Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Remember When . . . We Designed Covers?

Quick note ~ Don't forget I'm running a giveaway of The Wyoming Heir!
Click here to enter.
 ~*~
Last week I was in a designing groove, so had some fun with the next WhiteFire historical, due to release in May. Sweet Mountain Music is a really fun story set in the Pacific Northwest in the 1890s. Chloe Williston is determined to make a name for herself as a journalist and earn her father's respect--and thinks the way to do it is to tag along on a handsome naturalist's expedition. His search--for the legendary Great North American ape (a.k.a. Sasquatch or Bigfoot).

In a time when gorillas had just recently been discovered in Africa, the idea of a giant ape in North America was downright reasonable, and I just love the comical voice author Suzie Johnson employs as she combines history and romance with whimsy.

But here was my challenge as a designer--how do I capture the allure of the adventure but also convey the historical era? How do I make it look fun and compelling without crossing over into silly? And how in the world was I to find a model that would let me accomplish all this???

Well, I'd been browsing the stock image sites for a few months, trying various search options until I finally found a model that looked promising.

She has the right look for Chloe--honey brown hair, the old books in her arms are great. But I wanted a bit more quirk. And blue eyes. And the costume sure isn't right--the shirt could pass, but that skirt is way too slim.

And Suzie specifically requested a pith helmet. So.

I took a public domain photo of this bustle-era dress:
and copied the bustle part onto Chloe. I tilted her head a bit to give her a more playful look, and also added a helmet.
The result was this model:


Definitely the look I was going for--I loved the contrast of the helmet that screamed "Victorian adventure!" with the bustle. The books speak to her ambitions, but also add to the contrast.

Next came the background. I toyed with quite a few before my hubby said, "You need something green. Somewhere where Bigfoot could be hiding." So I searched for leafy pictures of the Cascade range, and this one really worked with my model picture.
Plugged it in behind her, adjusted some lighting, a layer for texture,

and voila. I did the usual dance while trying to find the perfect fonts and frame to offset the title, played with positioning etc. I landed on a combination I liked after just a bit of trial and error.

I just needed one more thing. Purely for fun. =) Something to harken back to that Sasquatch search. Something...something like this.
Nowhere too noticable, mind you. Sasquatch is a hard fella to find, after all. But I bet you can spot it. ;-) Here's the final front cover.

I have to admit, I loved it as soon as it came together--it felt like "it" to me. So I sent it to Suzie, who agreed that it captured all the elements we wanted to capture. She loved it too, so there we go! The final cover!

While I was at it, I went ahead and built the full cover too. Back copy may yet be tweaked, and that endorsement is obviously a place holder, LOL.



Overall, I gotta say I love how this one turned out--which is all the better because it had me stumped for so long. But you know, for two days' work, this was a lot of fun. Bring on the next, WhiteFire! ;-)




22 comments:

  1. Great job on this cover! The story sounds like such a fun one!

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    1. Thanks, Abbi! And yes, the book is so much fun. =)

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  2. Wow, this is so cool. I love the cover! It's always fun to learn how book covers are designed. I can't wait to read the book :)

    Just out of curiosity, where do you get your stock images?

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    1. Mostly from iStock and Shutterstock. These came from a combination of those. The public domain one I found from commons.wikimedia.org, and the texture I don't remember, LOL--I did a search for free Photoshop textures and found it on a blog that lists lots of freebies like that.

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  3. Thank you Rosanna! I love this cover so much, and it's fun to learn how you created it. I showed the cover to a lady yesterday who said she can see a Sasquatch hiding in the trees. ;)

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    1. Well you just never know--he could totally be there! ;-)

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  4. Such a good cover, Roseanna! Loved hearing how you built it.

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    1. Thanks, Normandie! Maybe I'll make this a series and give a play-by-play of all our covers. ;-)

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  5. Now this was a SUPER fun post to read - and watching this cover come alive is VERY cool. Hope you do more posts like this. Cover is PERFECT. What fun!

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    1. Why thank you, flower. =) And more posts like this sounds fun!

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  6. Roseanna, Enjoyed this step by step design. Great job.

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  7. Love your covers and loved reading how this one came together. I completely missed Sasquatch's footprint in the lower right hand corner the first time I looked at it! Good job!

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  8. great post. I love this story!!! Congrats Suzie and Roseanna!

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    1. It's such a fun story! So happy to add it to our lineup. =)

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  9. Love the cover!! :) This was a fun post to read. :)

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  10. Awesome, Roseanna! I really like that cover as well. :-) You so could have gotten a job as a graphic designer . . .

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    1. Aw, shucks. =) I suppose I have gotten that job, though a bit by accident, LOL.

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