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Cover Reviews > Cover for contemporary/mythological fantasy

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message 1: by S.F. (last edited Oct 22, 2016 05:31PM) (new)

S.F. Kyd | 16 comments This is an amazing group. I've learned a lot browsing the various reviews and pointers.

Here's one I've been struggling with. It's for a novel that starts out as a contemporary mystery and ends up in the world of Nordic mythology. The image is made from various public domain images, with effects added to make it look like a watercolor. I've tried to allude to both the contemporary and the mythological aspects while trying to avoid too much complication. (The title is also giving me fits.)

  

Link to larger image

I'm very much a newbie--though having a great time noodling around with Photoshop. Any suggestions greatly appreciated.


message 2: by P (last edited Oct 23, 2016 02:13AM) (new)

P (sriparnan) | 4 comments Hey S.F.,

Your novel's premise sounds interesting.

For the cover design, wouldn't a statue of Odin or some Norse God look better? I had something like this in mind- https://pixabay.com/en/god-myth-sea-n...
(Although, this will not be entirely relevant because Odin is usually depicted carrying a simpler form of spear, not a trident.)

For the background, you could use a stormy sky like this -
https://pixabay.com/en/seaside-stormy...

The whole thing would look something like this:
https://pixabay.com/en/background-wal...
You could, of course, choose not to depict the statue half-submerged in water.

And perhaps you could show a faded-out wolf's head at the top, behind the book title? One way to do it would be to go to the Layer and reduce Opacity from 100% to approx. 65%.

For the contemporary part, you could depict skyscrapers at a distance, perhaps? Along the shoreline?

Let me know what you think of it.


message 3: by S.F. (new)

S.F. Kyd | 16 comments Thanks, Penny! Those are great ideas. I love that Pixabay photo (the stormy sky). I thought of a god-image but wasn't sure how to go: my god-figure is romantic but wicked. I'll have to search and play around.

I see now, anyway, that my concept was rather, um, static.


message 4: by Harald, The Swimmer (new)

Harald | 386 comments Mod
Penny has some great inputs. Let us see what your next iteration is.

I'm curious, S.F.: what about the title is giving you "fits"?


message 5: by S.F. (last edited Oct 24, 2016 01:41PM) (new)

S.F. Kyd | 16 comments Here's another concept, using Penny's sky with a wolf overlay (should the eyes glow like the streetlights?). The genre of the book is a bit like "Urban Fantasy," but the setting is a small city--so no skyscrapers. My anti-hero is a wolf-god posing as a cop: so far, when I've tried a cop figure on the cover it has just looked silly--but I'm working on it.

  

The title seems to me lackluster and insufficiently descriptive of what the novel is. But there's only so much info you can squeeze into four words, and only so much you can do to grab a potential reader's attention.


message 6: by S.F. (new)

S.F. Kyd | 16 comments Here are a couple of experiments with the same basic elements--town, sky, wolf. Possible problem with the wolf in the street is that it's hard to assemble an image this way, and when you've done it yourself it's impossible to tell whether it's convincing.

  

Dropping special effects on letters to make it seem less busy, and experimenting with different titles. Both versions pass Harald's marvelous grayscale test.


message 7: by Harald, The Swimmer (new)

Harald | 386 comments Mod
Sorry for delay in response... been working on my book series and MY covers! :-) Anyway...

S.F., these last two are much better. Toning down the town helps. So does removing the type special effects, as you say. I lean toward the one on left more. Why?
— best contrast is on the main title, where it belongs (unless you're Stephen King :)
— the wolf theme is subtler and spookier at the top (the little wolf on right will be unnoticed when small)
— even the more nebulous title using "Maiden" vs "Amelia" works better for me (there's a scary Little Red Riding Hood feeling to it).

One suggestion: if you're going to use that tagline under main title, try it NOT all caps; all caps is really hard to read, especially when small.


message 8: by S.F. (new)

S.F. Kyd | 16 comments Thanks, Harald, for those comments. No problem about the delay: I'm trying to cultivate patience with this project--taking the time to get it right--and good comments are worth waiting for.

I did like the little wolf--I made him more prominent by adding some brightness--but still, if you made the image small enough he could have been a bear or a kitten. Too bad.

Good luck with your series and covers. Do you ever share them here?


message 9: by Harald, The Swimmer (new)

Harald | 386 comments Mod
"Good luck with your series and covers. Do you ever share them here? "

You betcha I will. I need others eyes on my work, too. Soon!

P.S. Re: my comment about your tagline being all caps... All caps can work fine with short words (like your main title) or few words or with spaced out letters. But the one you have above feels too dense for all caps. My view, anyway.


message 10: by S.F. (new)

S.F. Kyd | 16 comments I did the tag line with mixed caps and lowercase, and it was more legible, but in the end decided I didn't need it. Now the current state of the cover is this:

  

Thanks again to Penny and Harald. I'm looking forward to following this group. It's slow moving (like me), but very high quality.


message 11: by Harald, The Swimmer (new)

Harald | 386 comments Mod
The latest is looking good, S.F.!

P.S. Check your kerning on the main title. I'm seeing some unbalances in the word "MAIDEN." I'm nit-picking.

Good luck with it!


message 12: by S.F. (new)

S.F. Kyd | 16 comments Thanks--I trusted the kerning in the font. Often a mistake.


message 13: by S.F. (new)

S.F. Kyd | 16 comments While beta readers are looking over my novel I'm again obsessing about the cover, and especially the title. I decided that it was impossible to kern "MAIDEN" and instead decided on lower-case. The font for the big words is Foglihten and the one for the little words is Foglihten No. 7--the No. 7 adds some whimsy without compromising legibility (much), and the two fonts harmonize well. The grouping of the words is also the result of a good bit of experimentation.

The font for the author name is Optima, which I know is very common but I've always thought highly of it. There's a contrast problem there, which I've mitigated with a bit of outer glow. Not that it matters much--the author's name won't sell this book.

  


message 14: by Harald, The Swimmer (new)

Harald | 386 comments Mod
Yeah, all caps is tough to kern sometimes. So going ULC (upper-and-lower case) is much better here. In general, ULC is easier to read. And the stacking/grouping is very good. I only question the No. 7 font as it's pretty fancy and a bit hard to read small. And gives the title a Fairy Tale feel. Unless you want that. But if you like it, go with it.

Re: your author name.. it's better like this. Still readable.

Hope that helps!


message 15: by S.F. (new)

S.F. Kyd | 16 comments Thanks, Harald. I had a feeling I was on the right track with the case and arrangement of the words. Here's an experiment with the fonts:

  

As expected, the title is more legible. But how critical is legibility with the words "and" and "the"? The book's genre is unfortunately hard to describe: fantasy/horror/romance with regular doses of humor to lighten things up. Perhaps "fairy tale for grownups" might work.

I wonder if the author name should be bigger.

Fortunately I've got time to think and experiment. On this project, anyway, I've had some success resisting my impulse to rush things.


message 16: by Susan (new)

Susan Stafford | 1 comments I think this cover looks great! I like the less fancy font


message 17: by Harald, The Swimmer (new)

Harald | 386 comments Mod
S.F. wrote: "Thanks, Harald. I had a feeling I was on the right track with the case and arrangement of the words. Here's an experiment with the fonts..."

I like the font change. As to how big to make your name... How famous are you? :) The more famous, the bigger the name. I'll leave that to you!

I think it's looking good.


message 18: by S.F. (new)

S.F. Kyd | 16 comments Thanks, Susan and Harald! The less fancy font it is, then.

Oh, "S. F. Kyd" is a newly fledged pseudonym--as far from famous as you can get. Perhaps I should make the author name tiny, or even transparent!




message 19: by Harald, The Swimmer (new)

Harald | 386 comments Mod
S.F. wrote: "...Oh, "S. F. Kyd" is a newly fledged pseudonym--as far from famous as you can get. Perhaps I should make the author name tiny, or even tran..."

Or, make it GIANT, and people will wonder: "How have I missed this S.F. Kyd all this time?" ! :)


message 20: by S.F. (new)

S.F. Kyd | 16 comments After much fiddling, I was happy with this version, which incorporates a tagline I was pretty pleased with:



But then I showed it to my sister, who spent much of her career in graphic design, and her first reaction was "nice owl!" (she tends to look at pictures before she reads text). We spent the better part of two days working with it and came up with this (the smaller sizes are for Amazon and Smashwords):

  

Honestly, the amount of material I've thrown away in designing this cover is appalling. The process is as bad as writing.


message 21: by Harald, The Swimmer (new)

Harald | 386 comments Mod
Didn't look like an owl to me :)

New design works, too (assuming wolf is a major character). Two small things:

The tagline is very awkward stacked like that. You need another word. How about "Pray that you never..."? And I would add the period since it's sentence style.

Are you ready?


message 22: by S.F. (last edited Jan 16, 2017 02:17PM) (new)

S.F. Kyd | 16 comments Didn't look like an owl to me either.

To my mind, "that" makes the tagline a bit stiff and academic. I tried a rearrangement:



Too bad I didn't leave myself a space where I could center it on a single line.

I feel ready to launch, in that I have that sick-of-it feeling and have moved on to another project--but am waiting for beta readers to finish up.

Many thanks to Harald and others who've commented here. I started with a really bad cover, and now I'm pretty sure I've got a good one.


message 23: by Harald, The Swimmer (new)

Harald | 386 comments Mod
Good luck with it, S.F.!


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