, words and placement of text), which was, let's face it... pretty bad in my very first cover design! This can really make or break a cover.

Overall, I think it comes together as a much more effective cover than the previous version - I still really love the illustration on the previous cover, just as a standalone image. I'll probably offer both images as signed prints when the book is released. :-)

Hope you like!

If you're interested in cover design, here's a list of really useful resources to check out: 
Self Publishing: Cover Design, by CompletelyNovel 

Ciao for now!

Meg

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